WINNIPEG SPAS - TEN SPA
The Hamam Turkish Bath at Ten Spa in Winnipeg is a Destination in Itself
by Bea Broda
Ten Spa gives Turkish Delight a whole new meaning. Located on the tenth floor of the historic Hotel Fort Garry in downtown Winnipeg, Ten Spa’s hamam experience is described as a modern re-interpretation of the Turkish Roman hot air bathing ritual.
Right from your first sip of Moroccan mint tea paired with deliciously soft Turkish Delight served as a precursor to the treatment, indulging in this hamam experience is guaranteed to transport you mentally to a romantic era in an exotic part of the world.
ONLY HAMAM WITH SEMI-PRIVATE TREATMENT ROOMS
Although it has become fashionable for a hamam treatment to be included on many North American spa menus, as far as we know Ten Spa is the only spa that offers semi-private treatment rooms within a hamam itself. Clients may partake of the complete and authentic experience as it was meant to be.
The rooms are elaborate and the detailing of both the architecture and the therapy is the result of much research in places such as Istanbul, London, Paris, Munich and New York.
Supplied with the requisite plush spa bathrobe and Italian sensi sippers, partakers of the hamam also receive a large, fringed cotton cloth called a pestemal which is worn - wet or dry - throughout the treatment.
Once inside the expansive, mosaic tiled and invitingly steamy hamam, replete with sensuous Middle Eastern music and a ceiling speckled with stars that hearken back to romantic Arabian nights, you first enjoy a warm shower and personal exfoliation with a choice of aromatic bath salts.
Water is everywhere! To drink, to shower, to have it poured over your body at intervals. It occurred to me that water is the missing component of many spa treatments, as it is used so liberally here.
After the exfoliation, you lie on a heated and raised marble slab and submit yourself to the skillful ministrations of your male or female therapist. As your body heats up, muscles, feet and scalp are massaged with a gommage (a rough glove) and traditional olive oil soap rinsed off with hot, warm and cold water poured from a traditional bowl known as a tas.
A couple of “rest periods” during the treatment give you time to relax, re-hydrate or shower yourself to a desired comfortable temperature, as you continue to benefit from the steam cleansing that is taking place throughout.
If you have booked the "fully loaded" hamam, you’re off to a private room in the hamam to lie on a stone bed (made comfortable by rubber and cloth sheets) for an invigorating scrub with rough cloth mitts called kese and then an olive oil soap (sabun) scrub-down, hair wash, and more light massaging and rinsing.
Following the treatment, you are led back to the initial room with the heated stone seats to slather your entire body with aloe vera gel and sip more mint tea. Finally, allow yourself to be escorted to the Quiet Room, where your therapist will bring you some ayran (a salty yogurt drink that helps your electrolytes return to normal). Here, you can rest amidst the cushions for half an hour or so.
It’s important to set aside lots of time to enjoy the full hamam treatment, as well as the relaxation time that follows as a great deal of body “detoxing” takes place and requires a downshift from life's usual speed.
The combination of visual aesthetics, skillful therapists and pristine conditions of Ten Spa make it a winner worthy of enjoying again and again.
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Bea Broda is a producer, writer and host of travel TV programs and video clips at Travel Video TV