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“Amazing experience worthy of time & money”
Review of Suleymaniye Hamami

Suleymaniye Hamami
Ranked #7 of 222 Spas & Wellness in Istanbul
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Suleymaniye Hamam is a traditional Turkish bath that continues to operate today. The building, commissioned by Sultan Suleyman and designed by the Turkish architect Mimar Sinan, was built in 1557. It features dramatic archways and domes and is decorated with elaborate marble inlay. It is the only hamam in Istanbul where men and women bathe together. 40 Euro per person.The entire hamam experience will last between 60-90 minutes.
Reviewed January 3, 2014

You get to experience a traditional Turkish bath while being with your sweetheart or entire famil (reservation required). The ambience is great, masseurs are skillful, and supporting staff is smiling and polite (providing swiming costumes to whomever has not brought their own). Everything is well organized, and you don't have to wait long (they offer tea while waiting). When entering the main room, you lie on a marble slab, getting all sweaty and hot (no steam), and you poor some water on you to wash the heat away. Going from heat to cold and vice-versa is a unique experience one can only understand after having it. Thankfully, the masseurs know the trick and douche you with cold water and hot soap foam after peeling and washing you. You should go there during the last day of your visit in Istanbul: massaging out all the aches of the walking-all-day-around-the-city-for-days surely is a healing experience.
For 35 EUR / person, initially it strikes you as somewhat expensive; however, it is well worth it. Go for it.

Thank DatenshiFA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 3, 2014

The experience was amazing. It's definitely in my top 5 world experiences. The waiting period in the sauna can be a little long, but it is very good for your skin and health and I must say absolutely manageable, especially if you douse yourself with water once in a while. Once you are in the massage room, you have to be ready for the cold water shower that comes a little unexpectedly, but the scrub down is wonderful. Note that we brought our own kese, bought at the spice market on our way to the baths. Mine was a soft one which told my hamam to be extra gentle with me, and he certainly was. Once scrubbed clean, you lie on a marble slab and are soaped up and massaged very professionally. The session ends with your choice of beverages in the adjoining room (extra cost, but very low) which nicely completes the experience.

1  Thank Anne D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2014

We made a reservation for a Sunday late afternoon full massage/bath treatment for our family of 4 (2 adult daughters/Mom/Dad). We chose the Suleymaniye Hamami primarily due to the "family experience" as it is one of the few that will allow men and women to be bathed at the same time. Arriving and looking at the building from the outside was certainly not impressive but inside was a different story. While not luxurious it was certainly a wonderfully, historical Hamami with a lovely wooden/marble interior.
From TA we thought we were to tip the attendants right away and we did but afterwards noted a "Tip Box" on the counter where I wish we had deposited our tip into as we were never sure if the tip we gave was ever shared. I would certainly recommend doing this vs handing it over to just one person.
The personnel were all pleasant though seemed a bit "disinterested". It was crowded at this time with all tourists (no locals noted during our 1 1/2 hour stay) but we had an appointment so we were shown to our changing rooms fairly quickly. You are given a key to your room and take it with you so we felt comfortable with all of our purchases/cash being left behind. You are given your own shorts/bikini top which were all freshly laundered and handed out to you as small/med/large and a pair of wooden shoes that make walking hazardous. I am sure more than one person has slipped/fell in these shoes!
Once you come out of the changing rooms you are escorted to a large central area where you can use the WC or enter the large sauna. This is a dry heat, no steam, where you are encouraged to sit/lie on a large slab of heated marble. The room was very crowded at this time so only a couple of people were able to lie on the marble and the rest of us had to just sit upright until someone left for their massage. The marble slab was pretty hot and most of us ended up using the small linen towel they provided to lie on as a barrier against the heat.
After about 25 minutes (thank goodness it was not the 40 minutes as advertised) we were called by our hotel name into the scrub/massage area. Our daughters entered one room while my husband and I entered another.
Once in the rooms we were told to sit on the ground and we were splashed with cold water by our personal attendant. We all brought our own kese (small wash cloths) that are used by the attendants during your scrub. This was our own personal choice as otherwise you will be scrubbed with the attendants mitt which has been used on the person before you. My attendant did not want to use mine as it was much smaller/thinner than his hand mitt but I insisted and he made a pantomime as though it were flimsy (which it was by the look of his!). It was all done in a humorous way and it was not a problem.
After dousing us with cold water (a shock to the system!) we were told to lie on a small slab of marble where he (all male attendants) proceeded to use the mitt to wash our entire bodies. It was quite nice and I, nor my daughters, felt they were in any way unprofessional. They use a technique of pooling a bunch of tiny bubbles all over your body during the bath which is a unique and lovely experience. You become so soapy that at times it feels as though you will slide right off of the marble bed!
Next comes the massage and here is where we all had very different experiences. My own experience was that the actual massage to the back was a "deep" massage which I enjoyed though it was uncomfortable at times. I have had many massages in different countries and find that I like these deep, almost painful, muscle massages and "endured" it very well. The twisting of the hip flexors, shoulders, etc did not cause me any difficulties, nor did the foot/calf massage. The only area that I did have problems with was what I could only assume was a deep, lymph massage to the right side of my neck, which was quite painful. I almost said something but he moved to the left side and that did not bother me. Having had chiropractic massage/adjustments, I remember that sometimes one side is more bothersome than the other and chalked it up to that. After the massage you are asked to return to a sitting position on the floor again and asked if you want your hair washed. I said, "no", which I regretted as you will get your head doused with cool water anyways! The rest of my family had their hair washed and their hair felt very silky smooth afterwards. Once you are rinsed you are returned to the sauna area where another attendant takes you into a room and dries you off, wraps you with a body, shoulder and head wrap and led into a room where you can order (for a fee~pay on your way out) beverages. We enjoyed fresh squeezed pomegranate juice and coffee. We enjoyed our beverages and talked about our experiences and were in no way rushed. We eventually returned to our changing room where there is a hairdryer set up if needed and changed into our street clothes and left after paying.
I said that we all had different experiences which is to be expected with 4 different people and 4 different attendants. My husband is more ticklish and has never enjoyed deep massage so he did have a few outbursts of short laughter and a few "ows!" ~ his attendant was attentive to his grunts and groans though and when told he had a "bum" shoulder he left it alone. My daughters had different experiences also. My eldest felt like he was a bit "rough" with her and complained about his abruptness in manner and that her calf muscles were "killing" her afterwards. She said she thought he could tell it was at times painful but felt he was not as attentive to her need for a more mild massage. My younger daughter did not have any complaints and enjoyed the experience though they both felt that it was really "weird" to have a man "bathe" them but were really happy to have had the experience!
After all was said and done, I will say that I was fine leaving the Hamam that day but by the next day......I could barely walk!! My back was sooooo sore that I was miserable!! I would never have guessed that I would be stiff 2 days later. I just laughed and took a pain reliever but it did surprise me! Also, I was incredibly tired the following day. Not just an ordinary tired but a "have to lie down" type of tired. Not sure if it was the lymphatic drainage or what but I was bone tired. My eldest daughter (who felt like it hurt a bit) struggled with sore muscles for the next 2 days also. My husband and youngest daughter felt no ill effects.
I will mention that during the massage to the neck which was the only painful thing to me also concerned my husband as he felt it was more like a carotid massage. I can see how he would think this and I would probably not have this done again as I am in my early 50's and who knows........I could be one of the "few" that had some type of cardiac arrhythmia in a small hamam in Istanbul!
I would certainly recommend the Suleymaniye Hamami for couples as a first experience. It is not overly expensive (35 euro) but feel like I would go to a more upscale Hamam next time. I think that this Hamam could be a "hit or miss" experience as it seemed to be churning out people on the day I was there. I would rather pay more for a more intimate/personalized experience the next time.

5  Thank serene4848
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2014 via mobile

The best hamam till now. They are very friendly and they have also an instruction in dutch! You have to read it because the staff couldn't speak english!!!

Thank Viviën T
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
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Reviewed December 31, 2013 via mobile

Visited this hammam yesterday w my sister - we weren't sure they would accept us, as their website states they only do couples. Having booked online, we paid upfront (35euro, cash only) on arrival, and were shown to the cushioned 'lobby' area with 10 other couples, and left to wait...for 50mins. We got taken in ahead of others because we had asked twice about wait time. They didn't tell us that they were behind schedule.. Hmm.

The building is stunning and beautiful, it was amazing to lie back on the big marble slab and take it all in. But the 23 other people in the room made for a cramped space!

When we were finally called by our hotel name for the scrub and massage, this part only took about 15-20mins (having spent 40-50mins in steam room). It was a very, very brief exfoliation; lots of soaping up and a firm, fleeting massage. NB: male attendants only.

Having had many hammams before, this definitely caters for tourists. They charge extra every thing (longer towel, 2nd towel, tea and water afterwards). Even though the local places can be daunting, you get a better and thorough scrub down, maybe b/c they separate you into male and female bath areas. Having said this, for couples who want to go together, it is one of the few places that allows this.

1  Thank jjessa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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