Experience the essence of a Turkish Hammam in one of London's most delightful spas
Warm up with a Middle East-inspired hammam treatment at the Ned's Club Spa
Before visiting the Ned's Spa Club, I'd experienced two hammams – each of which was totally different. The first was in a mixed spa in Jordan where, fresh from the steam room, butch Arab men in white towels threw buckets of cold water over us and scrubbed our skin to within an inch of our lives. The second took place in a private space in Dubai where, after a long, leisurely prep, a female therapist gently massaged oil with gold flakes into my skin.
Despite being contrasting experiences, my skin was left looking radiant after each, so when I heard the Ned's Spa Club had a hammam I was intrigued to see how the British spa would interpret the treatment. For those who are hammam virgins, it's an experience worth trying at least once. A traditional cleansing ritual with roots in Turkey and Morocco, the treatment dates back to the Ottoman Empire. Originally a public bathing ritual in the Middle East, in the Western world it's more commonly received as a private, or semi-private, spa treatment.
It features a number of stages, starting with a steam, during which toxins flood to the surface of the skin. Clients, who are requested to wear swimsuits, are then laid on a hot marble stone where their whole body is washed with cold water, including the hair - the hot and cold contrast prepares skin for the consequent stage. Next comes a full body scrub, followed by a second, warmer wash before, finally, a relaxing massage with essential oils.
My encounter at Ned's Spa Club was not dissimilar to my second hammam - sadly minus the gold flakes. My friendly therapist talked me through every step of the process, which was thorough - the scrub was, in fact, one of the best I've had in London to date, which my skin thanked me for. The hammam room itself was a beautiful space with several marble counters circling a stone fountain. I was the only guest during my visit but I'm told it's a popular booking for groups of friends, too.
Afterwards, I spent time relaxing by the Ned's Spa Club's stunning adults-only 20m pool and trying out the sauna and steam rooms. As I reclined waterside, comparing my three hammams, I realised that rather than examining just the treatment I needed to look at the experience as a whole - and it's here that the Ned jumps to the top of my list. There's something to be said about a spa in a private member's club. Beyond the elegant aesthetics, cosy relaxation spaces and stunning marble-clad hamman, the spa's service and atmosphere made me conclude - I think I'll stay in London for my next hammam.