It’s a new year, so time to experience something new. Situated on the corner of West 6th and Granville Street in Vancouver is the unassuming Miraj Hammam Spa. Residing in this location for 15 years, I have gone past it numerous times on the drive to UBC, but of course never thought to go in. Thinking back, as a student the stress level is so high that a spa day would have been the best medicine! I was first invited to experience the hammam and gommage and loved it so much that I went back the next week for a January special called the “Fresh Start Seaweed Detox” which included the hammam and gommage plus a full body seaweed clay mask and massage.
The question I received many times over was what the hell is a “hammam” let alone a “gommage”? A hammam is a Turkish bath that is like a sauna with the main distinguishing feature being running water to generate steam. The gommage is my favourite part. It is a full body exfoliation using authentic black Moroccan soap that leaves your skin feeling AMAZING. Also, by “full body” I mean everything so don’t be shy about being nude! It’s just you and your esthetician the whole time and the girls at Miraj were all very professional.
The reception area had lots of natural light coming through and a fountain in the seating area. While waiting, I was instructed by the receptionist to remove my shoes and find a pair of sandals in my size. It is at this point where I needed to ditch my phone so all pictures henceforth are provided by PR. I also figured that steam and electronics did not mesh well.
After removing all clothing and jewellery in the change room, I was provided with a brightly coloured sarong and led to the hammam shown above. The first thing I noticed was that the steam was scented with what smelled like eucalyptus and lemon. If you need your head cleared, just inhale. I sat myself behind the glass door and shut it for some major detox. There were also lit candles inside making the experience even more soothing. The steam portion of the service was 15 minutes and if you feel like you can’t take it anymore, there is a button to stop the steam. I was also provided water in a metal cup because you WILL need it believe me!
You will have no sense of time in the hammam so when it was time for my gommage, one of the estheticians came to get me and instructed me to lay out my sarong on the Jerusalem gold marble and climb onto my stomach. She then rinsed me off and covered my entire body with soap. Next, using exfoliating gloves I had the most intense full body exfoliation ever! Legs, heels, bum, elbows. Not an area was missed and although you can specify whether you’d like a more gentle exfoliation, I went for hardcore. I was instructed to flip over and the same process was done. Yes, even the girls got some love ;-)
After rinsing one more time, the 100% Canadian seaweed and clay mask was applied. I was warned that it definitely smelled like sea-like, but it really wasn’t that bad. It smelled just like seaweed which I love as a snack anyway. The seaweed body mask was left on for about 10 minutes, but it never hardened because the steam was left running. I was expecting to feel entombed in clay, but the steam kept the mask moist.
Finally the mask was rinsed off and I was given a 15 minute full body massage in a different treatment room. I definitely could have gone for 45 minutes! It was divine!
To end my experience, I was led the Sultana Lounge (shown above) and given a blanket, magazines and sweet hot tea and a cookie. The tea and cookie are what you will be craving at the end. It was so perfect. My skin felt refreshed and glowy. One thing I should mention is that it’s not like I saw other clients everywhere. I maybe saw two and they were all at different stages of their service so we never crossed paths all that much. You never share the hammam space with anyone else unless you book as a couple. Granted, it was a Tuesday afternoon, but it was really nice to have the space to myself.
The fact that it was so good the first time that I had to go back the next week says something. I had a Wayspa gift certificate that I was going to use elsewhere, but after my initial experience I knew I had to have more! Pricing starts at $115 for the hammam, gommage and 15 minute massage so it is on the upper end of spa pricing. I wouldn’t go every month, but definitely a few times a year as a treat. The experience and atmosphere are really where I was most impressed because you will not find anything like this anywhere else in Canada. Well, unless you go to Toronto where the Toronto Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie just opened! This was a WONDERFUL experience unlike any other and I highly recommend a visit!
Miraj Hammam Spa has been nominated #34 best spa in North America, #12 in Canada, and #1 in Vancouver!
Complimentary service provided.