Public Baths, Marrakesh
The hammam is an ancient and integral part of the Moroccan life. Every single neighborhood in the city has got a hammam, a Mosque and a oven to cook the bread. With all these three elements they are auto sufficient. The water is considered sacred, and cleanliness, are essential elements of Islam. In a part of the world where family and community are everything, the hammam is deeply rooted in everyday communal life.
There are hammams in the Riads and hotels, all of them for clean and confortable for the tourist. To be honest, we did the hammam in our Riad as well because of this. In addition the "real" ones are strictly separated by sex and my wife and me wanted to be together. But if you're searching for the authentic experience you can try the public hammams placed throughout the medina. Some are basic – a couple of small tiled rooms, announced by a faded ‘Sunsilk’ sign – and others are hundreds of years old and full of character, with great domed rooms heated by wood fires under the buildings and multi-coloured beams of sunlight filtering through stained glass into the steamy darkness within.
Entry to a local hammam is around 10dh. After leaving your things in the changing room you take toiletries into the first ‘warm’ room. This is where you acclimatize to the heat and can collect buckets to fill with water – one cold and one hot. Once accustomed to the heat, move into the second ‘hot’ room to let your pores open and breathe. Move back to the warm room for your cleanse. This is where you coat yourself in oily black "savon noir" (traditional, 100 percent natural soap made from olive oil) and then use your hammam glove to scrape it off. You also can have a massage and a "gommage" (scrub) done for you by an attendant for a few extra dirhams. At the end of it all, you’ll look like and feel as good as a shiny newborn baby.
Hamman Ziani is just down the road from Palais Bahia. It is a traditional style Hamman catering for tourists. 80Dh for Hammam, Steam, Gommage and Soaping - compared to 150 Dh at our hotel spa.
I took a 280 Dh package including massage and algie wrap - excellent value and eveything was first class. It seemed to cure my aches and pains and a week later they still haven't returned. This impecably clean Hamman has different sections for Mena and Women and is open from 8.00 - 22.00. I strongly recommend it. 14 Rue Riad Zitoune jdid
In Marrakech I saw many public baths. Most of them are mixt, what means that some days in the week women use them and the rest of the days men do. From outside - I didn't get in - it didn't seams to be very atractive for me, but who knows if inside was a wonderful place (remember that a very old and poor wall can hide a incredible rich palace. I asked my guide if people use to go to the public baths much, and he told me that as the houses don't use to have bath they do.