Whilst we were staying at the Riad Farnatchi Cheeky and I were lucky enough to visit the newly opened Farnatchi Spa. Based in the north end of the Medina in Marrakesh, the Spa opened its doors in 2016. The Spa can be entered from the street Souk de Fassi, but it also has direct access from the Riad, which is how we arrived for our spa experience.
We entered into a stunning mix of traditional and modern interior design. We loved the light colouring of the place with its white limed carved doorways, white walls and white furniture and a large skylight throwing natural light over everything. I could have quite happily sat here sipping on mint tea whilst letting my thoughts wander. They have managed to create the perfect environment that seems to promote relaxation.
The Spa has a good selection of various treatments on the menu, from massages and facial treatments to a collection of treatments using the luxury organic skincare brand Ila from Great Britain. However, today was my birthday and it was time to experience something totally new… the Traditional Moroccan Hammam. A Hammam is a steam room, similar to a Turkish bath, where Moroccans habitually go each week to cleanse themselves. The Hammam dates back to the Greeks or perhaps even further. The Romans adopted this tradition and then spread it across the Roman empire. The Arabic cultures quickly adopted this culture plus the lack of plumbing in most households meant that public bathing houses sprung up and eventually the Hammam was written into local Moroccan tradition.
I am a huge fan of Scandinavian and Alpine saunas, steam rooms, cold plunge pool, in fact anything with extreme temperatures that cleans the skin and boosts the immune system so I loved the idea of having a Hammam. I am told that normally Hammams are split into male and female sections and that full nudity is the norm, but on this occasion Farnatchi spa was to create our own little private couples experience complete with little loin cloths to hide the family jewels. I felt like Tarzan of the jungle in my loincloth, but I am sure Cheeky would have agreed that I probably looked ridiculous!
We entered the Hammam, a small marble room with two marble beds, the air was thick with steam but the heat was comfortably bearable. We laid down on the marble slabs and waited for the experience to commence. Fatiha entered the room greeted us, it was ladies first so Cheeky was first up. In turn we were both covered in water and then had the mysterious Black Soap, which resembles engine grease rubbed into the skin and then left for 10 minutes to soak in. During this time the steam opens the pores and the soap which is made from Olives rich in Vitamin E and Eucalyptus Essentials oil start to soften and clean the skin. Once 10 minutes were up Fathia went to work with a exfoliating mitt (KIS in Arabic) scrubbing the dead skin which came off in lumps and generally getting the blood flowing. This was then rinsed off and we were then covered in Ghassoul (pronounced rassoul) a mineral clay unique to the Atlas Mountains which is hypoallergenic and packed with with magnesium, calcium, and potassium. It also had seven aromatic plants mixed in with it. The Ghassoul is used to absorbs excess grease and eliminates impurities deep down. In our loincloths and now covered in mud we both looked like Roman slaves…
Once again we lay there taking in the steam and letting the Atlas Mountain Clay do its magic. It was then time for Fathia to clean this off our skin and work Argan Oil into our pores. Argan Oil originates from the Kernels of the Argan tree. It seems to be use a lot on Moroccan cooking and in their cosmetics due to its high amounts of vitamin A and E plus anti-oxidants, Omega-6 fatty acids and linoleic acid. Argan Oil is mostly used to ease inflammation whilst moisturising the skin. Fathia spent some time massaged the oil in and generally getting the muscles to relax even further. We then relaxed further and let the heat of the Hammam get the best out of the Argan oil as our pores lapped it up.
Now our skin had been scrubbed, detoxified and pampered it was time to finish with buckets of water to clean off any excess and then we were invited to sit up and have our hair washed, which was quite a lovely feeling, back to the days of being a baby again!
Once finished and out of the Hammam, we were comparing skin texture and sure enough we seemed to have smooth baby soft skin… in fact for days to come we kept comparing our skin constantly amazed at how soft it felt to the touch. I can see why the locals visit the Hammam regularly to bath and catch up on gossip, I would love to add this to my weekly routine. If only I had a Farnatchi Spa at home.
60 Souk El Fassi