(Published in The Cayman Book magazine, Nov. 2018 – Nov. 2019)
Cayman’s only traditional-style hammam offers a relaxing treatment quite unlike any other.
Transport yourself to the Middle East and immerse yourself in the splendour of an authentic Turkish bath. At the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa you’ll find Cayman’s only traditional-style hammam, offering a restorative and relaxing treatment quite unlike any other.
A hammam is the Middle Eastern variant of a public steam bath and involves numerous steps aimed at cleansing and exfoliating the skin to leave it silky soft. Think of it as a thorough deep-clean for your entire body.
An ancient treatment, hammams can be found throughout the Middle East. They originated in Morocco where they are still very much a part of traditional life.
Traditionally, hammams feature a large hot and humid chamber where people gather to socialise, gossip, relax and, most importantly, be cleansed. Hammam attendants, known as tellaks, douse guests with hot water and apply a traditional black soap to cleanse and invigorate the skin.
At the Spa at Seafire the hammam is a steamy turquoise-tiled enclave inspired by Cayman’s aquamarine sea. Here, you’ll be cleansed to perfection by your therapist, all the while cocooned in your own private steam-filled retreat.
True to a traditional hammam, you’ll lie down on a marble slab for the duration of the treatment. While it might sound uncomfortable, it isn’t as bad as it sounds, with rolled-up towels placed under the knees and lower back for support and comfort.
During the treatment the therapist applies a wonderful mixture of cleansing oils, an exfoliating volcanic ash, and a soft and creamy detoxifying mud.
Like in a traditional hammam, hot water is used to cleanse the skin between each step, while a traditional kessa mitt is used to moisten the skin and prepare it for an intense exfoliation using volcanic ash, which sloughs-off dead skin cells to reveal new and radiant baby-soft skin beneath.
The treatment also includes a wonderfully relaxing scalp massage followed by the final flourish, a head-to-toe massage in the adjacent treatment room.
Be warned, the hammam room gets hot. The heat of the steam is designed to open the pores and help relax tense muscles but, for the uninitiated, it can also feel a little overwhelming. Upon request there are plenty of cool flannels to help combat the heat and there’s also water to rehydrate if you feel you need it.
The spa offers two hammam treatments, the Purification Hammam Journey, aimed at detoxifying the skin, and the Beauty Hammam Journey, aimed at beautifying the skin. Both offer two hours of heavenly bliss.
Emily Gardner, marketing manager at the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, says that the two hammam experiences are amongst the island’s most sought-after treatments.
“We wanted to create a signature treatment that was not offered anywhere else in Grand Cayman,” Emily explains. “Creating a traditional hammam experience felt very authentic and something that would excite and delight our guests as well as our local clientele.”
A visit to the Spa at Seafire is so much more than the treatment itself though. This award-winning spa spans more than 8,000 square feet and offers a sumptuous spot to relax and unwind.
Arrive with at least an hour to spare before the start of your treatment to take advantage of everything that the spa offers.
Start off your spa experience with a dip in the grand soaking tub. Sitting in its own airy enclave complete with natural light streaming in and botanical adornments it’s the ideal spot to while away the time.
Next, sink into a deeper state of relaxation and enjoy a session in the steam and sauna rooms, found in each of the luxurious his and hers changing rooms.
Then head to the dedicated relaxation room. Filled with oversized lounge chairs this calming spot is the ideal place to sit back and de-stress. Luxurious coffee-table books offer inspiring reading while guests can enjoy a selection of beverages and nibbles.
If you don’t feel the hammam is the treatment for you there are ample of others to choose from.
Other popular body treatments include the Lime Blossom Body Scrub, an energising and nutrient-rich scrub featuring macadamia nut oil, lime blossom, and crystals, and the Tranquillity Meditative Ritual, a treatment designed around a combination of sound, touch, and aroma, to release tension and oxygenate skin tissue.
Of course, the spa also offers a selection of traditional treatments, including facials, massages, manicures and pedicures, as well as treatments for hair, alongside waxing and makeup services.
A feast for the senses
In line with the rest of the resort, the Spa at Seafire features breath-taking design throughout, making a visit a true feast for the senses.
“The concept was to create a spa space and brand that was as distinctive as the entire resort,” Emily explains. “We wanted the spa to include beautiful textures and colours and to offer unique treatments, such as our traditional hammam ritual and the heated quartz massage table that we use for our Beach Break treatment.”
She adds: “The design intent was mostly influenced by timeless English botanical illustrations with tropical selections. Upon entry, guests are greeted by an explosion of colour – blues, key lime, sea green, and more. Flower blossoms adorn the ceilings and walls, with the overall effect conjuring up images of a tropical English garden, with blue and white toile merging effortlessly with Cayman logwood and woven baskets.”
Once the spa experience is over, make sure you set aside some time to check out the spa’s retail boutique, which is filled with a fabulous collection of natural, vegan, and organic skincare products, as well as jewellery and items made by local artisans.
And, for the perfect end to your spa journey, head to the resort’s Coccoloba Bar & Grill where you can enjoy delicious coastal-inspired fare washed down with hand-crafted cocktails, all the while soaking up the view of world-renowned Seven Mile Beach.
Life doesn’t get much better than this.