January 19, 2010

A Hammam & Gommage experience ~

There are a few luxuries in life that every girl should have the opportunity to experience, and I would gladly categorise the Turkish Hammam & Gommage as one of them.

(A quick photo of the common area where there are seats for you to relax and lounge around. Apologies for the lack of photos. Lighting was extremely dim and it was a busy day in the Hammam!)

Having read ParisB's review of it at the Hammam (in Bangsar Village II) sometime last year, I decided that I would go for a session just days prior to my wedding in Aug. Lord knows I needed all the de-stressing I could get. And besides, the Imilchil Bridal Radiance Recipe was just too apt to pass.

And just this past Sunday, having two sessions to use up (since I took a package the last time), I decided to treat my mom and myself to another round of Hammam as it was her birthday.

Boy, did we have a lovely time! (Note: Word heavy post)

Walking into the very dimly-lit Hammam gave me a feeling of being whisked straight out of Malaysia into a Turkish bathhouse. We were ushered into changing rooms where we were assigned lockers to stash our belongings. There was no problem with the safety of our personal belongings at all, as the lockers are operated using a magnetic bracelet which we wore the entire time.

We were also required to change into their set of disposable undies and bikini tubes. And for walking around in the common area, the first time round I had a bathrobe provided for modesty's sake. On my second trip there, however, it had been such a busy day that they had run out of bathrobes. Sarongs were provided instead, which was fine for me too.

Once done with the changing, we were ushered straight into the bath area for the Hammam, which is furnished with wooden slats and simple tiled benches for seats. The mosaic artwork in the bath area also gave it an authentic feel. The temperature felt slightly warm, reminding me of a sauna.

We were then given a good rinse-through by two lovely Moroccan ladies, and had a mixture of Henna and Beldi Black Soap applied all over, which was to prep the skin for the Gommage. According to the Moroccan ladies, the henna makes sloughing all that dead skins cells off much more thorough. After 10 minutes, the mixture was rinsed off and we were led to a side chamber for the Gommage.

In the Gommage chamber, we were told to lie down on two marble slabs. Paris was right, I really felt like I had been marinated earlier, and was now about to be skinned. Using a (REALLY) coarse glove, they started scrubbing - bottoms up. They started with our feet and worked all the way up to our necks. Front and back.

If you care to see how your skin is doing, while you get the sensation of being skinned, you'll notice rolls of dead skin cells and grime (daki) just coming off your skin. It looks exactly like someone who's taken to an erasing a pencil mark. The stuff that comes off? Yes, it looks exactly like that. In the same dark grey shade too. *grin*

(A little word of caution though, all this vigorous scrubbing may not bode so well for those with skin problems, such as eczema, as it may cause further skin damage or cause a flare-up. So please do the necessary to see if this is suitable for you.)

After the super-scrubbing was done, we were then led back into the first chamber, where we had a body mask applied all over. Another 10 minutes, and a thorough rinse off. And this time, we were given a bath and a hair-wash too. By this time, we already had baby-soft skin, and all set for our next stop - a full body massage! Talk about being pampered.

We opted to have our massage together, so we were given a twin-sharing private massage room. We were given a change of paper undies (thank you) and told to lie face-down on the massage bed. With the dim lights and very relaxing massage underway, I was pretty sure I dozed in and out of sleep.

I believe both our masseuse were Indonesian, and unlike Thai massages (where they do it dry), our massage was done with scented oil. After about 45 minutes (but it felt much longer, really), we were then informed that our massage was complete. While I enjoyed the body massage, I didn't like the fact that the head massage totally greased up my scalp. (Just a day after and my hair already desperately needs another wash.)

After that it was back into the changing room, where we had a hairdryer provided too, and back out into Malaysia.

Comments: Comparing my first trip there (on a weekday, where I had Paris for company), and my second one on Sunday, I would say the first was generally better. As they had fewer customers to attend to, I was allowed more time before and after the Hammam & Gommage to laze around the common area. There was more privacy, and even the tea tasted better (LOL). Seriously! Also, we weren't given the option of which scented oil we would prefer for our massage, as opposed to my first trip. So I'd say go on a weekday, if you can. These extras, while not a must, would add nice little touches to your visit.

Also bewarned: the Hammam & Gommage is no place for a shy girl (or guy). If you have issues with appearing half naked most of the time, or having someone else bathe and scrub you, I think it will not be an experience you will enjoy. As Paris says, "Modesty has no place in a Hammam!"

As for the price, I remember each session was priced at over RM300, but as I had bought the package, it was slightly cheaper at RM200-odd per session. Apologies as I can't remember the exact price. I paid the bill last August. It's hardly what I'd call cheap, but somehow still feels well worth it.

While I don't see the Imilchil Bridal treatment in their list of treats now, they have many other similar treatments with prices ranging from RM150 for a simple Hammam & Gommage, all the way to Royal Couple Hammam which costs RM650.

Conclusion: Overall, the Hammam & Gommage is indeed an interesting experience, and a luxury I'd love to treat myself to every now and again. My skin feels oh-so-soft and smooth from all that mask and exfoliation, and the massage was truly pampering. Now if only I could get that week's worth of glow as claimed! All I can see is a teeny-weeny bit of a faint glow where the light hits my skin. Ah well. If I ever make it to Turkey though, it's sure to be on my list to-do list!

For more info and photos, click here. So, care to check it out?

PS: Happy Birthday, Mommy!!! =P


Yani said...

I LOVE the treatments, especially the Gommage - it gets you cleaned up like nothing can! But I'm never impresssed by the massages, though, nothing to shout about. You've just made me want to go again, Syen!

beetrice said...

yikes...I so want to try the Gommage, but somehow never got around to it...after you and PB raving about it, I just might! :D

Paris B said...

I agree with Yani. The Gommage is wonderful but the massages are mostly meh. Time for me to go back to get cleaned! ;) Girls day out? :)

Syen said...

Yani & Paris: Hehehe.. oh yea. Super cleaned alright. Maybe I haven't gone around for enough massages, but I rather enjoyed this one. Time to try more! =P

Bee: Oh yes, you definitely should go and check it out. It gives you an altogether new definition of the word "scrub". LOL.

Miu said...

thanks for the tips on package and the review on the massage, looks like the h & g with the body polish and hair marque = must try! I'm planning to go there, been thinking about it for 2 years since my friend Xana spoke to the manager. Alas :( Xana moved to Singapore..so we never try in the end.

Anis said...

I just went for the Princess treatment last Thurs which included Hammam and Gommage and an aromatic massage...
It was simply amazing, I felt so light, so refreshed, skin felt soo smooth even today (4days later)...
Price is abt 235ringgit for this particular treatment...but it was worth it...gonna save a lil each month to start a monthly pampering ritual... :)