Istanbul Baths: The Turkish Art Of Relaxation
Raffles Spa – Launched in late 2014, Raffles Spa seamlessly blends age-old Turkish culture with 21st-century techniques. “People are looking for relaxation,” spa manager Asli Sakizli says of their ethos. “But people are also looking for results.”
Rassles offers Turkish hammam treatments, but these experiences – ranging from 30-minute classic scrubs to two-hour cleansing “journeys”, comprised of a full-body mask and an aromatherapy rub – have been adapted enormously. Hammam therapists who work here often come from a long family lineage, trained by their mothers and grandmothers. Yet new techniques are integrated, such as the speciality ice massage used to close out a hammam experience and stimulate blood circulation.
Nutritionists, personal trainers and lifestyle coaches are on hand, too. All the bath products contain medicinal herbs, and are so organic that you could literally eat them, claims Sakizli. These include Londons The Organic Pharmacy and Gazelli skincare by Azeri beautician Jamila Askarova. The spa is large enough to get lost in. The facilities include more than 3,000sqm of relaxing space, with three petite hammams, two couples’ suites and seven treatment rooms, plus more dried apricots and shelled pistachios than at a Lebanese wedding. Saunas, Jacuzzis, ice fountains and experience showers abound. ‘There are indoor and outdoor swimming pools, as well as a yoga and Pilates studio. The newest packages comprise three- to five-day detox programmes. Perhaps even more tempting is the thought of a pampering stay at Raffles during this extreme treatment -though, according to Sakizli, patrons are a mix of overseas guests and Istanbul locals.