The sunshine, colour and commerce of Marrakech make it an exhilarating destination, but they can also make it a tiring one! Once you've been out in it for a couple of hours the sun may begin to feel relentless, and the crowds and dust of the medina are easy to become lost in. And of course it begins to feel as if everyone is trying to sell you something, because, well, everyone is trying to sell you something. But Marrakech has the perfect answer to the problem of Marrakech, a glorious tradition of pampering spa treatments - the hammam, or Turkish bath.
The hammams work on the principle that if you've come in off the desert you'll need a good steam followed by a darn good scrub. The basics are:
you lie on a slab in a dim and very humid room,
then are sloshed over with warm water infused with different oils and scents,
then you're soaped up with black soap, made from olive oil and vegetable soda, so it doesn't lather,
wait for 15 minutes...
then you're attacked - in a good way - with a loofah like kessa glove,
then you're coated in Ghassoul, which is a natural mineral clay found in the nearby Atlas Mountains, before being rinsed over.
Now that your skin is feeling all soft and you're all relaxed you might want to opt for a massage.
There are public, or local hammams, - and most locals go at least once a week - but there are also private hammams, which offer a range of experiences more like the spas back home. And many of our favourite hotels in Marrakech have a hammam for their guests. So it follows that when you're choosing where to stay here it pays to stay somewhere with one of the best hammams in Marrakech. It's definitely the key to stay refreshed and relaxed on your Marrakech adventures.
And even if you're not staying somewhere known for having the best hammam in Marrakech, many places welcome non-guests in for treatments as well.
Best Riad Hammams in Marrakech
Each hotel and riad will offer their own hammam experience, ranging from the basic, as described above, to versions involving soaking, showering and possibly even rose petals. And apart from the feeling of being all brand new afterwards, one of the nicest things about choosing a riad with one of the best hammams in Marrakech is that they're often very beautiful parts of the building.
Le Riad Monceau is a stunning, luxurious riad which boasts excellent examples of many of the things on your Marrakech accommodation wish list. The restaurant serves local food, and is considered one of the best in Marrakech - it also has an excellent cooking school, it's right near Djemma el Fna, but is very peaceful inside, there's an attractively green outdoor patio and one of the best traditional hammam spas in Marrakech!
Traditional, but with everything a European guest could want, Dar Les Cigognes has a boutique hotel feels to it, with individually decorated rooms spread between two riads. Very well located for the Saadian Tombs, Badi Palace and the Bahia Palace, Dar Les Cigongnes also has an award willing cooking school - and the excellent restaurant you would expect with it. And of course one of the best hammams in Marrakech is you're looking for a spa style experience.
Riad Zolah's six rooms offer a seamless and romantic mix of traditional Moroccan decoration and modern comfort. The two courtyards and roof top terrace offer enough privacy so that you'll feel like you're on your own, and the heated plunge pool, hammam and massage rooms provide everything you need to really unwind after frenetic days in the souks.
The Riad Kaiss has once a harem, so it's a great place to stay in you're looking for somewhere with a bit of history to it! It's been very elegantly converted, but many of the most beautiful original features have been kept, including some beautiful tiling and latticework. The central courtyard is a relaxing green haven, perfect for relaxing in post hammam. Or you can arrange to have a massage poolside.
You don't need to break the bank to experience one of the best hammams in Marrakech. Many of our favourite properties are accessible even to those on tight budgets.
Rooms at Riyad Edward start from just £50 a night. This riad is charmingly old fashioned. Bohemian is a good word for it. The rooms are simple but with plenty of interesting local features and treasures. And as well as the hammam, this riad also offers yoga classes if you need even more help unwinding.
Riyad el Cadi is another well priced riad with one of the best hammams in Marrakech. Here, as well as the hammam, and the option to have further spa style treatments in the comfort of your room, there's a glorious sun terrace, and plenty of fine antiques and ceramics to entertain your eyes while you relax. Stylish and simple, this place has the air of a calm oasis - starting form just £100 per night.
The following would be our pick of the best hammams in Marrakech which also happen to be located within some of the grandest riads in town!
If you want to holiday like a king or queen, opulent, gastronomic palace, Riad Kniza is for you. One of the owners is an antiques dealer, so the decor is faultlessly beautiful, and the pool and spa facilities are intricately tiled to gorgeous perfection. This is definitely one of the best hammams in Marrakech if you're looking for aesthetics.
Not all dars and riads are in the centre of town, and Dar Ayniwen is a fine, and spacious, example of the benefits of the ones which aren't. Set on five green acres in the Palmeraie area, this dar has room for a large outdoor pool and giant tiled bathrooms - some of the suites even have their own jacuzzi. So, as you can imagine from all these watery relaxation aids, there's room for one of the best hammams in Marrakech.
If you'd prefer to try a more traditional looking hammam, Riad Farnatchi has one in creamy white marble, lit by candles. And the welcoming pool has some beautifully detailed tiling. With only five suites in this luxury hotel, you can guarantee personalised service. And apparently the massages are 'knock out'.
Villa des Orangers is a charming mix of French and Moroccan decoration and detailing. The inner courtyards are col and welcoming, there are two pools - one on the roof terrace, and the hammam is luxurious. They've all the polish you'd expect from a top class hotel but housed within a traditional Moroccan home. This villa is geared up to pamper, so they have one of the best spa and hammam services in Marrakech.
Spa Break Marrakech
All the scrubbing a hammam entails definitely isn't for everyone - and certainly not for everyday! But the marriage of hot and dusty Marrakech and spa accommodation is still a very sound combination. So many of Marrakech's best modern resort style accommodation also offer excellent spa facilities.
Dar Zemora is a little out of town, but not as far out as it feels once you enter its lush gardens filled with lemon and olive trees and roses. It feels like a luxurious country house escape. There are two suites and three bedrooms in the main house, and then a suite by the heated pool and a two bedroom villa in the garden. The excellent spa is much more along the lines of what you'll find in country house hotels in Europe.
What could be more luxurious than a Moorish palace spa break in Marrakech? And, as well as being designed around the Moorish palace image, Ksar Char Bagh has the long, shimmering, palm tree lined pool and wonderful spa you'd expect of a palace - as well as one of the best hammams in Marrakech. The building looks ancient but it's new - so you have every modern convenience, as well as opulent older ones. When the weather is particularly hot you're welcome to dine with your feet in the pool's shallow end!
For the real thing when it comes to royal palaces, Mosaic Palais Aziza is owned by a Saudi prince, who lives opposite this romantic, secluded hotel. This is a place to relax - and despite the obvious luxury it's unfussy and peaceful. The pool is large enough, and has enough private pockets so that couples will feel like they're the only ones here. Mosaic Palais Aziza is ten minutes drive from the medina, but it's tranquil, lush and green, and with the luxurious pool, spa and hammam, and the choice of two restaurants on site, this is the perfect place to come to relax.
Still undecided? Take a look at all our favourite properties in Marrakech or the Palmeraie
Stunning, luxury riad-hotel, featuring a gastronomic Moroccan restaurant and Cookery School. Stunning bedrooms with private jacuzzis, attractive patio with swimming pool, traditional hammam spa, and one of Marrakech's best restaurants. For those who like the finer things in life.
7 rooms from $140
Restaurant - One of the best restaurants in Marrakech.
Understated elegance created through fusion of Moroccan and European styles in these two riads. Beautifully decorated rooms, fantastic views from the roof top terrace, and delicious food - an award winning haven in the heart of Marrakech.
10 rooms from $206
Exclusive offer - Free Night Offer
Cooking classes - Voted Best Cooking School in Morocco 2012
New boutique riad in a great location. Seemless mix of traditional Moroccan decoration and modern comforts. Two central courtyard patios, rooftop terrace, plunge pool and hammam. An intimate spot for romantics.
A delightful Bohemian and old fashioned riyad just outside the centre of the Medina. The tallest rooftop garden in the medina makes up for simple rooms that are wonderfully inexpensive. Fantastic views over the city and a beautiful swimming pool.
Smart French-owned hotel with authentic Moroccan decoration. Sophisticated rooms with rich Moroccan-style wooden furnishings, beautiful and luxurious hammam, and inner courtyards for relaxing. A destination for wellbeing and pampering.
A romantic, secluded hotel that’s ideal for couples who want to steer clear of the chaotic Medina. Luxurious, yet charming, this retreat offers a fusion of contemporary comforts and traditional Moroccan décor. The pool, spa & two on-site restaurants offer the perfect spot for ultimate relaxation.