Life Day Spa Cape Town has its own Turkish bath (hammam). This body cleansing ritual is part of everyday life all across the Middle East, but we hardly ever treat ourselves to this ancient practice. Having experienced hammams in both Morocco and Turkey, I jumped at the chance to give theirs a try. So armed with my swimsuit, I headed off to the African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel at Century City.
The rasul chamber at Life Day Spa is a luxurious take on a traditional bath. The room is painted black, with beautiful mosaic seating, and fibre optic ‘stars’ on the ceiling.
At first, I found the room quite intimidating, especially seeing that I would be in there alone. But thankfully one of the therapist walked me through what was going to happen: steam for about 25 minutes while you scrub and mud treat yourself, after which
the rain will start. The rain will end automatically, and that will signal the end of the ritual. Didn’t seem too complicated. But rain, really? I was also glad that I was able to take water in with me, as I wasn’t sure how dehydrated I would feel after half and hour
As the room slowly filled with steam (not too much that I couldn’t breathe or see) I gave myself a full body scrub with the scented salt body scrub I was supplied with in a ceramic bowl. The smell was gorgeous, and seemed to radiate into the darkness, filling the whole room with its gentle aroma.
Once I was suitably exfoliated, I showered-off the remaining salt under one of the two showers in the corners of the rasul chamber. Desalinated, I turned my attention to the second ceramic bowl. This was filled with a thin mineral mud. The mud is incredibly moisturizing and nourishing for the skin. The idea is that you remove dead skin cells from the surface by exfoliating,
and then apply the mud to treat the skin. All the while, the steam is helping to open your pores, making the whole process more effective. The steam alsohelps you release toxins through the pores.
The mud spread very easily, and didn’t smell like the bottom of a pond like most mud treatments do. Once I had covered my whole body in mud, I lay back on the heated mosaic bench, and gazed at the ‘stars’ above me, while the soft music lulled me into deep relaxation.
After a while, the steam machine stopped, and an incredible warm rain began to fall from the stars. I loved this, as I thought it would just feel like a shower. It didn’t. It really did feel like actual rain that gently washed away the mud.
As the mud dissolved, it revealed beautifully soft and supple skin underneath, and left me wanting to do the whole thing again.
The Rasul Chamaber can hold up to 4 people, although I would rather go as a couple. That way there is space for you both to lie down and stretch out.