Haseki Hürrem Sultan Hamamı
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Pampered Like an Empress of the East
The sun sets over Istanbul as I am coated head to toe with aromatic clay and served fresh fruit sprinkled with pistachios under the heavenly dome of a 457 year old hamam. Tenderly, my attendant washes me before lathering my body with olive oil soap and encasing me in a plume of ticklish bubbles. Like a mother to a child, she washes me again as the call to pray of the Blue Mosque and Aya Sophia echo outside. This is 'life' at the Aya Sophia Hurrem Sultan Hamami. The hamam is named after the famous 16th-century Ottoman icon Hurrem, or Roxolana as she is also known. Hurrem went from slave girl to favored concubine, to legal wife of the most popular Sultan Suleiman. She gave birth to princes and princess and greatly influenced the politics of the Ottoman Empire. The hamam was built by Ottoman architect, Mimar Sinan to honor her in 1556. It is nestled between the Blue Mosque and Aya Sophia. The hamam offers 5 star packages with 5 star services that leave you completely blissed out. I had the uber-relaxing 90 minute Ab-I Hayat Package consisting of wash, body mask, scrub, bubbles and 40 minute oil massage. Whilst other hamams are cheaper, you won’t be disappointed here. Private changing rooms and massage rooms, golden bath bowls, silk and cotton towels, tasty blackberry sherbet drink—the personalized service is truly special. With the motto, "Some rituals never die" the hamam’s luxuries will leave you feeling like Sultan Hurrem herself.
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