Tag Archives: Riad 72

Create Your Own Moroccan Hammam Experience

Moroccan hammam experience Riad 72

The hammam at Riad 72. Photo: Riad 72

 

If you are visiting Morocco I recommend you try a hammam either a private one at your riad or the nearest public one.  It’s essentially the Middle Eastern version of the steam room and its origins date back to Roman times.

 

Visiting a hammam is part of Moroccan life and men, women and children visit at least once a week.  Every neighbourhood has a hammam which is often situated near the communal bread oven to share the heat source.  If you are visiting the public hammam check out the times/days when it is open to women/men in advance and find out if you need to take products with you or if they are available to purchase.

 

My first hammam experience was at Riad 72 in Marrakech, which I wrote about in an earlier blog.   When they  suggested I try the hammam I have to admit that I was slightly nervous as I had visions of having my skin rubbed until it was red raw but I had nothing to worry about.  Ayesha, the hammam attendant or tellak, at Riad 72 has been giving hammam treatments for over 10 years and she even gives her ten month old baby the treatment to cleanse his skin.

 

The riad hammam is a large tadelakht covered wet room with a heated floor and a sunken bath at one end.  The bath is filled with hot water and the room fills with steam.  First you are covered in warm water to open your pores and then in a black soap made from olive oil infused with eucalyptus.  The soap cleanses and softens your skin.  Your hammam attendant then uses an exfoliating glove called a kessa to remove old skin cells.  This isn’t like an out of the jar body scrub this is serious exfoliation. You will see rolls of skin leaving your body but it is painless.

 

Once all your dead skin has been removed you are rinsed down and clay, called rhassoul, is mixed with water and applied to your entire body and your hair.  This is special lava clay from the Atlas Mountains which  is said to remove imperfections and tighten your skin.  Once the clay has dried on your skin you are rinsed down again so that all traces are removed.  I finished off with a relaxing argan oil and verbena full body massage.  My skin felt incredibly soft and rejuvenated for days afterwards and there was no redness.

 

Moroccan Hammam Riad 72

The massage room at Riad 72. Photo: Riad 72

 

Create Your Own Moroccan Hammam At Home

A hammam is a great way to unwind and pamper yourself at the same time.  You can create your own Moroccan hammam in your bathroom at home here’s how:

create your own hammam experience

1.  Create the right mood by lighting candles or try floating candles in our copper meditation urli for an ambient glow.

2.  Fill your bath with hot water or leave your shower running to create a steam filled room.

3.  Take a dip in the bath or under the shower  and then cover yourself with exfoliating soap.  There are a few providers of Moroccan soap and beauty treatments online but I am suggesting the Beldi soap with eucalyptus oil from Essence of Morocco.

4.  Once covered with soap start gently exfoliating with the kessa glove.  Work from the extremities in using long sweeping movements and applying pressure.

5.  Rinse off and apply a thin layer of rhassoul clay, lava clay, which is said to rid the skin of impurities, detoxifying the skin. I’m suggesting the Essence of Morocco Rhassoul Clay Mask because the mask is already mixed for you so it is easier to use.  The clay is mined from the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.   You can also use the mask as a natural shampoo and as a weekly face mask.

6.  Leave the mask for 5 – 10 minutes so that it is dry but not too tight and then rinse thoroughly with warm water.

7.  Finally to finish off the experience massage in Argan oil.  I like Essence of Morocco’s organic Argan Oil with Rose.

Afterwards your skin should feel cleansed, soft and rejuvenated and you should feel pampered and relaxed.

 

Please note this isn’t a sponsored post.  There are a number of online providers of Moroccan hammam products I have suggested the Essence of Morocco products because I have used them before and think the quality is good.

Riad 72 Marrakech

Where to stay in Marrakech: Riad 72

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If you are planning a short break to Marrakech I recommend staying in a Riad in the Medina rather than a large hotel in a newer part of town.  It’s the best way to soak up the atmosphere, get a sense of the history and the architecture and a glimpse of local life.

 

I’ve stayed in a few Riads in Marrakech over the years and Riad 72 surpasses them all.  From the moment you arrive you leave the hassles of life behind.  You are greeted by the wonderful Stephania, the general manager, and her staff who give you orange water and towels to freshen up and a welcoming Moroccan mint tea and pastries.  Stephania and her team have thought of everything to make your stay enjoyable.  If it’s your first time in the city they can advise you on where to go and can arrange trips outside the city into the Atlas mountains, to the coast etc.  They will also provide you with a mobile phone in case you get lost or have any problems during your stay.  The Riad is situated within the Bab Doukkala neighborhood, part of the Medina, so it is within easy walking distance to the souks and Gueliz but far enough away to ensure some peace and tranquillity.

 

The Riad itself is over one hundred years old and has been tastefully and elegantly restored.  The owner , Giovanna, is an Italian photographer with a keen eye for interiors.  The decor is pared back but sophisticated giving the architecture, the intricately carved wooden lattice screens, the carved wooden ceilings and the ornate plaster work centre stage.  There are seven bedrooms and each one has been beautifully decorated with textiles, lights and carved furnishings.

 

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As well as serving a wonderful breakfast of pastries, yoghurt and honey  the Riad has its own restaurant, La Table du Riad, and the food, a contemporary twist on traditional Moroccan cuisine, is delicious.  There are lots of great restaurants in Marrakech but if you have spent a long day outside the city sightseeing, or in my case sourcing, it is nice to be able to return to your Riad and relax watching the sunset from the rooftop terrace with a glass of wine before dinner.

 

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Finally I have to mention the wonderful in-house spa.  The Riad has a traditional hammam, like a steam room, and after a day in the hustle and bustle and heat of the souks there is nothing more relaxing than having a traditional hammam treatment (more about that in a later post) followed by a full body massage.

Photography: Riad 72 and top and bottom Maud interiors

More information is available on the Riad’s website.