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A Timeless Turkish Tradition

The Turkish bath or “hammam” tradition dates back to the Ottoman era as an important ritual to cleanse and relax as well as gather for social affairs. Hammams are bathing complexes that are decorated from floor to ceiling with marble—and thus referred to as “marble temples.” Today, Raffles Istanbul has rejuvenated the ancient tradition and is now offering experiences for the entire family to enjoy.

“The classic Turkish Hammam experience is centuries old and steeped in tradition,” said Constantina Tsoutsikou, creative director, HBA London. “Usually domed, the marble-clad room includes a göbektaşı, which is a heated marble platform located in the center, where the treatment takes place. When it comes to design, the ritual experience remains at the heart of every creative decision.”

The luxurious property has three Turkish hammams in the Raffles Spa, which features male and female relaxation areas with saunas, steam rooms, Jacuzzis, experience showers and ice fountains. The outdoor pool offers panoramic views of the city, and both indoor and outdoor pools are bathed in natural light. Completing the facilities are a yoga and Pilates studio, personal training, Technogym equipment and two hair and nail salons.

“Hammam design follows a sequence where the therapist guides the guest through each stage of the treatment. Heated benches for resting, as well as a gradual introduction to warm temperatures, mean that a hammam is more than just a marble-lined room with the central massage slab. Retaining this rhythm, therefore, is essential for a successful hammam ritual. At the Raffles Spa, we designed an extraordinary hammam suite, which is popular for bridal parties. It has its own lounge, outdoor terrace, private treatment rooms, as well as a generous hammam and tepidarium,” she said.

The Family Hammam offer will be available for families who want to spend quality time together while refreshing and regenerating. With its private lounge, relaxation area, ice fountain, treatment room, hammam and showers, the guests will enjoy an exclusive hammam experience in all privacy with their loved ones, while experiencing the Turkish city through design.

“Locality and culture become driving forces in the Raffles Spa narrative,” Tsoutsikou said. “Our design concept celebrates the sense of place through many touchpoints in the spa journey. From the stone slabs being selected in local quarries, to the crockery and trays used for post-treatment drinks found in the markets of Istanbul, to the warm bronze ceramic tiles used in the changing areas, every design choice has been made with the intention to connect the guests with the richness of the Turkish wellness heritage.”