5 of the best hamams in Istanbul Çırağan Palace, Istanbul

5 of the best hamams in Istanbul

Discover the ancient Ottoman sultans’ bathing ritual at these sumptuous Turkish baths in Istanbul

by

Turkey Editor

Istanbul is famous for being the city where Asian influence meets European culture. As a result, their traditions are unique only to Turkey and are seldom found elsewhere across the globe, no more so does this concept apply than to the ancient Turkish Baths (hamams) in the city. Once upon a time, there were 237 hamams in Istanbul, today 60 are still in use. Traditionally, Turkish baths followed a three-step process, a sauna and steam and then a full body wash - often finishing with a massage. 

Today in Istanbul the hamam process has been adapted and developed to include a variation of spa treatments incorporated into the hours you spend steaming and sauna-ing. We've tested the best luxury hamams in the city and bring you our pick of the best...And relax. 

Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı

klic-useKılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı

Built in the 16th century by Sinan the Architect as part of the mosque and school complex in Tophane, Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamam is a landmark building that was recently restored in a meticulous, 7-year long project. The hamam operates as women-only from 8am to 4pm and men only from 4pm to 11.30pm, so make sure you book a session before you walk in. Enjoy the soapy scrub at the experienced hands of the washers and have a cool quince sherbet at the wonderfully serene resting area before you leave. www.kilicalipasahamami.com

Related: A brief history of hamams in Istanbul

Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamamı

Ayasofya-Hurrem-Sultan--2Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamamı

Built by Sinan the Architect in 1556 in the name of Hürrem Sultan, who was the wife of Süleyman the Magnificent, the hamam is an exceptional piece of architecture with two domes and the sections for men and women on the same 75-metre long axis. The restored hamam offers traditional rituals as well as massage treatments in its historic and luxurious setting. Book a session and enjoy the surprising benefits of the centuries-old bathing rituals of the Ottomans. www.ayasofyahamami.com

Related: Where to do yoga in Istanbul

Four Seasons at the Bosphorus

four-seasons-use© Four Seasons on the Bosphorus

Looking for a more private hamam that is not too far off from the real thing? The 'Hamam Moments' rituals at the Four Seasons Spa will give you the chance to unwind and rejuvenate like the Ottoman royalty. Surrounded by heated marble, you will enjoy a scrub before relaxing and cleansing your body in a foam bath. If you need a little vitamin C boost, try the Natura Bissé Citrus treatment, which tones the skin and boosts collagen production with traditional delights preparing you for the outdoors. www.fourseasons.com/bosphorus

Related: Where to do yoga in Istanbul

The Istanbul EDITION Hammam

home-spa© Marriot Hotels

A part of the Istanbul EDITION Hotel, this 20,000 square foot luxury spa includes a sauna, steam room, and a traditional Hamam. Pick from 10 treatment rooms, where you can get a traditional Turkish massage, body wraps, and of course a true foam bath. Make sure to book ahead so you can enjoy the Turkish Indulgence, a two and a half hour olive soap scrub followed by a steam in the Hamam and a full body clay mask. www.marriott.com/hotels

Related: Istanbul for history lovers

Cemberlitas Hamami

735 36-cemberlitas-hamami-4-howtoistanbul-USE© How to Istanbul

Situated in between Constantine I's Vezirhan monument and the Köprülü Mahmud Pasa mosque, school and tombs, Cemberlitas Hamami is worth a visit even for its past. The Hamam was built in 1584 for Nurbanu Sultan and has since been restored, but you can feel the history when you walk through the arches. Open from 06:00 to 24:00, visit the Hamam whenever it is most convenient for you, no reservation necessary.  www.cemberlitashamami.com

 

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1 Çemberlitaş Hamamı
2 The Edition
3 Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı
4 Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamamı
5 Four Seasons at the Bosphorus