A truly oriental spa experience – Hamam Baden Review
Whenever I think “I have seen it all” a little gem pops up seemingly out of nowhere.
The little gem I am talking about today is an authentic and truly oriental Hamam Baden experience in the middle of sleepy and almost old fashioned (Badener’s please forgive me!) town of Baden.
I have previously shared with you my experience in Baden’s thermal spa, and the Hamam adds a total different yet excellent aspect to Wellness in Austria.
The Hamam – a secure place amidst Wellness offers
Amidst this very traditional cure bath environment of quaint Baden, the Hamam – Das Original has been able to secure its fix place amidst Wellness offers for over a decade now. This single Hamam is designed and built for separate opening times to accommodate male, female and mix visitors on weekends.
The Turkish word ‘hamam” is said to derive from the Arabic word “hammam” (hence 2 different spelling versions we sometimes find), which means “something is hot” or “to be hot”.
The 3 Parts of the Hamam
A typical Hamam consist of three parts:
- the “iliklik” or warm room (also referred to as the tepidarium, providing a hint as to the influence of ancient Roman Bath traditions) which is the intermediate room between the cold and hot parts of the bath and where visitors adjust to the heat
- the “sicaklik” or hot room (also referred to as the ‘hararet’ or caldarium) where the actual washing takes place.
- and the “sogukluk” (vestarium) also called “camekan” or “soyunmalik” which is the area to dress up, to relax, to have refreshments
The entire facility of the Badener Hamam is highly functional, very clean, and pleasant to be in and just stunning and state of the art. The proud owner tells me: “you will not find alike even in Istanbul”, which I am happy to confirm.
By the way, there is a lovely Hamam facility offered by Austrian Wellness Hotel Hochschober, however the experience and treatments were not just the same when I had a chance to visit two years ago.
My authentic Hamam visit in Baden
On arrival at the Hamam in Baden, I am greeted by the manager with a traditional Turkish tea in a bar/entrance/reception area, that does not give away immediately what visitors can expect behind the frosted glass door reading “Hamam”.
I am escorted to the private changing area, where each guest has their own private changing cubicle, that also serves as safe keep for private belongings.
I am talked through the process of my visit and change into the traditional “peshtemal” (the large fringed cotton towel), wearing my own slippers that I was told to bring on making my reservation.
When ready, my therapist awaits me outside and takes me to the first and warmer room, one of the most stunning hamam rooms I have seen!
I agree, even in Istanbul, where I have had the pleasure of having Hamam treatments in 5* hotels, I saw alike, but not any better.
Marble is the traditional material used
The white marble spotless, well maintained, the room is equipped with several “kurna” as expected, indirect light makes for a beautiful relaxing ambience and an oil burner spends lovely herbal scents.
Marble is the traditional stone used for wall and floor claddings, seats, sinks such as the ‘kurna” and the hot stone “gobek tasi”.
For about 45 minutes I relax on the gobek tasi, drink plenty of water and pour clean water over myself that I collect with a “tas” (a copper bowl) from the kurna, having the room all to myself on this Tuesday midday, a ‘ladies’ only’ day.
Eventually I am picked up by my therapist again, who takes me through to the hot room, where I am made comfortable again on the marble centre piece to enjoy my soap massage and full body scrub with the “kese” (a coarse mitten woven from hair or plant fibres serves not only to scour the dirt from skin pores, but also to deliver a bracing massage).
Highly skilled therapist
I admire the accomplished way my therapist produces huge amounts of soap foam with the aid of a cotton bag, similar to a pillow case.
I like the vigorous scrub, the blood circulation stimulating effect which suits my dry skin. After the scrub I can feel my skin prickling a little bit, yet not as much after I had once experienced in a Moroccan Bath in Kuwait, where I thought that the therapist was not going to stop before she had peeled off all skin layers and would be able to see my bones… a rather painful experience where I had sunburn like feeling for almost a week to follow.
Not so here in Baden though.
After I have been rinsed off and be given the opportunity to take a shower and wash my hair, I am escorted to the relaxation room located in a conservatory flooded by natural light. I enjoy a traditional Turkish apple tea and rest for a while. This is not the end just yet, my full body oil massage is still to come. I can choose my Aromatherapy oil and revel in the treatment.
I adore my therapist, who gracefully and skilfully administers all movements with such dignity and beauty that I can only admire her. And she smelled nice too!
On my way out after this enjoyable afternoon, I realise that a variety of products are for sale, such as kese, peshtemal, teas and soaps.
Check out their online shop for your hamam@home and remember that not just any steam room provides the authentic Hamam experience.
If you would like to know more about the Hamam Baden please go to their website to find all their contact details.