What’s the perfect way to relax after a long day of sightseeing? Well, when you’re in Istanbul, the answer is a Turkish bath. Unfamiliar with Turkish baths, I expected the hammam at The Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul to include a massage, followed by a series of pools in which to relax. Umm … not quite. The Turkish bath was, quite literally, a bath. Laying on a marble slab, you’re more comfortable than you might imagine and you find yourself succumbing to the surrounding heat. Using a coarse glove, a “therapist” scrubs your skin within an inch of its life, sloughing off every last bit of dirt and dead skin that may dare to reside on your body. First, she scrubbed one side and then covered me in layers and layers of soft and soapy bubbles. Flip. Repeat. She even washed my hair. I stumbled back to my room in a state of complete relaxation, not to mention, I don’t think I’ve ever been so clean in my life. It’s been a few days since my Turkish bath and my skin is still just as soft and smooth as that first day. The intense exfoliation and cleansing process is definitely good for the skin. I’d do it every week, (OK, every day) if I could! As the treatment ends, you’re wrapped in towels, dabbed with aromatic oils and handed a cup of tea or glass of water. All in all, the Turkish bath was another one of those essential local experiences you just have to try.

The spa also features an extensive menu of other treatments including Ayurvedic treatments, massages, facials, manicures and pedicures. Check out the hotel website for a full list of services and prices.

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