Soapy scrubs: 6 of the best hammams in Dubai
Regenerate your skins with a soapy scrub at one of the fabulous hammams.
The Moroccan One
The Royal Hammam
Length: 80 minutes
Make sure you walk from the entrance of the One&Only Royal Mirage to the spa, because a stroll through the lush gardens, alive with all manner of birds, is a calming experience. The hammam itself, filled with the sound of trickling water and decorated with ornate tiles, Arabic inspired trinkets, including a chessboard, and several yellow-lit jacuzzis, is also fully equipped for relaxation. The Royal Hammam treatment started with being lathered in Moroccan black soap, made of olives – we could actually see pieces of olive skin in it – before spending five minutes in the steam room massaging your soapy limbs. The suds were washed off, before we were taken to a warm slab for a good scrubbing. We were then covered in eucalyptus scented Ghassoul clay, wrapped in a sheet and given a honey facial and then a massage. The royal treatment indeed.
One&Only Royal Mirage, Dubai. Tel: (04) 3999999. royalmirage.oneandonlyresorts.com
The Dead Sea One
Dead Sea Hammam
Length: 105 minutes
Fittingly for the world’s tallest hotel, the JW Marriott Marquis’ Saray Spa is enormous. It has 15 treatment rooms, including two private hammam rooms. Floating in the real Dead Sea is perfectly suited to lazy people and the Dead Sea hammam treatment at Saray Spa follows suit. We were escorted to into one of the gorgeous dark blue hammam rooms where our therapist covered us in olive oil and salt soap, before taking us into a very steamy room and leaving us to poach for about 15 minutes. Then back into the hammam, the soap was washed off with buckets of water, we’re scrubbed, then covered in mud. Caution: it can be a bit stingy. Our hair was washed as we let the mud work its way into our skin. Once that had been rinsed away (finishing off with two buckets of refreshing cold water), we had a delightful oil massage in the cooler climes of a private treatment room.
Saray Spa, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, Business Bay, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. Tel: (0)44140000. jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com/sarayspa
The Ottoman One
Royal Ottoman Hammam
Length: 60 minutes
You could easily spend the whole day at the opulent Talise Spa, slipping between hot and cold pools, snow rooms and saunas, and nibbling dates behind the curtains of cushioned alcoves. When it comes time for your hammam session, you’ll be led into the sumptuous communal room, a steamy, dreamy space of marble and mosaic. Leave your modesty at the door as you lie down on the heated marble platform, along with up to three other people. Your therapist will then pour jugs of hot water all over you, before getting straight down to business with the kese mitt. Once thoroughly scrubbed, you’re enveloped from the chin down in a foamy cloud of bubbles, followed by a slippery full-body massage and a hair wash, before being slathered in lavender honey. Bliss.
Jumeirah Zabeel Saray. Tel: (04) 4530456. jumeirah.com
The Sophisticated One
Signature Royal Hammam
Length: 60 minutes
The Sofitel Spa’s private hammam is a sleek, three-zone space lined with warm black stone. The first stage of the Royal Hammam treatment begins in the steam room, where you’re covered in black olive soap, then left to marinate for five minutes. Then, you’re taken to the next space, where a huge oval slab of heated stone sits centre stage. Choose from a gentle kesa mitt for sensitive skin, or the regular mitt, which will effectively do away with your top layer of epidermis. After the scrub, your freshly exposed skin will be soothed with a white clay and olive oil masque. And while that soaks in, you’ll have your hair gently shampooed and conditioned. Before you get too comfortable, the final step is to have a bucket of cold water dumped over your head. It’s an invigorating, bracing treatment that quite literally reveals a new you… or a new epidermis at least.
Sofitel Dubai Downtown. Tel: (04) 5036333. sofitel-dubai-downtown.com
The Stress-Relieving One
The Turkish Hammam
Length: 60 minutes
For the most indulgent of relaxation experiences, the Turkish Hammam treatment at Anantara, The Palm ticks all of the boxes. It takes place inside an ornate room with a warm stone hexagonal island to lie on. Our hair is gently washed and faces cleaned, then we’re treated to an invigorating all-over body scrub to buff away dead skin. Next up, what we can only describe as a spa’s answer to a pillowcase, filled with soapy suds, is stroked over us, feather-light, before the suds are poured over head-to-toe. As if we couldn’t be relaxed enough, a full-body massage eases the last remnants of tension. A final warm water drench washes the last suds away, before a refreshing blast of cooler water to close the pores. Once dry, moisturiser is applied to the body and face and we walk away in a citrussy haze.
Anantara Spa, Anantara, The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai. Tel: (0)4 567 8140. anantara.com
The Modern One
Hammam Ritual Blanc
Length: 90 minutes
While the majority of Sofitel The Obelisk takes on an ancient Egypt theme, the Sofitel Spa with L’Occitane has a contrasting design. Its hammam moves away from the traditional, and brings it into the 21st century. The central bed has colourful lights glowing from within and the room is filled with steam, creating a discotheque effect. After being hosed down with a shower tap, we start with a coarse scrub to remove all the dead skin. This process is followed by a nourishing mask, which is left on for 15 minutes. While all the other treatments at Sofitel SPA with L’Occitane use the L’Occitane products, the hammam facilities use Izil Beauty products. Izil’s inspiration comes from the founder’s own country, Morocco, a country as diverse geographically as it is ethnically. You can choose between a 60-minute treatment for Dhs540 or 90 minutes for Dhs810.
Sofitel Spa with L’Occitane, Sofitel The Obelisk, Wafi, Dubai. Tel: (0)43249999. sofitel-dubai-theobelisk.com