LONDON, England (CNN) -- What is it: A hammam style massage for men that is supposed to provide all the relaxation and invigorating effects of a traditional Turkish massage, but without the mild homoeroticism or feeling that you've been abused at the end of it all. The luxurious One Aldwych Hotel's Health Club couldn't be further away from a traditional hammam, located in the lower ground floor of the hotel with a 16-meter pool, sauna and treatment rooms, fitted out in understated style.
The swimming pool at One Aldwych.
It's quite a lengthy process of saunas, scrubs and massages, but because of that I felt more refreshed and completely relaxed than after just a regular body massage. The "ritual" starts with ten minutes in the steam room, after which I was fished out by Rachel the masseur and led back to the treatment room. The next stage was being slathered with a mixture of eucalyptus and black olive soap before another stint in the steam room. The added eucalyptus of the goo almost made my eyes sting, but also helped clear my sinuses.
After being rescued from the steam after another ten minutes, I was scrubbed down with an abrasive, but not too abrasive (this is supposed to be a pleasurable experience) glove, before being coated in clay and wrapped up in cling film. A fantastic massage of my feet and head - the only bits of me sticking out of my cocoon -- meant I forgot about the cold, sliminess of the clay and I easily drifted off to sleep, snug in my plastic wrapping. It was almost disappointing that I had to wake up, shower and then return for a final massage.
The worst bit: Not being able to don my toweling robe and take residence in one of the hotel rooms for the rest of the night.
Verdict: It did take a long time, the best part of two hours, but the mix of sauna and steam room, meant I didn't get bored as I may have done just lying on a massage table for that length of time. I left feeling great and looking all glowy, a different effect from the hammam experience I once had in Aleppo, Syria, where it felt like I was used as a mop on the tiled floor and then scrubbed down with a horse-hair brush.
How long does it take: 115 minutes
Contact details: The Health Club, One Aldwych Hotel, London, WC2B 4RH (+44 (0)20 7300 0600 www.onealdwych.com) E-mail to a friend
|Most Viewed||Most Emailed|