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  • Writer's pictureanusha gopalakrishnan

My Turkish Bath (Hammam) Experience: What to Expect?

When I asked for the one thing I should absolutely experience in Turkey, everyone seemed to suggest the Hammam, and I was thrilled to experience it. If you know me, massages and spa treatments are right up my alley. Having lived in Istanbul for about a year, I always wanted to try it but I never got the chance because COVID-19 disrupted those plans.

Luckily for me Hamams can be found throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Each region may have its own variations and names for these baths, but the core concept of communal bathing and cleansing remains similar.

While driving through the heart of Amman, my husband and I noticed the Alf Layla wa Layla Turkish Bath. We decided to try it during the upcoming Eid holidays. The bathhouse is part of a hotel named 1000 Nights, making it an ideal staycation getaway.

Intrigued, we immediately researched the hotel and the hamam online, and, liking what we saw, we booked it right away. Yeap, I don't waste any time when it comes to booking getaways, lol.

What is a Turkish Bath or Hamam?

Although commonly known as Turkish baths, hammams can be found worldwide. They are linked with Islamic culture and initially started as modest, communal spaces where people cleansed themselves.

Over time, hammams evolved into symbols of community and luxury. In Istanbul, they epitomize the Ottoman Empire's heritage. As you may already know, Turkish baths are renowned for their grand architectural designs.

Turkish baths have a rich history influenced by Roman and Greek bathhouses. Essentially, they are public steam baths comprising an undressing area, a cold room, a warm room, and a hot room.

My Hammam Experience

Honestly, I didn't know what to expect, and I must admit I was caught off guard a few times during the experience. I've heard some alarming stories where people described the process as anything but relaxing, mentioning that it can be quite intense. However, I chose to approach it with an open mind and let the experience unfold naturally.

The Alf Layla wa Layla Hammam features separate areas for men and women. Tevan and I bid farewell at the entrance and proceeded to our respective sections.

I was welcomed by a friendly receptionist who guided me through the available services.

Based on her recommendation, I chose the moisturizing Turkish bath and massage package. After making payment, she gave me three wristbands to indicate the three services included in my package. My package included steam, jacuzzi, exfoliation, body scrub, 45 minutes body massage with aroma therapy oils, in addition to all available cold and hot drinks.

Next, I was assigned a bath attendant who escorted me to the main foyer. There, I received a small bath wrap, known as a peshtamal, to cover up before being instructed to undress. Opting to keep my swimsuit on, I stored my belongings in a locker since phones were strictly prohibited beyond this point.

A quick tip: attempting to sneak in your phone is futile as it will inevitably get wet! To respect the rules and everyone's privacy, it's best to abide by these guidelines.

Photo sourced from the official website of the Alf Layla Wa Layla Turkish Bath.

The bath attendant then led me into the "hararet," a warm and humid room designed for initial relaxation, preparing your body for the heat and sweating to come. I was asked to take a cold shower before being guided to the jacuzzi, where we could spend as much time as we liked. To stay hydrated, I was given a bottle of ice-cold mineral water.

Photo sourced from the official website of the Alf Layla Wa Layla Turkish Bath.

After soaking in the jacuzzi for about 30 minutes, I felt relaxed and ready to move on to the next stage of relaxation.

Photo sourced from the official website of the Alf Layla Wa Layla Turkish Bath.

I made my way back to the hararet and sat on the marble slabs that lined the room, above it is a beautiful domed ceiling . A large octagonal marble slab stood at the center of the room, where most of the exfoliating and scrubbing action takes place.

As I took in my surroundings, I was surprised to see many topless women around me, going about their business without a care in the world. I made sure not to stare and tried to coexist in the small space without intruding on the personal space of other patrons. Having never encountered that many topless women simultaneously, it was quite uncomfortable at first.

The next phase was the sauna room, where the heat is progressively hotter to encourage sweating and detoxification. This intense heat helps to open your pores and relax your muscles.

There was another girl from Saudi Arabia in the room, and we decided to engage in small talk. It couldn't get any more awkward, so we figured we might as well. Surprisingly, we bonded on another level with our tits out and all - By this point, the bath attendant had already lowered my swimsuit to my waist. I was too stunned to react and simply went with the flow. At this stage, I had moved past the awkwardness. After about 10 minutes, we both agreed it was time to leave. I was feeling a bit suffocated by then. We were provided with more water to stay hydrated.

As I exited the steam room, I was directed to sit near a basin resembling a water fountain. The attendant poured cold water over me and lathered a scrub salt all over my body, which smelled divine, by the way. She then motioned for me to lie down on the heated marble slab and put on exfoliating mitts. The warmth of the marble felt incredible, and just lying there made me feel so relaxed already (yeah, I’m pretty low-maintenance like that). Lol.

Armed with the mitts, the bath attendant began scrubbing every inch of my body—and yes, I mean every inch. By the time she finished, I don't think there was a single morsel of dead skin left on me. I felt incredibly clean and fresh until I saw the amount of black gunk pooled around me—definitely an embarrassing sight.

The exfoliating process didn't hurt; in fact, she also gave me a gentle massage while scrubbing, which made me feel very relaxed.

After the exfoliation, she moved on to the soaping phase—not before dumping water all over me. The soaping part was really fun, especially when she lathered bubbly foam all over my body. Once that was done, she rinsed me off and then guided me to the massage platform.

Photo sourced from the official website of the Alf Layla Wa Layla Turkish Bath.

The next 45 minutes were a blur as I drifted in and out of sleep; the massage was so calming and relaxing. The scent of the aromatherapy oil was like a lullaby. I felt utterly relaxed as the masseuse worked out my knots. Simply put, I was in heaven. Before I knew it, the 45 minutes were up. The masseuse applied a clay mask to my face, handed me a plush robe, and wrapped my hair in a towel to signal the end of the session. I felt renewed and was practically floating.

I feel compelled to share that this is not my leg, but my husband's (in case you are wondering)

The robe was so plush it felt like a bed of clouds. Still giddy from all the TLC, I made my way to the common lounge area, which was furnished with comfy sofas and a flat-screen TV. I stretched out on one of the sofas, wondering what was happening in the men's section. My thoughts were interrupted by a sweet, chirpy lady who came to take my order for drinks. I requested some green tea. I believe a great spa session should always end with a cup of soothing warm tea—don’t you agree?

Meanwhile, in the men's section, Tevan was also being thoroughly pampered. He chose the same treatment as mine, but with a few variations. He didn’t receive the face clay mask but had more downtime between services, which he spent in the lounge, enjoying coffee and chatting with other patrons. Additionally, the men were wiped down by a big, burly attendant who, according to Tevan, covered all areas during the wipe down and, fortunately, was somewhat gentle.

After finishing my tea, I lounged for a bit longer before taking a refreshing cold shower. All toiletries were provided, so there's no need to bring your own unless you prefer them. They even had hairdryers available. By this point, all I wanted to do was crawl into bed, so it was fortunate that we had decided to spend the night at the hotel next door.

Leaving the spa, I felt relaxed, recharged, and rejuvenated. It was truly money well spent. I highly recommend trying the Alf Layla wa Layla Turkish bath.

Information of the Spa

The Alf Layla Wa Layla Turkish Bath is situated on Al Madina Al Monawara Street, Amman, Jordan, 36522. You can reach them at:

The operating hours for women are from 9 am to 11 pm, and for men, from 9 am to 12 am.

They provide a range of services, including wedding packages. For details about their services and prices, you can visit their Instagram and Facebook pages or click here to view the menu of services and the price list.

I chose the Moisturizing Turkish Bath and Massage, priced at 50 JD. Guests of the 1000 Nights Hotel receive a 20% discount.

Turkish Bath Etiquetes

Turkish bath etiquette typically includes several important considerations to ensure a respectful and enjoyable experience:

  1. Respectful Attire: In traditional Turkish baths (hammams), nudity is often required in gender-segregated areas. Guests usually wear a peshtemal (a traditional Turkish towel) or a swimsuit, but be prepared to follow local customs regarding nudity.

  2. Personal Hygiene: Before entering the bath, it's customary to shower thoroughly to cleanse your body.

  3. Respect for Others: Maintain a quiet and respectful atmosphere. Avoid loud conversations or disruptive behavior that may disturb other guests seeking relaxation.

  4. Follow Attendant's Instructions: Bath attendants, known as tellak (for men) or natir (for women), guide guests through the bath experience. Follow their instructions and be courteous during treatments.

  5. Mind Your Time: Turkish baths are communal spaces where other guests may be waiting. Be mindful of the time spent in each area and ensure others have their turn.

  6. Personal Belongings: Lockers are provided for storing personal belongings. Mobile phones and cameras are typically not allowed beyond the changing areas to respect privacy.

  7. Relax and Enjoy: Embrace the therapeutic benefits of the bath experience. Take your time to unwind, enjoy the steam rooms, massages, and other treatments offered.

Anyway, here I am, alive and well to share the experience, so I think it's safe to say we both emerged unscathed, lol! I would give my experience a 5-star rating, and now I'm even more excited to try the authentic hammam experience in Turkey. Hopefully, I'll feel just as enthusiastic about hammams after experiencing the local Turkish baths.

This spa is especially wonderful after exploring Jordan. Consider scheduling it just before your flight home to return feeling refreshed.

Let's just say, if you're at all shy or inhibited, this might not be your thing. If the idea of being naked in a locker room makes you uncomfortable, a Turkish bath scrub could be a life-changing experience—either pushing you out of your comfort zone forever or making you more confident than ever.

Rating my stay at the 1000 Nights Hotel

I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at the 1000 Nights Hotel. We had reserved a double room, but the hotel upgraded us to a suite without us even asking - that was a nice surprise. The check-in process was smooth and effortless. The staff were kind, friendly, and quick to address any room-related issues. The suite was cozy and spacious, with exceptionally comfortable bed and pillows, luxurious robes, and a well-stocked minibar where items were complimentary on the first day of our stay. My favorite feature of the room was the rotating TV between the bedroom and living area, which also doubled as a mirror. The hotel's location is strategically situated with numerous eateries nearby. Additionally, the renowned kunafa shop in Amman, Habibah, is just a few doors away from the hotel.

For more information about the hotel, please contact the hotel manager, Mr. Suhana, at +962 7 9628 8880.

Till my next adventure, Toodles

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