Monday, 1 April 2013

Bathed, Scrubbed and Rubbed at Hammam Spa, Publika

Bought a Princess Hammam treatment (hammam, gommage and 45-minute massage) at a discount last December as they were celebrating the opening of the new Hammam Spa in Publika. It was my own fault that I ended up 15 minutes late for my appointment (lead-footed it from PJ), but luckily they were able to accommodate me.

I was led to one of the locker/changing rooms to change into disposable underwear (panties and tube top), robe and rubber footwear. Lock is pretty much like hotel room safe: set your own 4 digit code and unlock with the same code. No keys. The place is really pretty and Moorish on the inside. Perhaps I should've taken pictures of the common area, but oh well.

Once I got changed, I was led (by hand) by one of robe-clad Moroccan ladies (who's got really good waterproof makeup on, in a one-piece bathing suit with a paper "skirt" to cover), Nadia to the hammam area. Robes were left outside and was led into a pleasantly warm inner room (with three marble slab tables) just in the disposable underwear and footwear while she was in her bathing suit. When I got there, there was another lady there and yes, you see boobs and bits. Got splashed down with hot (not scalding) water and laid on the marble slab to for her to apply the black soap and left to stew (my word, not theirs) for 10 minutes. (Yes, there will be some disrobement to make sure the water and soap get everywhere). Instead of staying quiet and relaxing, I ended up chatting to the fellow topless lady on the next slab. Found out that we're both first-timers and she was trying out the My Favourite Concubine treatment (same thing, but with the added Moorish Body Polish step). The room is also (thankfully) not very stuffy. Being on a smooth marble slab covered in soap, I was afraid I'd slide off if I moved too much :P

After the stewing, it was time for the scrub down: using the huge scrub mitt, she scrubbed the living daylights out of me (not sure if she was going full strength, but I said I was fine when she asked if it hurt). She even removed the bottoms and I was in full birthday suit for a bit. The lady next to me was also getting scrubbed and I didn't peek (although I can't say the same for her). I was fine until she got to the soles of my feet and I got the tickles. She then rinsed me off and even did the works on the hair. I appreciated the mint oil that was applied on me at one point. For the paranoid/neurotic: she took a pair of scissors and cut the used scrub mitt in two to show that it's a one-use glove.

Once I'm dried off and in a towel and robe, I was led to a dim room to "recuperate" with a piece of baklava, mint tea and water while I waited for the masseuse to get me for the second half. I was led to the massage room and they thoughtfully put a bowl of water with orchids floating under the table so that you would have something to look at besides the floor. Got out of the stretched and soggy paper undies and into a new pair, which was a nice touch.

The 45 minute massage was not bad (and I'm pretty ticklish when it comes to massage) - I told the masseuse that I needed my shoulders worked on more and she took the pressure down enough to where I was pretty relaxed. When a massage feels longer than it was, it's always a good thing, no? I was covered in a white sheet, which reminded me of autopsy scenes on cop shows... if the corpses were laid face down. The thought cracked me up.

After the massage, I was robed again and wound down with another piece of baklava and mint tea. At least this time I took time to flip through the month's issue of Time Out KL before I finally changed and left. Schedule was packed for the afternoon, but I didn't see too many other people around.
  • If you're going with friends/family/anyone you know of the same sex, you'd better (literally) be bosom buddies because you'll see each other's bits and bobs.
  • I know men are allowed (as they have the Prince Hammam and couples treatments), but I'm not sure if they get attended to by men in the hammam room or if they can go by themselves.
  • My only niggle was that I got lost looking for the locker I used and to leave the spa area to get back to the reception area - it all looks the same after awhile.
  • My only tip would be to bring a fresh change of clothes if you can if you don't want to go back to wearing soiled, sweaty clothing. 
Level 4G, Publika Shopping Gallery (if you see Swich cafe, it's the next floor up)