Hammam at Riad Azoulay

January 28, 2013

After a long day of sightseeing we returned to the lovely Riad Azoulay to find two bathrobes adorned with freshly cut roses on our bed. We were instructed to change into our bathrobes and go downstairs where the talented Zaira would perform the Arab ritual of the Hammam bath.

The Hammam took place in a room of white marble that was dimly lit by candle light. A marble bench ran the full length of one wall and half of the other. I sat down onto the hot marble and listened to the sound of rushing hot water as I watched the light patterns reflect across the room. This put me into a state of total relaxation.

Zaira began by pouring warm water over the bench and floor to create a sauna like atmosphere. She then doused me in warm water and asked me to lie face down with my arms outstretched as she rubbed Moroccan black soap into my skin while stretching and massaging my muscles. The same ritual was performed on my front. I was then rinsed off with generous amounts of warm water as she washed off the soap.

As I lay back down, she again applied black soap to my body only this time she rubbed my skin vigorously with a "gome" glove. This coarse mitt removes all dead cells from your skin and stimulates your circulation, reducing the build-up of cellulite (women in North America would love this). She then repeated this on my front, but with less force.

Rhassoul clay was then applied all over my body and face, with the exception of my eyes and I then laid on the warm marble bench and cooked gently in the cleansing clay for about 5 minutes. I was then brought a glass of cooling water to sip, before the clay was rinsed off in warm water.

After this I enjoyed a wonderful 30 minute massage to complete this truly relaxing, pampering and utterly enjoyable Hamman experience!

Items for a Hammam Spa Experience:

CLAY (rhassoul, ghassoul)
This mineral clay is unique to the edge of the Middle Atlas mountain range in Morocco, where it has been used since the 13th century. Infused with floral water, it gently cleanses and softens the hair, body and face. It is also known for its efficiency absorption of toxins, impurities and normalizes excessive sebum from the skin. This coveted, 100 % natural product is an essential element of Moroccan womens beauty rituals.

DAMASK ROSE BUDS (Rosa damascena)
Also called "the flower of One Thousand and One Nights", this fragrant rose is harvested at the base of the Atlas Mountains neat the stunning, and colourful valley of Dades. Its large buds are delicately removed from the petals and left to dry. The buds can be transformed into essential oils and other cosmetics. These exquisite rose buds will transform any bath into a sensual and fragrant experience. The Damask rose is known to tone, soften, soothe and protect the skin against cold, dryness and the sun.

Distilled from plants, floral waters provide purifying, clarifying, regenerative and calming benefits to all skin types. Rose water has a delicate fragrance and is primarily used to treat wrinkles and moisturize the skin. Orange blossom water gently cleanses, soothes and restores the skin's natural balance.

Made from woven viscose fabric (formerly, goat hair was used), the kessa glove is a traditional tool in the exfoliation ritual. Black soap and dead skin are vigorously scrubbed and rinsed away, revealing smooth and silky skin. This process can be followed by a soothing application of argan oil or shea butter.

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