Morocco culture hammam

Morocco Culture: Experiencing The Moroccan Hammam

This piece is part of the momondo experiences series where I was challenged to visit a hammam in Marrakech. I had heard it could be a brutal experience, but the offer of a massage afterwards led me to accept he challenge. Yes, it was a bit brutal, but also invigorating. This was an experience that left my skin tingling for days.  Thank you momondo for organizing the experience!

Morocco Culture hammam

I lay on a hot marble slab, a slab that was so hot, I was arching my back to avoid as much skin contact as possible. I was scrubbed so violently by a gloved women, that I was pretty sure that all of my skin was now gone. The glove was so rough that I would not have used it to scour a BBQ grill. I had been slathered in a paste made with black olives that smelled of eucalyptus before being scrubbed. I watched in fascination as layers of skin came off my body, much as it does during a pedicure. Now, I struggled to breathe in the steamy, humid room, my body covered in clay to hydrate my skin.

Morocco Culture hammam

They say it takes seven years to replace all the cells in your body with new ones. I am pretty sure mine were just replaced all in the space of ten minutes. I ventured to touch my body and was not only relieved to find that not only was my skin still there, but it felt soft. Silky soft, maybe even softer than the day I was born. And oddly enough, after the rough scrubbing I had just endured, I felt more alive than I had felt in a very long time.

I could feel my blood circulating through my body, finding new paths that before had been blocked. I felt good. Ok, I could have endured without the rough hair washing. My head was rubbed so hard, I was sure all of my hair was going to disappear with my skin. And, I could have done without the cold shot of water that got sprayed right into my face and up my nose. (Funny, I don’t remember drowning being on the spa menu). But, really, I felt good.

Experiencing The Moroccan Hammam

Experiencing The Moroccan Hammam


What Is A Hammam? 

I had my hammam experience in Marrakech, Morocco at Heritage Spa. A hammam  room is heated by wood fires that are underground and is a huge part of the culture of Morocco. The water comes through the faucets of the room and creates a beautiful steam which purifies the body. There are many public hammams that are very inexpensive. It is believed that the hammams should be available to all social classes.

A hammam is meant for both cleansing and for one to reflect upon their life. This ritual is very important to Morocco culture, and Moroccans visit the hammam weekly. If you go to a public hammam, you are expected to bring your own toiletries and scrubbing glove. You will have the option of hiring an attendant who will scrub you or you can choose to scrub yourself. If you go to a private hammam or spa, everything will be provided for you.

Morocco hammam massage oils

Pampered In Luxury

I absolutely enjoyed my Heritage Signature treatment at Heritage Spa, as it left me feeling pampered down to the bone. After the hammam, I had a facial, one of the best massages of my life, and then a pedicure. It was absolutely luxurious. Also, I loved the pillowed room where I got to relax and sip mint tea after my hammam.

Morocco culture hammam Heritage spa

I am really glad that I got to experience this special ritual that is such a part of Islāmic life. And, I left feeling purified, invigorated, and relaxed. I enjoyed the way this culture gives such care to their own bodies.

Hammam culture hammam