A traditional Hamam in Alanya isn’t necessarily a relaxing spa experience…!
“While you’re here you should definitely try a traditional Turkish bath.”
These were the words of one of my guides when I arrived in Alanya, Turkey a few weeks ago. Over three days I was whisked from beaches to caves to restaurants, and now, just ten minutes after returning from a jeep safari, I found myself in the ladies changing room at Çemberlitas Hamam.
As mentioned in my recent spa review of the luxury hamam at Dolphin Square, the hamam (also known as Turkish bath) isn’t an activity done for pure relaxation. No, it’s a cultural experience with an emphasis on cleansing. It’s also a place where people go to catch up with friends and family. Parents take their children and friends go together. It’s a communal experience, with most of the time spent in the hamam chamber – a beautiful marble room with sinks around the outside and a large heated marble stone in the centre. Men and women have separate facilities, although at this hamam, the sauna and steam room were mixed.
After a sauna and a steam, I entered the hamam chamber in my bikini unsure of what the protocol was. I was swiftly pointed in the direction of the shower then the jacuzzi. One thing to note, when I arrived I wasn’t told what the experience would involve, so I spent the whole time apprehensive about what was going to happen next.