I was with my wife wondering in the maze of Medina in Marrakesh, discovering its authenticity and the never-ending beauty of an ancient city in its narrow and winding passages. It is easy to get lost in Medina and sometimes it can lead to further discovery such as finding a modern hammam in the medieval setting. Let me briefly explain what a Moroccan hammam is. Similar to a Turkish bath, these hammams are part of many Moroccans‘ daily life. They are a public steam room where people go to clean themselves. This is usually a weekly ritual and is considered a social activity in villages and towns, with men, women, and children all participating.
I was walking deep inside Medina when I arrived in Quartier Riad Zitoun Jdid where I found myself in the narrow cul-de-sac of Derb El Arsa. The style of the door at number 35 grabbed my attention. I was busy taking pictures of the ornamental door, when a woman dressed in a red outfit opened the door. She invited us to enter what turned out to be a spa centre to learn about the services of ‘Hammam Rosa Bonheur’.
We were offered Moroccan mint tea and biscuits while we listened to a brief description of the various treatment options. We found the place very clean and bright for relaxation and getting a healing experience. We joined a tour of the venue in three floors and learned that there were 8 treatment rooms, 4 traditional hammam rooms (very warm wet steam rooms) plus a jacuzzi on the top terrace. This modern spa in the heart of Medina offers the same feeling of a traditional hammam. The venue is managed with 24 staff in a converted Moroccan house with a centre courtyard surrounded by Arabian style seating couches under arches.
The spa is open 7 days a week from 9am until 11pm and offers their wide range of health services to individuals, couples and groups. We found the centre truly worth of a visit for a healthy rejuvenation. After the tour, we agreed to come back the next day for a body revival.
We returned as agreed after spending a long day walking in Medina. I choose to use one of the spacious hammams privately and my wife decided to go for a one- hour body massage to be pampered. She negotiated with a young lady masseuse and combined this with a facial treatment. At the end of sessions, we were both happy and refreshed. I spent enough time under steam and my wife was delighted with the good quality treatment in the hands of her qualified individual. We were pleased that there was no rush and we were not hurried despite being late at night.
The staff in the spa were caring and friendly. A warm Moroccan mint tea poured into small colourful glasses was the best purification after a long day. We were also asked to have a homemade dinner in the spa, but we had to go back to our Riad, as we had another invitation.
We would love to go back to Hammam Rosa Bonheur to be indulged within their pleasant environment and certainly would recommend it.
Reza flew to Morocco on a direct Air Arabia Airlines flight from London Gatwick to Marrakesh.
For more info about Morocco visit www.muchmorocco.com.
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To see more of Reza’s images of Morocco go to www.amirinia.com/morocco.
Images and story © Mohammed Reza Amirinia
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