If there were a jet-set handbook, clearly stated on page one would be the following commandment: thou must go to the spa. In the confines of a spa, you immediately feel physically and spiritually elevated – like you put your body and soul through a Brita filter and came out pure.
And feeling pure is about as jet-set as it gets.
The fashion set, too, must want to rid themselves of their sins (cigarettes, alcohol, sample size diets) because Hammam treatments are the go-to topic at parties and collection previews. A Hammam is a glorified (and glorious) steam bath, and I can picture all the PR magnates, bloggers and wannabes crammed into a steam room sans outfit armour contesting whose sweat is the most on brand. You could do the public bath a la plebeian – or you could go over to the Shangri-La Hotel and get a private steam at the Miraj Hammam Spa. You will find me at the latter.
Upon arrival, the Miraj Hammam Spa is totally exotic. My boyfriend, Alex and I went together as a couple’s retreat but in my mind I pictured him as the Crown Prince of Dubai and me, his Jasmine. The private suite we were escorted into was infused with eucalyptus, and two tiers of heated steam. I loved the hand-dyed sarongs we were invited to wear in the steam room, our sweat glistened against the Jerusalem gold marble as we sat their in peaceful silence, seemingly miles away from our iPhones.
So, the deal with the Hammam is that it lifts all the dead skin and toxins to the surface – now you can shower them off, I think, but I wouldn’t trust that. My dead skin cells are tenacious. The second part of the Hammam treatment at the Miraj Hammam Spa is the Gommage. In the steam chamber, we are escorted out of the intense tier into a normal steam area where I lay out naked on a cool marble slab. Our spa attendant uses black Moroccan soap to exfoliate every inch of my body.
“Did you have a tan?” she asks. Did? Well, there goes the St. Tropez. But not to worry, they sell the foaming mousse, too, in case you want to reapply in the change room.
Probing my body later in the lounge, eating grapes and baclava, I decide that being tanned isn’t as great as being soft. The Hammam & Gommage treatment is the closest you will ever get to feeling squeaky clean; Alex and I vow to do this seasonally. (Sidebar: Ladies, your partner won’t be able to keep their hands off you).
Completing my Hammam rite of passage was like traveling to a part of the world I hadn’t been to before. It was the ultimate jet-set experience; all in the comfort of one of the most luxurious hotels in Toronto. (Please note that the Kashwere robes you get to lounge in are Oprah’s (and Jetset Justine’s) favourite).