Travel
How to Hamam
Your guide to experiencing Marrakech's ancient bathhouses

What better way to relax after a hard day's work--or full day of exploring on vacation--than a hot steam bath and exfoliating scrub?
In North America, we generally consider a spa visit an occasional treat but, in Morocco, going to the hammam--or bathhouse--is a weekly self-care ritual. The hammam is a centuries-old tradition that involves steaming, bathing and scrubbing, leaving you silky smooth and refreshed.

If you ask us, it's a must-try in Marrakech. But, before you strip down, there are some things you should know in preparation of your first hammam experience.

First, decide what kind of hammam visit you'd like to have:
The hammam is a centuries-old tradition that involves steaming, bathing and scrubbing, leaving you silky smooth and refreshed.
  • DIY at a public hammam - The most authentic experience is to go to a neighborhood hammam. There, you'll bring your own soap, scrubbing glove, and towel, and bath yourself among locals and visitors of the same gender.
  • Traditional treatment at a private hammam - In addition to the public hammams in every neighborhood, there are many hotels and spas with private hammams. In these bathhouses, you don't need to bring your own equipment and an attendant will do the cleansing and scrubbing in a private steam room.
  • Traditional treatment + spa service - If you want to take the pampering to the next level, up the ante with a massage, aromatherapy, or other service tacked on to your bath.
While the public hammams are the most budget-friendly option, we don't recommend that for first-timers. For those joining us on The Runaway Travel Series to Marrakech (see detail here!), we recommend the traditional treatment at a private hammam.
So what happens?
Yes, you will be naked.
Though the exact experience varies from place to place, you can expect to: step into a hot steam room to open up the pores, detoxify, and relax; get lathered up in a black soap made of olive oil; scrubbed with a traditional glove (called a kessa) to remove dead skin*; and finally washed off with cold water by bath or bucket for an invigorating finish.

*The scrub is called a scrub for a reason, they really take it seriously. For those not used to it, it can seem a bit painful at first. But, the results are worth it. Our advice is to embrace the experience and let it happen. Also, note that they scrub everything exposed...
Back up. Am I required to strip down, completely?
Yes, you will be naked. You're taking a bath, after all! Some private hammams provide disposable underwear. You could also wear a bathing suit bottom or keep on your underwear--just be sure to remember to pack an extra dry pair. You'll likely also be provided a robe and flip flops, but both of those come off once you're in the steam room.

After your first visit, you'll see why locals unwind there weekly. It's a good idea to find a hammam close to your accommodations so that you can float back to room when your treatment is finished. Guests joining us on The Runaway Travel Series to Marrakech will have access to a gorgeous spa just a few minutes from our boutique accommodations.
Want to join us in Marrakech? Book now and secure your spot for a reduced deposit of $500.