Dar Les Cigognes private hammam review
It’s official: I’m in love with the Dar Les Cigognes hammam.
It was something I’d come across countless of times, but never yet tried. In fact, in June I was at the Miraj Hammam Spa at Shangri-La in Toronto, but only to try their sumptuous facial.
And so, it was at Dar Les Cigognes that I finally broke my hammam virginity!
So, it was quite fitting that my first, and incredible, hammam experience took place in Morocco.
Hammam in Morocco: a brief background
The hammam’s the Islamic variant of the Roman bath and sauna. The concept of the Turkish baths first became popular in the Victorian era as a method of cleansing and relaxation. There are differences according to country, but the standard’s a steam room with full body wash, followed by a massage.
In Morocco, a visit to the hammam’s a weekly occurrence. It’s a time not only to relax, but also to socialise. Men and women bathe separately, and it’s an important part of Moroccan culture. Given the overt nudity that occurs in hammams, don’t expect any big glittering neon signs outside! On the contrary, you’ll find discreet entrances and windowless exteriors. Though the country was never under Ottoman rule, hammam translates as ‘public bath place’ in Arabic.
Dar Les Cigognes hammam experience for first-timers
Truthfully speaking, I wasn’t brave enough to try a public hammam — especially for my first try. After some sound advice from another traveler, I decided to keep it boutique and go private.
It turned out to be the right decision. They have 2 hammam rooms at Dar Les Cigognes, both elegant in style and design. It also uses its own range of massage and bath products based on Moroccan argan oil. Don’t forget to bring swimwear if you want to try it out. Women do have to remove their bikini tops, but that’s all that’s required. Once inside the room, it feels similar in design to a Scandinavian sauna, with wooden benches and towels that you sit on.
The therapist then gets to work, first, by running water from the tap into a wooden bucket.
“Once inside the room, it feels similar in design to a Scandinavian sauna, with wooden benches and towels that you sit on.”
FOLLOWING THE RIVERA
The hammam experience begins
Once the water’s warm enough, she begins to bathe you. I’ll be honest, I did feel slightly awkward sitting there half nude, but you soon learn to relax.
Upon lying down, she applies a body scrub. For anyone who enjoys having silky smooth skin after a scrub, you’ll love this. I wish I could tell you the product, but the lady only spoke Arabic so it was impossible to ask! What wasn’t as pleasant, was seeing how much dirt came off on the towel! I was shocked, and hung my head in hammam shame.
The ritual of bathing and cleansing continues, by which point you completely let go of your inhibitions. However, the main highlight of the cleansing for me was the ‘facial’. I use quotation marks because it’s not the type of facial I’m used to having. Instead, she takes a black soap/product and gently cleans your skin while massaging it. My skin was so clean, it was literally squeaking clean after.
A few more rounds of cleansing, and I felt reborn. Wrapped up like a pig in blanket, my therapist led me to the second part of the ritual: the massage.
My skin tingled against the fabric of the robe as I walked to the next room. After a good session of steaming and cleansing, I was ready for the massage.
If I wasn’t so relaxed at the time, I would’ve taken photos of the room’s ceiling. It was mesmerizing to say the least, with a sliver of light shining through the top.
There’s not much I can say about the massage other than it was excellent. When writing about wellness tourism, it’s easy to forget that not every experience is necessarily a good one.
“A few more rounds of cleansing, and I felt reborn.”
FOLLOWING THE RIVERA
Firm yet soft strokes, my masseuse knew exactly what she was doing, and she did it well. One last tip: don’t say no to the head massage. Yes, you’ll walk out looking like you have the hair of a troll doll, but your head will thank you for it after!
Be back in your room in 2 minutes with a stay at Dar Les Cigognes. Generous-sized rooms, a stunning vista from the terrace, and personalised service awaits.
Disclaimer: Even though I was invited by Dar Les Cigognes, all views are my own and based on my own experience.