The Hammam Experience in Baku
The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Baku is reviving the hammam experience with traditional treatments in a luxe modern setting.
Azerbaijan’s wellness traditions have long been influenced by Middle Eastern culture. And indeed, the capital city of Baku is home to a number of hammams, traditional Turkish public steam baths that locals head to for a detoxifying bathing ritual that sees them scrubbed down by bath attendants and then massaged with a hydrating oil. The goal is to purify the body—a practice that has religious implications, as many Muslims regularly visit hammams to cleanse before their Friday prayer. But hammams aren’t just for spiritual purposes; they are neighbourhood gathering spots, and are very much woven into the social fabric of many Islamic communities.
Despite Azerbaijan’s Muslim majority, the use of hammams in the country has fallen off in recent years due to the hectic pace of life. “We want to entice people to come back to the old tradition by turning the detoxifying bathing session into a truly luxurious and cosseting experience,” says Shawna Morneau, the Spa Director at the recently opened Jaleh Spa and Pool, which is located at Four Seasons Hotel Baku.
Guests who book one of the hammam rituals are led to a round, marble-clad steam chamber outfitted with a table made with heated slabs of Turkish marble. After a few minutes of steaming to open pores, guests are cleansed with an exfoliating kessa glove and a black soap made from crushed olives and eucalyptus oil. The treatment caps off with a massage using Moroccan argan oil, which is very rich in essential fatty acids, carotenoids and vitamin E. The Spa also offers versions of the hammam ritual that use seaweed and sea salt–infused products. Whatever option you choose, you’ll be refreshed and ready to explore the charming Caspian Sea city that the Spa calls home.