I took the day off on my birthday last week but did not have much planned for the day. I intended to mainly laze the day away before meeting my sister for dinner and what better way to laze your day away than at a spa? I however am “bored” of the many spas in town that offer the usual sauna, jacuzzi thing so when a friend suggested the Hammam Turkish Bath Spa at Bangsar Village II, I perked up. Now, this would be interesting!
Interesting it was indeed! I just wasn’t aware of how interesting it got!
Hammam is located at Bangsar Village 2 on the topmost floor – 3rd Floor. You might miss it if you walk by too fast as its quite unobtrusive. All you see in a wide expanse of ochre coloured wall and a door. It could be anything – a restaurant, a spa, an apothecary… but that is Hammam.
I was not quite sure what to expect but the therapist behind the simple reception counter nicely explained the various treatments on offer at Hammam. After I’d gotten over the initial shock at the prices (yes its expensive but I was there to indulge so I grit my teeth, felt a pang of pity for my bank account and got on with it) I was ready to choose my treatment package and start. I had the Imilchil Bridal Radiance Recipe (RM335) - no bride to be I am, but the idea of bringing a healthy glow to the skin attracted me.
The waiting area is nicely cocooned with plush cushions as a therapist explains to you the different essential oils used for the massage session and let you have your choice – Cedar (Slimming), Wintergreen (Soothe aching muscles), Ylang Ylang (Sensual) and Marjoram (Relaxing). I went for Relaxing.
To start, I was taken to a little locker room where a funky bracelet magnet unlocks your locker. The place is very dimly lit to encourage a feeling of relaxation but it is easy to get lost in there. You are then supposed to change into a paper bikini and robe and start your Hammam and Gommage treatment. I’d seen disposable panties before but never a disposable bikini tube top. It was to my everlasting relief that I did not think it was a head covering and tie it around my head! You may bring your own swimsuit or bikini if you wish.
I couldn’t take pictures since my stuff were in the locker so you’ll have to make do with catalog photos.
First the Hammam – I was taken to a warm room with wooden slats on the floor and a water trough. You sit on a tiled bench and then have the therapist pour warm water all over you. Once you are wet through, a mixture of Henna and Beldi Black Soap is rubbed all over your body. Beldi Black Soap is a soft soap consisting of a mixture of olive and eycalyptus oil. It helps to relax the body and prepares the body for a thorough exfoliation using a coarse glove or loofah. You are then left to your own devices for 10 minutes. Then the therapist comes back in and with more water splashing, rinses you off.
Second the Gommage – Gommage means scrub and this step is the most interesting of all. You are taken to a side room off the main Hammam room and then asked to lie down on a slab. Feeling like a piece of meat about to be tenderized, I did. Then the therapist, using a coarse glove, starts rubbing vigorously at your skin. If you turn to look, you will see rolls of dead epidermis on your body. Very eww! but very cleansing and very invigorating! They will scrub you all over, then splash you down with warm water again. At this point, the skin feels absolutely divine! Smooth as a baby’s bottom!!
Third the body mask – I was then hustled back into the main room as in the first step above. A rose argile clay body mask was applied to the whole body. The Rose Argile mask is to smooth and retexturise your skin to bring a healthy radiant glow to the skin. Again, you are left for 10 minutes to steep (or marinade as I call it) and then the therapist comes back in to wash you off.
Fourth the hair and body shampoo – After washing off the Rose Argile mask, the therapist applied a rose scented shampoo to my hair followed by a conditioner. While the conditioner was doing its work, she proceeded to soap me all over then wash everything off. My hair felt so soft for at least 3 days after that even when using my normal shampoo. I was seriously impressed by it.
You are now done with your Hammam and Gommage treatment. (The last time I had someone bath me, I was about 3!) You are then led out to the resting area where you are served hot mint tea and a baklava dessert while your body rests and your marvel at how incredibly smooth your skin feels. There was not a single rough bit of skin on my whole body and it seriously felt good!
The treatment can stop there but my package came with a massage which I went for and promptly fell asleep. The massage is done by a different therapist and they use long flowing strokes instead of hitting your pressure points. Not a style of massage I prefer, but it did its job to relax muscles and make me end up feeling languid and spoilt rotten!
After the massage you are again served with hot mint tea and another piece of baklava (I could get used to this!) and you may rest as long as you wish until you are ready to go out and face the world again!
I was told initially that the effects would last about a week and now that its been about a week, I can safely say that its true. My skin still feels incredibly soft and smooth although its started to roughen up in patches. Ah! For another Hammam and Gommage treat!
Here are a few tips I have for anyone planning to try the Hammam and Gommage treatment:-
- Do not wear makeup - I was out earlier with makeup on and after all the splashing around, I was a panda! Fortunately, they had eye makeup remover on hand.
- Modesty has no place in a Hammam - if you are afraid of others seeing bits of you uncovered, or other people touching you, a Hammam is not the place to go.
- Make sure you have lots of time - The whole treatment was supposed to last 2 hours but by the time I left, it was about 2.5 hours later. So do not go if you are in a hurry.
I’d go again when I next have something to celebrate and when my wallet recovers – or maybe even make a party of it some day (they can cater for little parties). I reckon it’ll be both cleansing and fun! Prices are high, but if you go on a weekday and bring a friend or two, they have discounts ranging from 10-20% off the package prices. Its definitely worth a visit.
Hammam is at Bangsar Village 2 3rd Floor. Their website doesn’t tell you much, but you can see some sample prices there. They don’t have the one I went for online though. Its a new spa menu called Hammam Goddess Treats in the picture above. The next time I’m trying the Moorish body polish – the therapist told me I’d “glow” for a week – I’d like to see THAT!