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“Authentic hammam experience, nice staff”
Review of Aziziye Hamam

Aziziye Hamam
Ranked #15 of 132 Spas & Wellness in Istanbul
Attraction details
Varna, Bulgaria
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Authentic hammam experience, nice staff”
Reviewed September 2, 2012

A friend and I (both female) decided to try Aziziye since we wanted something a little cheaper and not touristy. We were the only foreigners there on a Monday afternoon around 4pm; the place seemed to have a handful of happy Turkish customers, which we took as a sign that locals like it and go there regularly, but it was not at all crowded. The women's side is open until 6:30. We stayed until 6 and never felt rushed or unwelcome.
One staff member spoke a little English which was very helpful, but even the staff who only spoke Turkish made an effort to communicate with gestures. My friend and I are both practiced at non-verbal communication, and weren't expecting anyone to speak English considering this is not a place geared toward tourists, so we didn't find this difficult or an impediment to the experience. We got the scrub and massage, which along with the hammam entrance came to 40lira per person. We decided to tip an extra 7.50 at the end, but the staff never mentioned tipping once, not even at payment.
We enjoyed Aziziye very much, but we expected a hammam experience and not a luxury spa. Towels are provided, both for inside the hammam and afterwards for drying off. Everyone, including staff, was wearing only bikini bottoms. The scrub and massage are firm and utilitarian, the shampoo is not fancy (we brought our own scrub mitts and soap, which I recommend), and the women scrubbing and massaging us were thorough, not at all delicate. Anyone who is uncomfortable with nudity, being touched, or doesn't like exfoliation would probably not enjoy it. But we enjoyed it, and both felt cleaner than the day we were born when we were done.
Both before and after the scrub, we had plenty of time to relax in the steam, bathe ourselves and do whatever we wanted. After almost 90 minutes in the hammam, we both laid on clean towels in our dressing room drinking cold water for about 15 minutes. No one bothered us or rushed us at all.
At payment, we also asked for directions to a restaurant. The woman who spoke English wasn't sure of the location, but tried to help and even recommended another restaurant that she liked (although didn't pressure us to go to her choice instead).
This was a week ago, and my skin still looks amazing and feels softer than it did when I was 15. Based on my friend and my experience, I think this is a fantastic and authentic hammam, but not for someone expecting a western spa.

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
19 Thank H D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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55 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Arabic first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Hungarian first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
20 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Bad Hamam Experience, terrible service, rude staff.”
Reviewed November 1, 2011

Stayed in Kadikoy for few days and hotel staff recommended local hamam nearby. Didn't want to go to a touristy one, so decided to give this one a try. Upon arrival, which was about 3 hours until closing time, had some hard time figuring out how much it costs and how much time we have since not a single person spoke English. After agreeing on the price, which included massage, we entered the bath. Facilities were decent, and relatively clean. Massage staff once again did not speak any English beside constantly mentioning "good service" and "tip". Short time after massage was finished, staff were coming into the bath every few minutes to ask if we were finished. We were the only customers and it appeared that they wanted to go home early. After trying to talk to the management about closing time, which was not possible as no one understood anything in English, we decided to leave.

Visited September 2011
Helpful?
3 Thank Georgik1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Authentic But Not Enjoyable”
Reviewed September 7, 2011

I sought out this hamam because it seemed the least touristy of all the hamams listed. It is on the Asian side of the city, conveniently located just a few blocks from the ferry port. Despite its excellent English-language website, the attendants here speak no English. So, here's your guide:
Step 1: remove shoes and socks and place in cubby;
Step 2: put on sandals (provided) and go upstairs to a private small room with a bed;
Step 3: remove all your clothing and wrap a towel around your waist;
Step 4: lock your valuables in your little room and take the key with you;
Step 5: go back downstairs to let the attendant know if you want a massage or not. I said yes;
Step 6: hang out in the caldarium or tepidarium or sauna until you're summoned by a scary-looking man;
Step 7: get an exfoliating dry-rub with the equivalent of medium-grit sandpaper;
Step 8: move to the marble slab to get pawed by someone who seems to know nothing about human anatomy. Place the towel down, lie on it, and flip it up between your legs to cover your butt. You'll get a second dry towel for your head. You'll be yanked about and joints will be pushed into unnatural positions. While this happens, your masseur will pant, "good massaji, good service" before writing the number 20 (as in, tip me 20 Turkish lira) on the slab with his finger;
Step 9: back to the fountains for soapy time. This is a rub with the equivalent of heavy-grit sandpaper followed by a rinse;
Break time: here you get to take as much time as you like back in the caldarium, tepidarium, and sauna before heading back upstairs for
Step 10: towel dry by a different attendant who enjoys giving you as much pain as he can muster.
Then you can hang out on the too-short dirty bed in the small room and take a nap before dressing and going downstairs to pay -- and tip, of course, for all the great service.
Bottom line: with the invention of the bathroom, few Turks use the hamam, and you shouldn't either. Get a massage when you're in Thailand instead.

Helpful?
9 Thank IlanDC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palm Desert, California
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Great traditional hamam for solo woman traveler ...”
Reviewed August 10, 2011

If you are seeking a traditional Turkish hamam experience and avoiding the primary touristy ones near the Grand Bazaar, consider the pleasant ferry ride to the Asian side and look for Asisiye Hamam.

I'm a middle aged woman who does not wish to hang out in touristy places with minimal clothes so I found this hamam a nice respite. It is about 300 years old, separate areas with separate entrances for women and men. No one spoke English, and it didn't matter, there were no other non-locals there but me, and only two local women. They used demonstration to tell me what to do. It was lovely! I've been to the touristy ones before and definitely would recommend this over the others if that is what you are looking for. 15 Lira access plus 15 LIra for "the scrub" ... which is NOT a massage. I would do it again with no hesitation.

Visited August 2011
Helpful?
16 Thank phd4re
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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