With wellness traditions dating back to ancient times, Turkey can easily be called a birthplace of the world’s spa culture, offering century-old practices to the modern-day customers. While on holidays in Bodrum, make sure you don’t miss out on the one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience this unique combination in its original setting.
A hammam is the first thing that comes to mind while speaking about traditional approach to wellness in Turkey, and rightly so. The remains of Roman and Byzantine baths can be found in various places around the country, while the bathing tradition started by Seljuks and the Ottomans lives on in contemporary rituals. Starting in the 15th century, the Ottoman palace has taken personal care traditions to a new level, setting itself apart from the cleansing rituals practiced by the masses. Today, those luxurious practices are cultivated in places focusing on authenticity and historical accuracy of the bathing experience. Their popularity is beginning to grow –though they can be found in various places around the world, the original hammams are only available in Turkey.
Wellness in Turkey is not only focused on history and tradition. It is also about following the latest trends and remaining competitive compared to other world destinations. Major players among the spa brands have incorporated elements of local culture to enhance the experiences offered in Turkey. Even while performing contemporary treatments, products traditionally rooted in Turkish wellness culture, such as peştemal and kese, are used. While performing traditional hammam rituals, innovative skincare products are used, which shows another way of how traditional and modern techniques are simultaneously applied in wellness programs, going above and beyond the traditional ‘scrub and soap’ service.
Benefits of hammam
- Increased blood circulation
- Skin detoxification
- Stress relief
- Muscle tension relaxation
- Improvement of the skin condition
- Deep cleanse of the skin
Hamam bathing essentials
You can prolong the hamam experience after your Bodrum holidays are over. Try performing the rituals at home by purchasing the following items:
and hamam kese
Perhaps the most famous articles of the Turkish hamam, lightweight peştamal are woven using special loops and made of 100 percent cotton, famous for their absorbency and softness. During the rejuvenating massage at the hammam, hamam kesesi (Turkish bath glove) is used to exfoliate your skin and slough off the dead cells. We love Bodrum Havlu’s products with local textiles and revamped traditional designs. Order at www.bodrumhavlu.com or visit the store at Yalıkavak yolu, inönü bulvarı, No.24, Gündoğan; T: (0252) 387 94 60
- Olive oil soap
The famous olive oil soaps of Turkey offer a natural way to nourish and feed the skin. Hatice Teyze offers high-quality handmade, cold-pressed organic Turkish soaps, each infused with ingredients like lavender and Bodrum tangerines. Visit the store at Cumhuriyet Caddesi No.91/4, Ortakent; T: 0850 582 11 96
- Pumice set
Pumice is a type of volcanic rock known for its rough texture that’s a perfect, healthy way to slough off dry skin on elbows, knees, soles of feet and other rough patches.
- Peştamal and hamam kese
Traditional spa meets modern spa approach
One of the finest examples of this traditional-modern combination is Spa Caresse, occupying two levels of the luxurious Caresse resort in Bodrum. Envisioned to provide ultimate comfort to its guests, its extensive size ensures maximum privacy even during its busiest moments. There are separate facilities for men and women (changing rooms, saunas, relaxation rooms), as well as spacious common areas with sports equipment and pools. The facility has also been designed to provide options for different weather conditions, with plenty of indoor and outdoor room, as well as semi-open spaces.
Treatments at Spa Caresse combine the quality of ESPA products with local beauty traditions; for example exclusive products are used to perform traditional hammam rituals, while signature treatments incorporate local herbs and salts. There is also a range of packages created for men. However, if you’re a fan of a more traditional approach to wellness, Balinese therapists are there to deliver aromatherapy, Thai or Swiss massages, or acupressure. Open daily 8am-10pm (treatments 10am-9pm). Caresse, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Bodrum, Adnan Menderes Cad. No.89, Asarlik Mevkii; T: (0252) 311 36 36
Spotlight on spa facilities at Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay Bodrum is clearly visible through the hotel’s architecture. Hamam domes appearing in the middle of the property’s swimming pool, are among the most eye-catching details, capturing the interest of the guests and visitors to find out what’s beneath them. The spa itself, managed by Sanitas, besides classic hammam treatments offers a variety of scrubs performed with natural products such as ground coffee beans or honey crystals. Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay Bodrum, Gerenkuyu Mevkii, Kizilagac Koyu, Yaliciftlik; T: (0252) 311 03 03
Combining far eastern spa practices with middle eastern tradition, Mandarin Oriental Bodrum skillfully takes advantage of the natural settings that enhance the spa experiences. While spa rituals performed by the pool or on the waterfront are international classics, enjoying the view of the sea from a private hammam is something that very few properties can offer. Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum, Göltürkbükü Mahallesi, Cennet Koyu, Çomça Mevkii; T: (0252) 311 18 88
Modern face of wellness
The ‘new healthy’ approach to wellness that dominates in the media these days stands for a reflection of particular lifestyle, and a long-term process that takes place during as well as after the wellness retreat is over. The chances are you might also be looking for a complex program that covers all aspects of life, from medical checks and fitness recommendations, to spa treatment and nutrition programs for you to follow upon return to your daily routine.
Sianji Wellness Resort in Bodrum’s Turgutreis neighborhood offers three programs based on different diet plans that can be followed by couples or families with different personal development goals, but who still want to travel and spend time together.
The LifeCo is another great example here, currently managing two properties in Golturkbuku. The main center is where the guests enroll into complete detox programs, while LifeCo Bodrum Beach operates as Bodrum’s first (and at the moment only) vegan hotel. Guests of the hotel can take advantage of the facilities in the main complex as well.
Alongside wellness resorts with tailored fitness, nutrition and mindfulness programs, Bodrum has a wide range of coastal spa resorts that cater towards the needs of luxury travellers in general. Swissôtel Resort Bodrum Beach has a beautifully designed spa facility, managed by its own Purovel brand. Open all year round, it gives the travellers a solid excuse to visit Bodrum during the winter months, too.