Since the beginning of ancient Greek Civilization, bathing culture has been steeped in spiritual cleansing, as much so as it has been undivided from the health and beauty of the body itself. And, while it was the Romans who are credited with developing the bath house rituals that have evolved across time and geography to become today’s popular Hammam spas, in downtown Toronto’s Shangri-La Hotel, it’s the French who weigh in on the process of this traditional treatment.
At the hotel’s Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie Paris, Old World therapies are united with modern luxuries, such that could only be derived from the original vanguard of beauty: France. With Caudalie of Paris, boasting status as the leader in Vinotherapie spas around the world, the Miraj Hammam exceeds expectation from beginning to finish.
One finds their joie de vivre almost instantly invigorated upon entering the spa. Ornamental décor recalls the vibrancy of Morocco’s rich colour palette, while the ambience in the Arrival Lounge whispers of tranquility to come, a bubble of peace equal to only the luxurious serenity of the Alhambra Relaxation Lounge, where patrons are invited to rest and snack on Moroccan-inspired sweets, grapes and a tea accompaniment, post treatment.
Like most spa-goers, my desire to find repose amidst life’s daily stresses, led me to the spa, as much so as the need to rejuvenate my dull, winter-beaten skin did necessitate a visit. For those looking for a treatment worthy of soothing both the spiritual and physical, as I was, there is only one treatment you need book: the Hammam & Gommage.
Dressed like the Romans before them, spa technicians lead you into the steam room wrapped in ceremonious togas that stylishly read more Middle-Eastern bohemian than frat party. Then, somewhere between sweating out all of your worries in a high intensity low mist private steam chamber, and having your skincare woes scrubbed away with detoxifying eucalyptus infused black Moroccan soap, by way of a full body exfoliation upon a bed of Jerusalem gold marble bed, you reach a state of renewal that is sure to certify you a Hammam convert.
And, should your skincare needs extend up past your neck, or should sitting at a desk every day demand you show the tension in your back some attention (and perhaps a little beautifying while you’re at it), you can always indulge in even more “beauty rest” and add on a facial (I recommend the Caudalie Grand Facial for its cellular renewal i.e. radiant after effects), a 60-90 minute massage and/or a mineral rich Rhassoul Clay Body Masque.
While couples and groups are welcomed to book a joint Hammam experience, it’s worth booking a solo Hammam & Gommage treatment at least once. Alone, in the still of the steam room, you may feel yourself compelled, as I did, to sit in Lotus position, and allow the soothing scent of eucalyptus to clear your mind of all its cobwebs. Equipped with such artful powers to heal your spiritual and physical aliments, it’s no wonder history knows the Hammam as the “silent doctor.”
And so, with spring upon us, what better time to refresh and renew your mind, body and soul than now? Let’s just say, it’s what the doctor ordered.