Spending time in one of the best spas is a must for a stay in the city of Marrakech. Organizing a vacation there is the dream of many: the Moroccan ethnic swarm, the colors, the traditions, the food and the architecture make this beautiful North African jewel a coveted and popular destination. However, if you are thinking of alternating this whirlwind of wonders with a healthy and well-deserved relaxation, there is no better place than the Moroccan city to enjoy quality time in a hammam. You can’t visit this city without enjoying the experience of spending a few hours in an authentic Moroccan spa. In this post you will find some details about the practice of hammam and some advice on which are the best in Marrakech.
What is the hammam?
The hammam is a very important spa for the Muslim culture, whose birth would date back to the seventh century AD. An observer devoted to this religion should use the thermal bath five times a day to be truly pure and make himself worthy to practice the different moments dedicated to prayer. Its practice has always been, over the centuries, a true moment of social aggregation, to meet and spend this purifying and regenerating moment in company.
How is a hammam structured?
Generally, it is composed of three distinct rooms: a warm room, where the skin is prepared to be purified. A second warm room dedicated to massage and exfoliation, to devote itself to the elimination of impurities and dead cells. A third room, cold this time, to finish the intervention and relax while enjoying the benefits of the practice, sipping a good tea.
The hammam ritual: a true journey of well-being
The hammam ritual is composed as follows: first, you will have to rinse yourself quickly in order to enter the first warm room, a room where you will be sprinkled with a black soap based on olive oil that prepares your body for the next scrub. In the second warm room, your body, sprinkled with black soap, will be exfoliated with a special glove and you can choose to have a concierge help you without being afraid if it is done in a very energetic way. After the exfoliation process, you will be sprayed with a moisturizing mask, on your body and hair, to nourish your treated skin, then you will be rinsed properly. In the third and last room, you will find water and tea to quench your thirst and if you wish, you can ask for a massage with argan oil or other beneficial substances, even chocolate.
Purification for body and mind
The setting in which you will enjoy these regenerative practices is very impressive, the light enters through small windows and everything is very relaxing, surrounded by candles and rose petals. It is a purification process not only for the body, but also and especially for the mind. You get rid of your thoughts and worries, concentrating on yourself and your well-being.
What to bring with you
To access the public hammams, you will need a towel, your toiletries, a glove for rubbing, a bowl or small bucket for water, black soap and a change of underwear. Personally, it is suggested to wear a bathing suit bottom, it is very practical and you will feel a little more comfortable. Keep in mind, however, that if you book your relaxing treatment in a private hammam, you will only have to bring the bikini, everything else, in fact, will be provided by the structure as a courtesy kit.
The best hammams in Marrakech
You can find two different types: traditional and tourist hammams. The traditional hammams are located in all parts of the city and are usually close to the city’s mosques, as they share the same water because of their function of purification before prayer. Some of the most famous and popular traditional heat baths in Marrakech are the Hammam Dar el-Bacha (rue Hatima Zohra), the Hammam Bab Doukkala, located next to the Bab Doukkala mosque and the famous Hammam Ziani. If you want to try a traditional Hammam, you will have to bring things like soap, a scrubbing glove and a towel, it will certainly be an experience you will remember, but be aware that not all traditional Hammams have adequate hygiene. Choose it carefully before you venture there. Tourist hammams are more than just spas, and usually offer real wellness and beauty treatments. They are very clean, they are generally more modern and have facilities for mixed couples. Most tourist hammams are located inside hotels or Riyadh and must be booked in advance.
1 – The Koutoubia Gardens in the heart of the Medina
The hammams of Marrakech are often located next to Muslim places of worship precisely because of the primary function they fulfill, namely purification before prayer. Right next to the most important mosque of the Medina, the Koutoubia, you will find the Koutoubia gardens: in this splendid corner of bliss, you can enjoy rooms dedicated to the hammam, spaces reserved for individual and couple massages, not forgetting a splendid swimming pool, surrounded by deckchairs and palm trees, and spaces for facial treatments. In the Koutoubia gardens, there are also rooms where you can relax, sip a good tea and enjoy some Moroccan delicacies.
2 – The Sultana Marrakech, for those who love luxury
If you are looking for luxury, the Sultana Marrakech is for you. The place is decidedly lush with its marbles in shades of pink and green, while the atmosphere is made even more evocative by the candles and terraces as you would expect from a five-star resort of any respect. The hammam and balneotherapy are some of the treatments offered to guests to which the management reserves the highest level of attention and care. Massages, unique and special treatments, attention to detail and dreamy places: this is certainly one of the best hammams in Marrakech, if you are not afraid of spending money and want to have the best is the place to be.
3 – Isis SPA, in the Kasbah, the family ritual
Isis SPA welcomes families. If you visit Marrakech with your spouse and children, don’t worry: you too can enjoy a well-deserved moment of relaxation with your loved ones. You can book a three-hour wellness course for everyone, including children, and you will be guided by the friendly and qualified staff of the SPA. The Isis SPA is well known for the cleanliness and professionalism of its staff. An ideal solution for those traveling with their families.
4 – Rose Hammam, Medina
The Rose Hammam, one of the most famous in Morocco, is an evocative and relaxing place. Floral lights, rose petals and candles create a unique atmosphere, a small corner of Paradise where you can relax and take care of yourself. Eucalyptus soap, henna, rose oil, palm oil hair treatments and black soap are some of the treatments used in this enchanting place.
5 – Click Spa Marrakech
Click Spa Marrakech is an excellent traditional hammam, but elegant and well furnished. One of the best in Marrakech. The soap is the local black, after which we will make the scrub, shampoo and at the end a last rinse with a soap made from orange blossom, the whole for 45 minutes, this is its normal duration. The oil used for the massage is pure argan oil, which has a very strong smell: so do not worry, the products used, as well as very local, are also of excellent quality.
6 – The baths
They are very well known, especially for the quality of their care. It is considered the place par excellence of Moroccan hammams, surrounded by precious materials, fountains and gardens. You will find there not only the usual practices of the hammam, but also many and various types of massages, pampered to body and soul by the professionalism of the staff. It is an enchanting and remarkable place if you want to enjoy a few hours in a wellness center of excellent standard.
7 – Royal Mansour
The best Hammam of Marrakech is at the Royal Mansour Hotel. Although it represents the pinnacle of luxury, the treatment at the Mansour Hammam is absolutely authentic, with guests lying on the warm marble floor and being sprinkled with water delicately poured from hand engraved silver buckets. The products used are the best that Morocco has to offer: the scrub includes rose, basil, chamomile, eucalyptus, lichen, lavender and argan powder. Different treatments and masks are offered depending on the skin type. Reservation is mandatory.
8 – Mouassine Hammam
The Mouassinerisale 1572 is the oldest public hammam in Marrakech. The interior is quite simple, with three rooms whose floor and walls are covered with ceramic tiles and the ceilings are covered with tadelakt domes (plastered). The bathers sit on floor mats to chat and wash. This is the ideal place for those looking for an absolutely authentic experience, but you need to be prepared.
9 – Essalama Hammam
The small local SPA Essalama is located just outside the medina, near the Jardin Majorelle. Inside, the rooms are tiled with modern tiles that imitate the traditional zellij. Few people speak English here, but they are friendly and available for beginners and the treatments are well executed. You will need to bring a towel, but you will also find soap and gloves. This too is traditional.