Hamam: A Turkish Bath (Part 2) Comparison

 

After my first hamam (Turkish bath) in Istanbul, I decided I would set a goal to try out the hamam experience in different cities while traveling through Turkey.

My second hamam visit was in Goreme. Throughout the week, I asked around town to see where you could get a local hamam experience and found one, however the overall analysis from the locals is that it is touristic but it was the most recommended by local people and they go there.

This time, I went in the daylight and my hotel host walked me over to the Elis Hamam. The building was newer and the architecture outside was pretty. You can see from the picture, it looks much different from the one I went to in Istanbul (if you read that post).

When I arrived, the first step was pick what you wanted from an English menu and pay. The prices were double from my last hamam. The cost was around $30USD (I think I got a $3 discount since I came with a local person.)

A sweet older woman welcomed me into the large lobby area for the women and showed me to my locker. She told me to undress but leave on the bikini bottoms. She was friendly and talkative and asked me a few questions about where I was from. They gave me a towel and shoes to wear around the common areas. I was able to take a picture in here since there wasn’t anyone else in there.  The information around the hamam was in many languages.

Still uncertain what it was going to be like, after my last time in the Istanbul hamam anything was possible; I was led to a couch area in the lobby and my face was painted with a face mask. Next she brought be into a sauna, where she set the timer for 15 minutes. Here was a topless sauna and you laid on your towel. I was the only person inside there at the time, so it wasn’t a big deal. My face mask hardened and my time ended so my next step was to wash it off in the shower. There was a pool in the shower room that was lukewarm for you to get in while you waited your turn for your wash.

A young woman in a bikini-bathing suit came to the pool and brought me into a big room with a round marble slab in the middle of the room. This place was very big and could probably fit 5 ladies at one time. There were other people in there and they were very loud so it wasn’t exactly a peaceful moment. She put me on the slab face down and then poured water on me. She then set a timer for 15 minutes and began to scrub me with the loofa mitt. It wasn’t as hard as before and not as much skin was coming off. The next part was a massage with bubbles. Her massage was okay. It was more of just touching you and rubbing soap on you for most of the time, maybe about 5 minutes did she actually give a deep massage. Also at the end, she washed my hair, but that was mediocre. She left my hair band in and washed around it. My bather was sweet and gentle unlike the other place in Istanbul.

When she finished, I was sent to take a shower and then to the pool. I went in the sauna one more time to dry off some more and next there was a room where the older lady from the beginning dried me off with a towel. She brought me to a lounge chair to relax and served me apple tea.

Overall the location was nicer, the experience was fancier, the price was higher, but the stories of the big Turkish women man-handling you are not here. You could have a nice, modest, peaceful experience at Elis Hamam. I felt cleaner and thinner at the other place, but this one was more relaxing and a spa experience.

The next region I will be trying a hamam is Antalya.

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