Best Turkish Bath in Istanbul: Kilic Ali Pasha Hamami
Every single holiday has moments, which stay with you forever. In Istanbul, for me, it was definitely a visit to the Turkish Bath Kilic Ali Pasha Hamami, which has recently undergone a multi-million refurbishment and was brought back to its former glory.
I have experienced everything here: fantastic service, sleek design, welcoming environment and ultimate relaxation. I have enjoyed it so much, I would not hesitate going there each and every time I am back to Istanbul.
You need to book your visit in advance, so that they are ready for you and can provide relaxing environment. The minute you step in this oasis of calm, you never want to leave. Hamam is open for women in the morning 8am till 4pm, and then staff change from female to male and men can come and enjoy the bath as well from 4:30pm till 11.30pm. Children are also welcome.
I booked a session in the afternoon and immediately upon entering I was greeted by lovely Betul, who has checked my reservation and offered me a welcome drink, a refreshing sherbet.
She then explained how things work and provided the key to the dressing cabin and locker. When I came to my dressing cabin, there was already a package waiting for me with flip-flops, towel and a wrap, which you use to go to the bath.
Your washer will meet you in the first room and you can visit the bathroom if you wish. Then your washer will take you through to the main room with big marble stone and she will ask you to lie on it and get warm.
Nothing can prepare you for the sheer beauty , which you are about to experience when you lie on the marble. It is very simple, but nonetheless beautiful, you will be lying on your back and staring at the massive cupola with stars staring back at you.
Once you are warm and relaxed, the fun starts. The washer will prepare the bucket with water and loads of foam to use later, but the first part is scrubbing with a special mitt. She will scrub you so well, you would not believe how dirty you are. Excuse me, but I take the shower every day, yet I could not believe how much dirt there was! When the washer saw my puzzled expression, we laughed together. The dirt will be washed off and then the foam applied , using muslin cloth, which seem to generate more foam in the hands of the washer.
This is also combined with body massage and further cleansing, so you are left completely relaxed after this and ready for a lie down on the cushioned sofa. If like me, you don’t want to wash your hair, it is absolutely fine, they will give you a shower cap to protect your hair, but if you want your hair washed, then there are hair driers available to use when you go back to the dressing room.
I don’t know which part of the experience I enjoyed most: the washing or the relaxing afterwards. Once the washer is finished you are taken back to the main open area of the hamam, where there are cushions and low sofas, where you can linger as much as you want to. Water and Turkish tea is complimentary, but you can also order selected teas and cookies to keep you sustained. Majority of women who were there came with a friend, so they were all happily gossiping and chatting around, but it did not take away from the atmosphere, as there was enough space for everyone.
You can make the booking on Hamam website , so you know in advance what time to visit. You might say that £40.00 for a wash is a bit much, but believe me, once you are inside, the atmosphere and the service worth every penny. You would be able to experience what it was like to go in a hammam in the olden days and this is priceless. Also, as the number of visitors is limited and determined by bookings, you never feel rushed or pushed by other people, so again the price reflects the quality delivered.
If you want to take any items with you, they have a lovely shop. One is inside the hamam, where you can buy cosmetics, and the other shop, with accessories mostly, is just immediately beside the entrance to the hamam.
My visit to the Hamam was hosted by Kilic Ali Pasha Hamami, but all opinions are my own.