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Hammam

The hammam experience is an essential part of visiting Marrakech. It is highly recommended to try this wonderful ritual which will be particularly appreciated after a day in the souk. You can choose between a public hamman, if you are adventurous and want to do what the locals do, or book one of the elegant and grand hammans suggested below if you want to be pampered or alternatively you might choose for the private hammans which is a compromise between the two.

Charges

Entry to the luxurious hammams usually cost between 150 DH and 500 DH per person and even more if you wish to have a massage or other specific treatments. This includes bath products, towels, and an attendant (tayeba) who will wash and scrub you.

Entry to a public hammam is between 5 DH and 10 DH. This includes the use of a cubbyhole for your belongings, two black rubber buckets (for rinsing soap and shampoo off: note that except for the upscale ones, there are no showers in public hammams), and all the hot water you desire. A tip of 3 DH-5 DH for the woman who looks after your belongings is expected. There's no fixed price in public hammams for the services of a tayeba; typically she receives anything from 30 DH to 70 DH.

Entry to private hammams generally costs 30 DH-40 DH, which includes the same items. A tayeba here will cost 40 DH-60 DH.

Luxury Hammams

Les Bains de Marrakech

It is part of the Riad Mehdi. The spa annex of this elegant riad includes milk baths with orange water and rose petals, massages with argan oil, body treatments with essential oils, and rubdowns with mint-steamed towels. Mint tea is served in a magnificent and grand courtyard which hosts the cooling down area, 2, Derb Sedra, Bab Agnaou, Kasbah. 024/38-47-13 or 17. www.riadmehdi.net. By appointment, 2-3 days in advance. MC, V.

La Maison Arabe

Worth a try, a morning or afternoon spent in this hotel's hammam will make you feel like royalty. The tayebas may not scrub you quite as hard as you like, but the hammam room is beautiful and the small pool filled with roses is just for you. It's popular, so call at least two days in advance. 1, Derb Assehbe, Bab Doukkala. 024/38-70-10. www.lamaisonarabe.com. About 600/700 DH By appointment. MC, V.

La Sultana Spa & Boutique Hotel

La Sultana is in the Kasbah district, close to the Royal Palace, and offers bath therapy, affusion showers (showers with lukewarm water combined with hand massage), hammam, Jacuzzi, and sauna. 403, rue de la Kasbah. 024/38-80-08. www.lasultanamarrakech.com. Booking requested. AE, MC, V.

Private Hammams

Hammam Hilton

A short petit-taxi ride (15 DH-20 DH) will bring you to an upscale private hammam in the Targa district of Marrakesh that few tourists know about. In addition to the hammam, it also offers massage (100 DH). Ave. de Targa. 024/49-31-29.  Daily 6 AM-10 PM. No credit cards

Public Hammams

Hammam Majorelle/Es Salama

This is a clean and modern hammam located 165 yards from the famous Majorelle Gardens in Guéliz 57, Quartier Rouidate, off Ave. Yacoub el Mansour. No phone. Daily 6 PM-10 PM. No credit cards.

If you choose a public hamman you have to bring with you all the following items: (private or luxury hamman supply all of them)
Soap, shampoo, lotion, comb and/or hairbrush, razor, two towels (one for drying, one to wear as a turban when you leave, as hair dryers are not permitted), and a spare pair of underwear. You may also want to bring a pair of flip-flops, as the hammam's tiled floors are slippery and hot. Don't bring any valuables with you, as you'll be leaving your belongings in an open cubbyhole. The hammam ladies watch diligently over these, and normally you will give them a tip.

If you're going to the public hammam, purchase the following at a grocer's shop: a glove called a kees, (10 DH), made of a coarse fabric that scruffs the skin well; 2 DH worth of saboon bildi, an organic dark-brown olive-oil soap-cum-paste that gets deep into the pores; a small plastic jug for pouring water over yourself (5 DH); and to condition your skin or hair and make it feel like silk, a handful of lava clay called rhasoul (2 DH). If you plan to hire a tayeba (or ghalassa, as they are also called), she will have the jug, kees, saboon bildi, and possibly the rhasoul on hand.

Tayebas: A tayeba does all the work for you: finds you a spot, fills the buckets, rubs the olive soap over you, rinses you, scrubs your body, rinses again, and washes and combs your hair. Note that tayebas scruff vigorously, so if your skin is sensitive, tell her to go easy or you may end up red and raw (a hand signal or grimace should do the trick).