Heavenly hammam – Purovel Spa and Sport at Swissotel The Bosphorus, Istanbul Turkey

No self-proclaimed spa junkie would leave Turkey without trying the hammam, or turkish bath, especially when he is in Istanbul. Hence, before I left Singapore for my Istanbul trip, I’ve made an appointment to experience my first authentic hamman at Purovel Spa and Sport located within the beautiful Swissotel The Bosphorus, Istanbul.

Spanning across a massive 4,000m² on the fifth level of the hotel building, the Purovel Spa and Sport is one of the leading spas in the world. It is equipped with top-notched spa and wellness facilities that will definitely impress any discerning spa connoisseur.

Reception at Purovel Spa and Sport

The registration was rather quick and efficient. After filling in a health declaration form, I was brought to the changing room where my tellak (male masseur) was ready to brief me on the ritual. After changing out of my clothes and cladded only with a towel, I was told to relax in a eucalyptus-scented steam room. This process helps to exfoliate the dead skin during the scrub later. After 10 minutes, I was brought into this luxurious sicaklik (hot room) where the sound of water from the running taps and soft oriental music in the background fills the entire pristine white marble-lined room. It is almost therapeutic listening to the calming sound echoing in the room.

Purovel Spa and Sport (men's Hammam)

My tellak alternated between pouring bowls of warm water on me and scrubbing my entire body with a soft mitt glove. Frankly, the hammam is not for everyone especially those who feel uncomfortable naked in front of a stranger. To enjoy this ancient Ottoman ritual, one must be comfortable in his own skin. However, I must stress that these tellaks are professionals. No point in time would they make you feel uneasy and your private parts are always covered.

After the initial exfoliation, I proceeded to lie on the gobek tasi, a heated platform in the center of the hot room. There my tellak soaped up a rich lather to cover my entire body before he gave me another round of good scrub and rub. The whole ritual, which took an hour, was completed when he left me to do some “private cleaning”. But my treatment wasn’t completed. While I was in the hammam, my tellak went to change into his Lacoste white polo-tee, beige pants and the same branded white shoes uniform.


Purovel Spa and Sport (men's Hammam)

What followed next was a 50-minute deep tissue massage in a treatment room. Using a unique blend of floral and fruity essential oils, my tellak used his strong hands to release the tension and relieve the muscle aches in my body.

When the entire treatment was completed, I was ushered to a lounge where tea and cookie are served. For nearly two hours, I was in blissful state. It’s quite an enjoyable experience and I know I will be back for more. This is definitely one of the must-do items when you are in Istanbul.

Purovel Spa and Sport at Swissotel The Bosphorus, Istanbul
Bayildim Cad. No.2 Macka, 34357 Besiktas Istanbul, Turkey
www.swissotel.com /hotels/istanbul/spa-fitness

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