The Origins of the Traditional Moroccan Bath House
The Hammam, or public bath, is a centuries-old tradition across the Mediterranean and Middle East. Public bath houses can be traced to ancient Romans, who built thermae public baths across their empire including the Mediterranean, Europe and North Africa. The Byzantine capital of the Roman Empire was Constantinople (modern Istanbul) where the spread of Hammams across the Middle East really took off. Public baths have traditionally been an epicentre for social activity in areas where they were common, as well as important in promoting personal hygiene and public health.
Public Baths Structure
The layout of public baths varied greatly by region, as each place prided itself on the interior decorations and design of their Hammam. However, the general layout is fairly consistent, with a reception room that leads into a hot room, a tepid room, and a cold room. The change in temperature and order of rooms where bathers entered stimulated circulation and helped bring toxins and dirt to the surface of the skin.
The reception room was often the height of the social experience, and you would find regular bathers meeting there, drinking tea, changing into a special cloth and wooden slippers, and soaking their feet in floral water.
The hot room includes a marble hot stone centre, where bathers lie down and let bath attendants wash and scrub them. They would then move to the side of the room where grime and soap is rinsed off with flowing water. The tepid room is where patrons would have massages and other treatments, while the cool room is the last step — used to increase circulation, close the pores, and recover the skin from its intense treatment.
Socialisation and Hammams
In many Moroccan, Tunisian, and Turkish bath houses, women were able to meet and feel completely comfortable. Women and men had separate bath houses or were invited to bathe at different times, meaning strong communities of women and men often formed, with the Hammam as the central meeting point. Because they were accessible to all — rich or poor — Hammams were an important space for women of various classes to experience a common thread. While traditional Hammams were communal and fully nude, our modern spa allows you to enjoy the relaxation of a fully private bath house experience.
Hammam and Religious Rituals
A crucial piece of Islamic ritual includes cleansing and ablutions before prayer. Many Hammams were built next to mosques, specifically because they allowed people to clean and purify themselves before engaging in prayer. A Hammam was also an important part of ritualistic life for many women who bathed in a traditional bath house before and after giving birth or other major cyclic events.
Although the West has lost the tradition of a public bath house as a social institution, Hammams are still very popular in many parts of North Africa, Turkey, and the Middle East. Lella Hammam Spa still uses centuries-old traditions, including hot stones, warm and cool rooms, aromatic cleansers, and Moroccan oils. We guide you through the full Hammam experience, including all of the traditional steps which work in tandem to keep your whole body clean and vibrant.
Unlike traditional communal bath houses of the past, Lella Hammam provides an entirely private experience. You experience the steam room , Moroccan soap cleansing, herbal body scrub, foot scrub, facial, head massage, full Moroccan body exfoliation, Moroccan clay body and face mask, shampoo and condition treatment, and Moroccan oil rub treatment in a private room so you can be fully relaxed. Couples and friends who wish may go in together.
Experience our new purpose built premises in Bundall – the only Moroccan inspired Hammam on the Gold Coast. The Hammam, literally translated as ‘bathhouse’, is an invigorating, detoxifying experience enjoyed by Arabic, Tunisian and Moroccan women for centuries. Enjoy a private traditional Hammam treatment and leave feeling renewed.
Book your appointment at our Hammam in Bundall by calling 07 5679 5330 today.