spa - Hammam Baths, Athens
Written by Natali Lekka
Conveniently located in the heart of Athens’ historical centre, Hammam Baths is an invitation to oriental exoticism.
According to a tale told by Princess Scheherazade, “no city is complete without its hammam”. This is what the three owners of Hammam Baths must have had in mind when they opened the first authentic Turkish bath in Athens last year.
Sheltered in a beautiful neoclassical building, not far from the ancient agora and the archaeological site of Kerameikos, Hammam Baths is a ritual for the senses; a temptation to indulge in the healing properties of an authentic hammam experience, cocooned from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The hammam’s impressive interiors, with its marble wash basins, marble beds and imposing domed ceiling are the work of Turkish architect Ayøegül Özer, while the pestemal towels, the takunya clogs, the loofa sponges, the kessa gloves and the soaps come directly from Turkey, Jordan, and Syria.
Experience the spa’s signature treatment Ali-Mama Hammam, on a heated marble stone, with a rejuvenating steam bath and a deep exfoliating scrub that will leave your body smooth like silk, before you indulge in an invigorating and luxurious full-body massage with natural olive-oil soap. Finish with a kafa, a hair wash and energising head massage. Additional services include a special anti-cellulite therapy (Selülite Karsi) and traditional thread hair removal. Treatments average 90 minutes. Every Tuesday is women only.
Athens’ historical quarter, Plaka, is a stone’s throw away. Make your way through the old, picturesque neighbourhoods, with their narrow cobblestone alleyways, exploring dozens of archaeological sites on your way; enjoy authentic Greek cuisine in a quaint little taverna with majestic views of the Parthenon, or shop at the quarter’s high-quality leather, rugs, and jewellery stores. If you have time, stop by the Bath House of the Winds museum or Abid Efendi Hammam, (Kiristou 8 st.) as it was once called, the only historical public baths that survive in Athens today. It dates from the first period of Turkish rule (1453–1669) and stands near the Roman forum and the Tower of the Winds. It was a public hammam until 1965.