My first day in Morocco was all about pampering and relaxing. I love me a good spa day; I enjoy spending time in a sauna room and chilling by the pool but the thing is… I hate massages. The idea of some stranger touching my bod with all those oils is just… *shudder*. Which is why I was slightly anxious about my arvo in an actual hammam in Marrakech.
But as the plane started its descend, my heart skipped a beat seeing red clay buildings and vast fields of soil. This trip was all about cleansing my mind, body, and soul of all the stress I’d been feeling lately and the wonderful culture of Morocco seemed like the best idea for a quick weekend to do just that. Starting the trip in a spa seemed like the best way to kick-off a life-360, non?
But first, mint tea.
Arriving at lunch time, a quick salad of stacked prawns, avocado and tomato with pesto and creme fraiche dressing was the perfect light refreshment before heading off to one of Marrakech’s finest hammam spots.
I had no idea what I was in for, but when in Rome, erm, Marrakech, in we go.
Tucked away from the busy souks behind the gates of the Medina, Les Bains de Marrakech is an oasis of calm. It doesn’t look much from outside (as do most places in Marrakech) but once you step in, the smell of spiced floral notes will hit you strong and you’d instantly feel as if someone cast a spell of tranquility on you.
The treatment I opted for was the Marrakech Rituel. It lasts around 4 hours for three major treatments and costs 690 MAD which is around £50. I mean, COME ON GUYS. Where in London can you find such bargain?
As I couldn’t bring my phone/camera into the rooms, here are a few photos from the spa’s website:
Once checked in, I changed into my bikini in the locker rooms and enjoyed the big fluffy robe I was given.
My first session was a 45-minute hammam and traditional body scrub with black soap and kessa glove. As soon as I walked into the hot marbled room, my hammam lady took my robe – and my bikini top off and said something in Berber. She must’ve sensed my confusion as she then gently pushed me towards the bed. Completely baffled and naked, I laid on the bed, boobies out and soaked in the heat which, to be fair, made me feel relaxed less inhibited immediately. Glorious.
I was zoning off into that sweet spot of calmness when hammam lady walked in and splashed buckets of hot water all over my body. She then proceeded to rub my, er, everything from back to front. A part of me felt super uncomfy but after a while I started to enjoy the pleasure of being bathed and scrubbed. It got ticklish at times so I giggled like a school girl, which I think hammam lady found endearing.
After my session, I was led to relax in the common areas and was given mint tea.
The next session was a 30-minute mud wrap in essential oils. My body was slathered in glorious lava clay, argan and pomegranate oils before being wrapped in foil (I felt like some sort of meat about to be shoved in an oven). I was left to relax for another 20 minutes however a part of me couldn’t because I was getting very claustrophobic.
When my session was finished, I was led to a shower room to cleanse off and then was ushered in another one of the common areas for more mint tea and a breather.
All I could think of was how my skin felt like a shiny bebe’s butt.
My final session was the hour-long massage. You can choose whether you want a “relaxing” one (ie anti-stress and overwork) or a “draining” one (ie muscular detox). I opted for the former (of course). At this point I already felt like an expert at being scrubbed and rubbed so I left all my fears in the locker room and genuinely enjoyed it. My masseuse was gentle yet firm with her hands and the room just smelt of lusciousness.
After my ritual it was time to chill some more in the main common area where I was served more mint tea and cookies – but of course.
If you’re off to The Red City and looking for a lush hammam trip, I would definitely recommend Les Bains de Marrakech. The place smelt, sounded, looked of ZEN and service was absolutely fantastic. It’s a good place to lose all inhibitions and to forget they busyness of life. I’m not convinced I’m a massage lover just yet, but for that one afternoon it felt so good to just surrender myself – and my body – to the hands of experts (I actually wanted to go again at the end of my trip!).
Les Bains de Marrakech
2 Derb Sedra, Bab Agnaou, Kasbah, Marrakech, Morocco
Do you like spa days?
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Ahh this looks amazing!! And such a bargain, I want to go to Morocco just for this. I’m actually going for a spa day on Wednesday and I’m rather excited!
Oooh, exciting! I’ve only been twice in the UK but I’ve never had a full massage because of my slight phobia. Enjoy your spa day on Wednesday – I can’t wait to read about it! =)
And yes, go to Morocco for this! So cheap!
Marrakech has been on my to-do list for what feels like the last 5 years. I’ve not made it there yet but hope to within the next year. I have heard a lot about Hammams – I think the one thing I may struggle with is the nakedness aspect but I guess I will just have to get over that if I want to experience a Hammam in all it’s glory! It sounds like you had a blast 🙂
Oh Maggie I think you should really do it! Marrakech is so welcoming. The nakedness was a bit awkward at first but man, it was such quite a lovely experience. 🙂
Haha I don’t think I could do this. I don’t do massages – paying a stranger to touch me seems sooooooo weird! I’m probably wrong, but…
LOOOOL, Frankie I exactly feel the same – but to be fair, once the bikini top was off… it was bliss! (although I don’t think i’m planning anything here in the UK).
We adored our (slightly enforced) Morroccan spa day too – it’s just want the Doctor orders some times!
I wish there were good quality spas in London that had Moroccan prices too!