Being my first Hammam experience, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The staff at Yas Beauty Spa for ladies and gents, located at Souk Al Bahar in Dubai Old Town near Burj Khalifa, are always welcoming – and it’s easy to find a space in the Souk’s plentiful underground parking – a big plus in terms of location.
Souk Al Bahar itself is a charming market styled in traditional Arabian souk style – worth spending the time either before or after visiting Yas Spa to have a browse around.
The Spa’s reception area is quite small and brightly lit, but they’ve used the space they have well – the treatment rooms are a haven of tranquility. After changing I was quickly taken through to a candle-lit, spacious steam room – but without the heat and humidity you find in a more sauna-type steam room.
The Hammam is often referred to as a Turkish bath. My therapist, who had previously spent a few years working at a spa in Turkey, was well-qualified for the job – and I was to have an authentic Turkish experience. All the ingredients used were from Turkey and some very pleasant Turkish music piped gently through the speakers.
I was asked to lie face up on a towel-covered marble slab, and the treatment started with deliciously warm water poured by jug all over the body. A strange and glorious feeling – nothing like a bath or shower – more like having warm waves lapping all over you – very agreeable indeed. Then came an exfoliating body scrub sourced from Turkey – invigorating and relaxing at the same time – and another rinse off with the warm water.
This was followed by what I can only describe as a soap fest. I was covered in a huge cocoon of soap foam – from Turkey of course, and given a massage – which as my therapist explained was designed to be gentle and relaxing, unlike the more vigorous body massage designed to eliminate muscle tension.
Incidentally, Yas Spa also offers a Moroccan Hammam. The difference, my therapist explained, was that Ottoman Hammam also included the massage.
More glorious warm water, and then onto my front to get the same treatment (scrub, soap and massage) on my back, shoulders, arms and legs. Finally, she applied shampoo to my head – which seemed like a slightly amusing token gesture as I have no hair. But of course, I was there to review the treatment.
Then a last rinse down, which my therapist said would normally be cold water – presumably to close the pores – but in Dubai, where cold water never comes out of the taps, it was warm. Actually, while imagining that cold water would be a quite refreshing and invigorating end to the treatment, I was quite pleased that my own treatment reached a warmer conclusion.
Back in the reception area at the end of the treatment, I was given a juice and a platter of fresh mixed fruit. I left feeling cleansed, relaxed and having had at least two of my five a day fruit portions.
Would I return for another Ottoman Hammam in the near future? Resoundingly yes. At the start I hadn’t known what to expect – but the experience exceeded my expectations.
The 60-minute Ottoman Hammam at Yas Beauty Spa, is AED365. Contact 04-4513333 or visit www.yasbeautyspa.com, which provides full details and prices of its comprehensive list of treatments for both ladies and gents. These include a wide range of massages, hammams, facials, waxing and hair treatments.
Mark Atkinson (www.freelancewriter.org.uk) is a Dubai-based freelance copywriter, helping companies with their marketing communications (websites; blogs; brochures; newsletters; press releases), corporate communications (business plans; market reports; bid documents; presentations; white papers) and technical documents (policies; procedures; processes; training materials). More recently, it has been his pleasure to link up with Spa Genie and enjoy his favourite pastime – visiting spas and trying different treatments for some serious chill out and unwind time.