Holy Hammam!

talise ottoman spa dubai class=[trip style = spa + luxury]

{Editor's Note: On TS, we don't typically talk about micro experiences---ie, one treatment at the spa---but a recent Turkish hammam I had on the other side of the planet was too out-of-this world to keep to myself. If Dubai is on your immediate or one-day travel list, ladies AND gentlemen, I implore you to read on in the name of bliss!}

When I traveled to Dubai in December, my trip started at the spa. If you haven't tried this immediate relaxation method, I HIGHLY recommend beginning every trip this way.

The bliss session in question took place in the Middle East's largest Turkish Hammam spa---normally a deterrent but in this case a plus---at 9.30am Dec. 5th, 2012. It left me and the three other travel writers I was with in a state of shock and awe as we melted into a regal relaxation chamber, feasting on nuts and a salted yogurt bevvie {to replenish our electrolytes} in the bathhouse post-treatment.

turkish hammam talise ottoman spa

Under a gold and red hand-painted dome atop a heated slab of moss-green marble, we tried the spa's signature Turkish hammam treatment at Talise Ottoman Spa in a hotel I profiled last week: the luxe Jumeriah Zabeel Saray. Surrounded by columns and arches, I sprawled out beside a huge copper jug of warm water on a peach towel in the center of the room. There was no spa soundtrack on replay. Instead the sound of splashing water echoed in the dome above.

The treatment started with a full-court-press scrubbing, supplemented by cleansing splashes of water. This scrub-splash process went on for 30 minutes until I was raw like a just-peeled carrot {normal in hammam treatments}. After the head-to-toe exfoliation was complete---the pain part of the gain---the soaping started. Aside from the spa's physical details---the Ottoman architecture and rich materials culled from the world over---this part of the treatment will be stamped into my mind for eternity.

On top of the octogonal platform my eyes were closed in 'spa mode' until the olive oil-infused soaping started. The second I felt what I'll call the 'soap pillow' on top of my left leg, my eyes flashed open. I could not process the sensation. Enveloped in a gazillion tiny bubbles, I raised my head and looked back to visualize what was happening, unable to place the sensation with my other four senses. As my Turkish towel-clad attendant ran the bubble bundle from my feet to my shoulders it was like I was floating, weightless, on top of the clouds. At that moment, I might have seen an angel or two flutter by.

A massage and more splashing followed until we ended up beside a mineral pool to relax post-treatment. I did not go to Dubai searching for a Sex and the City moment in the Middle East, but just short of a fan and grape attendant, I found it here.

Given the size of the spa's size, nearly 2 acres, there's more than just the hammams to keep you occupied. Outfitted with everything {and more} you could ever ask for, there's snow rooms, adventure showers, hot stone beds, mineral pools, steam and sauna rooms, etc... In other words, you'll want to spend an ENTIRE day---or four---at the spa.

talise ottoman spa

*The cost for the Turkish Hammam treatment is approximately $90usd. *If you want a traditional hammam but don't want to travel 15 hours, visit the Cosmopolitan's Spa in Vegas---not the same level, but lovely. *As a guest of the hotel, you have access to the spa's facilities during your stay. Treatments are extra.

[photos by @tripstyler taken while as a guest of the spa]