Secrets of The Hammam

The busy crowded dusty streets of the Medina, familiar, noisy and so polluted - can be transformed here in a heartbeat!  

Entering the neighborhood hammam is to retreat into a different private world, one of women only. 

Traditionally Friday (couscous day) is set aside for local ladies to go spend a good and lengthy time chatting, catching up, meeting at the proverbial water fountain.


The benefits of a steaming hot relax, a gloved scrub delivered with vigor to remove the first layer of skin, and soaping with traditional (Beldi) liquid black olive oil or argan herbal soap flavored with orange, eucalyptus or rose oil. Then to more steaming, and the entire body caked in a clay mask.  Skin is at once rendered hairless and yet soothed in pink clay; this herbal balm of 9 or more herbs was dug, mixed and spread to dry on mountain rooftops of Berber homes, these dried and cured Atlas Mountain clays come in a surprising array of textures and mixes of different roughness for the body to smooth pure white for the face. I like to mix my body clay with a little henna so my skin has a natural healthy glowing tint. The use of nature’s aids is vast, varied and ever increasing in complexity as I spend more time here.

The atmosphere of the hammam is soothing, with beautiful tile lined rooms, warm comforting cushions, traditional lanterns and perfumed oils, I make it a weekly treat for my body mind and soul.

Melanie FrancisComment