The Turkish steam baths called hamams first gained a following during Ottoman rule in the 1400s.
They’re popular once more.
Inspired by the Roman thermae, they feature multiroom experiences that traditionally start with the camegah, an entrance where guests sip a soothing beverage, before moving on to a heated dry iliklik that allows for acclimatization of temperature, and then a sicaklik, or humid room, where guests are scrubbed down on marble stones.
The ITC Grand Bharat, which opened in May in Gurgaon, India, features Persian-influenced hamam therapies that can be traced to the Mughal era, including a 70-minute ritual that uses steam and a rich soap with a massage followed by a body exfoliation (approximately $130).
Because many hamams are architecturally elaborate and require significant investment, some spas offer treatments inspired by hamams instead of the more traditional multiroom therapies.
A new Red Flower treatment at Eau Palm Beach Resort in Florida is a 90-minute purifying ritual that involves being wrapped in a cocoon made of the clay called rhassoul ($295). The Four Seasons Doha in Qatar has a Moroccan-inspired treatment with a mint foot scrub, an exfoliating body polish with date seeds, a pink clay body mask and a scalp massage (approximately $383).
Some spas have invested in humid chambers where guests can unwind. The Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas, has a coed steam chamber for up to eight guests to receive a ritualistic scrub down. Villa Stephanie, the Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa in Baden-Baden, Germany, includes a hamam surrounded by a private park.
The recently reopened Condado Vanderbilt Hotel in San Juan has Puerto Rico’s first hamam.
Beth McGroarty, a research director at the company Spafinder Wellness, said the trend has taken off at resorts and spas at an unexpected pace. “They have gone from novelty to almost ubiquity at the big, important new spas,” she said in an email.