Hammam’s or public Turkish baths are a meeting place for Moroccans, who go there regularly in order to enjoy massages and baths. There are Hammam’s in all the neighbourhood’s of Marrakech, both in the most humble district and in the most luxurious areas.
There is a ritual in a Hammam, which is quite simple to do and it helps you to take full benefit from the Heat and the scrubbing.
For those who want to be pampered, we recommend the tourist Hammam’s. These are located in luxury hotels, where cleanliness and a rather high bill are guaranteed. There are also individual Tourist Hammam’s throughout the city.
For the more adventurous, you can visit a local Hammam. A lot more authentic, without aromatic oils and fuss, but much cheaper, and a very local and authentic experience – after all, local Hammam’s are where the locals go as part of their weekly routine.
Local Hammam’s are great social experiences. People enjoy, relax, discuss with new & old friends. It’s not unusual to see two friends scrubbing each others backs and performing the Hammam ritual for each other. If this sounds a little bit “dodgy”, it’s not. Hammam is a cleaning ritual and improper activity is strictly not allowed.
These can be purchased in the souks in the Medina, in the typical local grocer’s shops or at the chemist’s. They can also be bought from street vendors.
These special mittens are usually black, which constitute the basic element of pleasure in the Hammam. They usually cost between 60p and £1.50
A pair of Sandals or flip-flops.
In order to avoid slips and to be conscious of foot hygiene. In any case, most hammams have excellent hygienic conditions.
This kind of soap is a special dark paste that can be bought in many shops in the souks. It costs just between 40p and 50p per kilo. Sometimes, shopkeepers will give it out as a present to good clients. It is also found at the chemist’s or at the Hammam’s ticket office.
A Plastic Bucket
A plastic bucket to carry all the above products and to spill water over your head. The plastic buckets are freely available for use inside the Hammam.
A fresh pair of underwear
In local Hammam’s you would usually wear your underwear. It’s a good idea to take a fresh pair of underwear with you to change into after your Hammam.
At local Hammam’s you need to take your own Towel. At Hotels or tourist Hammam’s, a towel is usually provided.
Once in the changing room of a local Hammam, you will find a counter where you must leave your bags and the rest of your belongings. You should give a tip to the person responsible for this cloakroom. In the changing room you can get undressed and ready to enter the actual Hammam. Most men will keep their underwear on. Ladies, however, are much less prudish and female nudity is almost always full.
Note that whilst local Hammam’s and some tourist Hammam’s are segregated for Men and Women, at the tourist Hammam’s in Hotels, arrangements can usually be made for couples to enjoy the Hammam together in a private session.
As we have mentioned, some hotels in Marrakech have their own Hammam. These are usually quite luxurious and tempting.
Some Riads in Marrakech Medina also have their own Hammam. These tend to be cosy, elegantly decorated and fully-equipped.
You can even stay in a villa in Marrakech, which, besides their own Hammam, they also often have a swimming pool and a fitness room too.