Spa Retreat: The Royal Hammam Ritual at Spa Zen, Nassima Royal Hotel

I was having a serious case of mid-week burnout last Tuesday, and really needed a dose of self-pampering. Sometimes retail therapy really doesn’t cut it, and nothing beats the quiet, aromatic serenity of a beautiful spa.

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Spa Zen at Nassima Royal Hotel has built quite a repute for its long list of holistic treatments, and their newest addition is The Royal Hammam Ritual.

What is a ‘Hammam’ Treatment?

Dating back to the Roman empire, public baths were a much-loved social meeting place. The custom spread to the Northern African regions where groups of ladies would flock together for a thorough scrub and revitalizing bath, and make a social event out of it.

The idea of a traditional ‘Hammam’ is to give the body a very thorough scrub and cleanse, very similar to what your mother might have given you as a child. No areas are spared, and you feel tickled pink with all that well-meaning scrub-down and come out looking like a coy, blushing toddler who promises to hold on to the urge of going back out to the mud puddles just a little bit longer.

“The hammam, also known as the Turkish hammam or Turkish bath, is the Middle Eastern variant of a steam bath, which can be categorized as a wet relative of the sauna.” –

About The Royal Hammam Ritual at Spa Zen

If you are looking to relax and unwind, this treatment is definitely not for you! Spa Zen’s brand new Hammam treatment is a grueling 90 minutes of intense steaming and scrubbing, but really does wonders to tired, lack-luster skin.

The Royal Hammam Ritual promises to Cleanse, Revitalize and Calm the Senses.

I like to think of it as a thorough workout for the skin. Every pore of the body is made to swelter in the intense 45 degrees heat of a steamy sauna room, and every inch is scrubbed down, massaged, and moisturized with the finest of skincare products.

The Royal Hammam Ritual uses a Moroccan skincare range called Natus. All their products are made of 100% natural ingredients and infused with precious Argan Oil.


Tezzy’s Experience with The Royal Hammam Ritual

I stepped in Spa Zen, and my tired nerves were instantly calmed down with the therapeutic aroma of the place. The reception area boasts of a stylish, contemporary decor with nods to influences from the Far East.

The lady at the reception was very courteous, and asked me to take a seat. I was offered a cup of chilled lemon and honey, along with a wet towel to cleanse and refresh.

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A brief chat with the Spa Manager, and I was given a quick insight into the Royal Hammam Treatment. She warned me this was not a relaxing session, and also let me know that I could ask for assistance at any point in time from my dedicated therapist.

This is when I met the very lovely Ni Made. A citizen of Bali, Indonesia, Ni Made has many years of therapeutic experience behind her. She led me to the very beautiful changing room, and showed me to my locker where I was offered a pair of plastic slippers, a wrap-around  sarong, and disposable underwear.

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The lockers here are very secure, and you just need to plug in a 4 digit code of your own to keep your valuables safe while you head to your treatment room.

My treatment room looks very exotic. The entire room is paved in tiny aquamarine tiles of different hues, and in one corner is a very traditional-looking Moroccan-style tap that resembles the pipework of a rustic well.

With the door closed behind us, I was asked to remove my sarong and stood there, bare except for that thin strip of dignity… that disposable underwear that is more like a laughable strip of black.

But Ni Made doesn’t seem to wince at all. She is so used to this! She expertly uses a brass vessel to pour water all over me, and massages on the Natus Black Baladi Soap.

The soap is more like a thick, sticky gel and has the aromatic scent of eucalyptus. I am asked to move on to the slab and lie down so that she can access my back. It all seems lovely till this part…

Then Ni Made leaves the room. She turns the sauna on to a grueling 45 degrees, and the room steams up in no time. She did ask me how long I thought I could tolerate the heat. Ni Made recommends 10 minutes, but she says 15 is even better. Braving it out, I did the whole 15!

I kept my eyes closed, and inhaled the eucalyptus scent. I kept telling myself my body needs this. I also had a bottle of water next to me, from which I took quite a few greedy sips.

When Ni Made was back, she came in this time with a Kessa (the traditional Hammam loofah gloves). She gave me one of the most thoroughest scrubs I’ve ever had in my adult life! From neck down to the toes, every nook was Kessa-ed out.

With all this scrubbing, Ni Made removed a whole heap of dead skin. She congratulated me on surviving the 15 minute steam, and said the longer you can tolerate it, the easier it is to remove more dead skin. I was elated!

Off the slab, I was standing bare once again, while Ni Made poured warm water all over me to remove all that soap and grit.

The next step involves an all-over body mask. Ni Made applied the Natus Moroccan Lava Clay Paste all over my body. I was then laid on the slab, and a thick towel was placed on top of me. I panicked for a second… a think towel plus sauna was going to be tough!

While the body clay mask worked its magic, Ni Made gave my face a mini facial. She then left me in the room for another 10 minutes. I finished yet another bottle of water!

After this treatment, I was allowed to have a shower…. and boy did the ice-cold shower feel like heaven! I felt absolutely rejuvenated, like I’ve been working out for ages (when I’ve actually just laid there, being pampered like a spoilt child).

As I patted my skin dry, even in the misty, dim lighting I could see a glowing difference. My skin felt so baby soft and smooth! But this was not the end of it…

The final step of the treatment is a complete body massage with the very aromatic, hydrating Natus Argan & Shea Butter Body Cream. The cream is luxuriously thick and creamy, and has the scent of orange blossom. I loved it so much, that I even bought a pot of this post treatment.

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I was then treated to a chilled glass of freshly squeezed orange juice to refresh and revive the senses, and I lounged in the resting area post-treatment nibbling on dried figs.

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Spa Zen has stunning interiors, and I love the dimly lit, peaceful vibes of the place. It is a sanctuary from everyday life, a treat we all deserve now and then.


The Verdict

I walked out of the spa, sans makeup and was still on an orange-blossom high. That body cream smells insanely beautiful! Driving home, I couldn’t help but admire how soft and supple my skin was feeling. Even my husband noticed my newfound glow.

All that steaming and scrubbing really is worth the while, and add to it the exceptionally beautiful, natural skincare range that Spa Zen uses. The Royal Hammam Ritual is sure to keep the skin youthfully soft, supple and stunning, and despite the hefty price tag of AED 495, I feel this 2 hour long session is definitely worth a monthly investment.

Tezzy’s Definition of a ‘Hammam’ Treatment: An intense session of some exceptionally serious all-over body scrubbing, and high-intensity steaming that will make your childhood bath-times look like a walk in the park. Mum will be proud! And you come out of the treatment as a brand new you… all that dead skin scrubbed off to reveal a fresh new layer of soft, supple and glowing new skin.


The Royal Hammam Ritual – Pricing & Bookings

The 2 hour long Royal Hammam Ritual at Spa Zen costs AED 495 per session.

You can also opt for a shorter 1 hour hammam at AED 395 that includes a full body scrub, cleanse and hair treatment.

If you are only interested in a quick scrub and cleanse, you can also opt for their AED 295 package.

Spa Zen is located on the 7th floor of Nassima Royal Hotel. For bookings and more information, give them a call on 04 308 0000.