Short guide to North African spas

North Africa has a very long tradition of spas. The ruins of the Roman settlements that one can visit today all over the North African coast account for the great role played by public baths and spas in the everyday lives of Roman citizens. With the arrival of the Arabs, spas have received a whole new dimension. Hammams (which Europeans know as ‘Turkish baths’) are widely popular in Maghreb and can offer an unforgettable experience for the curious traveler willing to try them. I will try to start my short guide to North African spas with a brief description of the different types of spas you can encounter in the region.

Roman Spas

by clurr

As you’ve seen above, Romans were quite keen on public baths, which played a very important role in their social life. Hadrian’s Baths in Libya are a brilliant example of such elaborate bathhouses. Archeologists were able to identify numerous facilities belonging to the spa complex, which included warm and cold pools, saunas, changing rooms, latrines, massage room and even a library.

Hammams

by davehighbury

In their common acceptance as public baths, hammams are usually hosted in specially designed buildings, many of which are true masterpieces of Islamic architecture, containing sophisticated mosaics and innovative illuminating techniques. In the traditional hammam, men and women go in separate sections, where they can each enjoy spa practices as sauna sessions, body scrubs and full body massage. One of the most famous hammams on the North African coast is Les Bains of Marrakech in Morocco.

Modern Spas in North Africa

by Dennis Wong

If you want to enjoy a complete spa experience, you can as well try a spa resort or some of the luxury hotels that are famous for their spas. Most of these spas combine the traditional body scrubs and aromatic oil massage with other rejuvenating recipes and offer a very intimate and personalized experience. Many of the luxury Egyptian hotels provide complete spa services, such as La Rose Spa (Cairo), Hyatt Regency Taba Heights (Taba) or Hyatt Regency Resort at Shram El Sheik. In Morocco, you can choose between internationally owned as well as traditional spas; the Octogone Earth Terre Resort and Hivernage in Marrakesh and Mazagan Beach resort are some of the best known spa hotels. As for Tunis, here you can combine a beach holiday ashore the Mediterranean with the miraculous benefits of a spa treatment in places like Thalassa Sousse (Sousse), Residence (Tunis) or Hotel Royal Kenz (Port El Kantaoui).

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