Spa Diary: Hammam Bathing House Athens
When traveling, there is always one must-do item on my list: hit up a local spa! What better way to experience local rituals, ingredients, and beautifying techniques all at once? Last month, as I was preparing to vacation in Greece, I discovered Hammam Bathing House with locations in Thessaloniki and Athens. Since I would be spending a few days in Athens, I booked an appointment for a Turkish bath house experience for some friends and myself.
After a long day of travel from the United States, Hammam Bathing House of Athens was the perfect “welcome” we needed. It stays open late, so a couple of my travel mates and I booked 8:30 p.m. appointments. After a short taxi ride from our hotel we arrived at the spa, which was located in the center of the city. The entrance was charming, to say the least—covered in bright flowers with views of the famed acropolis, high on a hill in the distance.
Here’s what you’ll love about Hammam Bathing House Athens:
The opportunity to experience age-old Greek and Roman rituals.
Stunning marble facilities and a wide range of treatment options.
Two locations in Greece: Athens and Thessaloniki.
Self-service options with plenty of room to ‘spa’ with friends or family.
Greek-inspired ingredients used in treatments and available for purchase, including olive oil and Savon Noir (a combination of pure olive oil and black olives).
Upon entering the spa, which featured an ambiance of minimalist shelves and cool colors, we were greeted promptly by the receptionist and given pestemal wraps (light towels) and sandals to change into. We came prepared and brought swimsuits, as suggested by the spa prior to our arrival. After changing, we were led into a warm and steamy open marble Hammam space. I wasn’t able to snap photos as there were other guests at the time, but below I have included some images of the incredible room, courtesy of the spa.
With roots in ancient Greece and Rome, Hammams are open bathing areas that focus on the elements of water to cleanse the mind and body. Usually heated by steam, Hammam services offer a plethora of benefits from boosting the immune system, rehydrating skin, and improving elasticity to balancing oil and acne—not to mention a reduction in stress and anxiety thanks to the deep relaxation promoted.
Hammam Bath House recommends lying or sitting on the warm marble surfaces until your body gets into a sweating state, which usually takes about 20 minutes. During this period, you can pour hot water over your body or simply relax. My friends opted for the Traditional Hammam service (25 euro/up to an hour and a half) and were given a rough luffa, a bowl, and soap for this self-service option. The Hammam is equipped with personal faucets and sinks for convenience.
I booked the Ali-Mama Hammam (45 euro/ 30-minute treatment time) and waited in the steamed Hammam with my group. After about 30 minutes, I was greeted by a spa therapist who led me over to the marble treatment table. I was already feeling relaxed, but the Ali-Mama treatment was the cherry on top.
It included exfoliation with a ketchou—a type of disposable dry brush—followed by a full-body massage that included stretching maneuvers. I was washed from head-to-toe via manual techniques and a large wand of bubbles from natural soaps containing olive oil. My favorite parts were the head massage and shampoo and conditioning treatment, using none other than the spa’s private label products.
Although I was in a dreamlike state, I recall all of products smelled wonderful. Including steam before and after the treatment, the entire process can last an hour to an hour and a half, although I could have stayed all night.
Our group reconvened in the spa’s beautifully eclectic relaxation room, where we sipped Red Turkish tea and snacked on Turkish delights. Before leaving, we spent time in the spa’s boudoir and applied various lotions and creams onto our freshly scrubbed skin.
We browsed the retail shelves to find that the spa stays true to its roots, carrying the brand’s shampoo and conditioner, body milk, shea butter, massage oils, and Savon Noir. Turkish towels and olive oil-based soaps are also available for purchase, making perfect spa mementos.
Squeaky-clean and utterly relaxed, I slept like a baby that night, thanks to my lovely experience at the spa. Efharisto, Hammam Bathing House Athens! Until next time…
Insider Tip: Bring a swimsuit so that you can enjoy all of the Hammam amenities.
Phone: (+30) 210-3231-073
Address: Hammam Baths Athens, 17 Agion Asomaton Str. & 1 Melidoni Str. Thissio, 10553, Athens, Greece
[Images by Alisha Racker]
Alisha Racker’s beauty career has spanned over a decade as she's worked as a master esthetician, skin care PR-pro and freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful mountains of Salt Lake City with her husband and daughter.