We’ve tried: ‘Freshness of the Oasis’ treatment at the Rituels d’Orient Hammam Spa

I am a self-confessed spa aficionada and lover of all things luxury. Cleansing mud wraps, excruciating exfoliation, even fish eating my feet – you name it, I’ve tried them all. So I was intrigued to hear about the ‘hammam’ (which means ‘heat’ in Arabic) spa centre in the Les Corts barrio of Barcelona. Rituels d’Orient Spa Hammam is its full name, and from what Spanish friends and colleagues had told me, I was in for a treat.

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The first thing I couldn’t help but notice when I arrived at the Calle Loreto location was the glorious smell, which actually wafts out onto the street. A heady mix of exotic oils, oriental spices and aromatic herbal concoctions kind of knock you sideways on your way in, and diving straight in to the array of lotions and potions on display was hard to resist.

I was here on a mission, however – to try out the company’s ‘freshness of the oasis’ treatment, which they’re offering to clients this summer. (This treatment is one of several on offer, all with equally mouth-watering names. How about an ‘elixir of Marrakech’, the ‘dream of Ouzina’ or the ‘ritual of the Arabian nights’?) But I digress. The ‘freshness of the oasis’ treatment aims to revitalise tired legs, which sounded ideal for my sore, swollen summer ankles. You can opt to have the treatment on its own, which costs 53 euros, or combine it with a session in the hammam spa, which is what I went for.

Before I get in to the specifics of the treatment itself, I wanted to give you my overall impression of the place. Apart from the gorgeous smell, the other thing that struck me was the silence. All the staff, from the receptionist to the spa attendants to the beauty specialist, took care to keep up the atmosphere of calm and complete tranquility. The hush was helped by the fact that there was only other one other girl using the facilities when I was there, and since we were never in the same room at the same time, I had utter peace and quiet.

Rare haven in a busy city

A very smiley spa attendant showed me to the locker room, where I got changed into my bikini and donned the big white bathrobe and slippers provided before being led down to the hammam bathhouse. Karina’s done a great job of describing the inner sanctum, so I won’t linger too long on it, but suffice to say that I was suitably impressed. The first, ‘warm’ room is the largest, and is designed to give your body a chance to get used to the heat. Once you’re acclimatised, you can progress through to the hot room, which is set to 46° with almost 100% humidity.


The spa’s staff had told me that I should aim to spend around 50 minutes alternating between the two rooms, making use of the cold plunge pool whenever I felt the need. (If you’ve got visions of being rudely submerged in a vat of ice-cold water, don’t worry. This pool is much more appealing, with a series of graduated steps into the deepest part and a temperature that’s perfect for cooling you down when you need it). There are lots of lovely little touches in the décor, like latticed lanterns and eastern-style grilles, which complement the stone walls and large, marble-slabbed benches.

After about three quarters of an hour it was time for my oriental body scrub, which is carried out in a side room of the baths. Two marble tables have been included specifically for the purpose. (I suddenly had a vision of the altar Aslan is sacrificed on, but thankfully the experience wasn’t anywhere near as unpleasantJ) This is apparently a traditional hammam treatment. As you’re lying down on the table, you’re doused with small basins of warm water, before having your skin exfoliated with beldi black soap and a kessa glove. (You get to take this glove home with you – I’ve been using it in the bath ever since.) Afterwards, I felt ritually purified and somewhat serene as I was led upstairs for my chosen treatment.

Time to get up onto another table. This one’s much more comfy, though, and it’s a bit of a struggle not to fall asleep. The masseuse is lovely, extremely friendly, and explains that she’ll apply a red clay body mask and shea butter wrap to my lower legs and feet before wrapping them in what looks like cling film for around 25 minutes. I suspect that I actually did fall asleep, as I was starting to drool slightly as she came back into the room. Anyway…

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Then came what for me was the best part. I’ve been suffering from inexplicable swelling of my feet and ankles for months now, so having my extremities gently massaged was heaven. Essential peppermint and green tea oils are used at this point, and my feet and legs were left feeling lighter and visibly less swollen.

Treatment complete, I’m led out to the relaxation room, which is furnished with high couches, copious cushions and musky candles. Staying awake was becoming something of a challenge. I noticed that by this time a couple of other people had joined me, and they had absolutely no qualms about indulging in an afternoon nap after taking the complementary mint tea and honey pastry. And to be honest, I didn’t blame them.

Rituels d’Orient Hammam Spa – what you need to know
Where is it? It’s on Calle Loreto 50, Barcelona. You can see the company’s contact information and full list of prices at http://www.rituelsdorient.com/
How long does it all take? It really varies depending on whether you’re combining a hammam session with a treatment. I was there for around two and a half hours in total.
Do I have to book in advance? Yes, it’s a good idea to book in advance so you’re not disappointed.
What should I take along with me? You’ll be given a locker to leave all your things as well as a bottle of water, so all you really need is your swimsuit.
Can men go too? Yes, both men and women are allowed in the bathhouse at the same time, although there are specific times set aside for women only.
To obtain the 10% discount with Oh-Barcelona please present the coupon from Oh-Barcelona.com that you will be given when you book your accommodation. {Terms & Conditions}


If you’ve had the treatment too, feel free to comment below and let us know what you thought.


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