Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam
Today, the 16th century Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam offers one of the most luxurious traditional hamam experiences in Istanbul. All white marble and gold leaf, domes reaching to the sky outside and decadent serenity inside. Understandably, after a few hundred years, the hamam needed a spruce and the resulting restoration, which took three years, millions of dollars, and hundreds of square metres of marble, is nothing short of stunning. And, thanks to it being overseen by heritage authorities, it was utterly respectful of the grand domed building’s history.
Numerous bath packages are available, encompassing everything from traditional body scrubs and aromatherapy massages, to moisturizing body clay masks and relaxing bubble wash rituals. The soaps are 100% olive oil. And the sherberts and teas, served during treatments, are homemade. No detail here has been too small to overlook. No little luxury omitted. Even the toiletries they provide are scented with the aroma of the vibrantly-coloured Judas trees, the ones that burst into bloom along the shores of the Bosphorus in the spring.
Equally, if you’d rather just step through its splendid doors (with separate entrances for men and women, just in case you were wondering) for a standalone massage, rather than the whole experience, you can. And there are plenty to choose from, including ones tailored to alleviate stress, improve circulation and help you relax.
There’s even a restaurant and cafe, so during the warmer months you can step outside onto the terrace and luxuriate in the sunshine after your treatment. Top tip? If you want to be sure of enjoying time at the Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam, make sure to book ahead.