All about the different Hammam experiences

A steam house or bath house in Morocco is called a hammam and in my opinion first-time visitors must experience this for themselves. Hammams are scattered all throughout the Medina and traditionally were where people go to socialize, gossip, do business and even arrange marriages. There are two different types of hammams that will yield two VERY different experiences.

Public Hammam

What it’s like:

This hammam is where all the local people go and is a much more genuine experience. The bath house itself will be much more basic and you will be bathing with many many people. The bath house is separated into men and women sides and for this reason it is the one place where the women of Morocco can truly be themselves and are free to gossip and socialize in a loud and boisterous manner.

What to bring:

Towel, razor, shaving cream, flip flops, bathing suit, shampoo, hammam glove and savon noir (the dark black soap that is sold throughout the souk).

What to expect:

Entrance is 10DH. Once you enter you can leave your clothes in the changing room and take your toiletries into the first warm room. This is the room to collect your buckets of water and adjust yourself to the heat. Once you are adjusted you head into the next hot room to open your pores, relax and talk with the locals (they are really friendly). After your pores are sufficiently opened you head back to the warm room to use your black soup and your hammam glove to scrub off a couple of layers of dead skin. Even at the local hammam there are local girls that will scrub you down for a couple of dirham. Wash off with your buckets of water and enjoy the nice clean feeling.

Tourist Hammams

What its like:

These hammams are set up for tourists and offer the same services a typical spa offers. I went to a one near my hostel called The Spa and received the normal package which included a bath with black soap and a scrub down and an hour long massage afterwards.

What to bring:

Yourself. It is a spa like atmosphere so robes and soap are all provided.

What to expect:

Once you are inside the spa they will lead you to a room for you to change into tiny paper underwear and a robe. From there they will take you into a steam room and wash you. Once they apply the black soap they will take their hammam glove and scrub you down. I will warn you that they scrub you hard, very hard actually. After they wash you off again they lead you back to your room where you receive a nice long massage.

Like I said they are two extremely different experiences, whichever you choose though will be an amazing time and you will feel like a new person when you walk out.