Miraj Hammam Spa

Crisp, cooler weather is definitely in the air and with that, we’re all about finding relaxing indoor activities to help warm the soul.

Miraj Hammam Spa, the first hammam to open in Canada, is no stranger to warmth. With an inviting interior that evokes an exotic oasis featuring traditional Middle Eastern treatments, Miraj is an indulgent treat at any time of the year.

Miraj Hammam

I had the chance to experience their space on a recent chilly, yet sunny October afternoon. Enter through the decorative archway at the northeast corner of West 6th and Granville, and suddenly the world slows down. I’m here to experience Vancouver’s version of a traditional Middle Eastern hammam.

I’ve had the pleasure of spending time in Turkish hammams in Cappadocia, having my body scrubbed until dirt I didn’t know existed seemed to appear out of nowhere.

Miraj’s vibe does take me back to those younger, carefree days of roaming around Turkey with a backpack and Lonely Planet travel guide.

Miraj Hammam Spa

Once checked in, I leave my street shoes under the wooden bench in the lobby and am given a pair of slippers to wear.

The changing room contains lockers, showers, washroom, plus metal pitchers of water and glasses and serves as a waiting space in between treatments. It’s relatively compact yet clean and functional.

Miraj Hammam Spa

Gommage & Massage

My gommage begins with a 15-minute steam session in the marble-tiled, glass-enclosed room adjacent to the hammam and changing area.

I have the option of keeping the steam going as I lay on a sarong, or shut it off via a button on the wall (and turn it back on once it gets too cool).

My spa esthetician invites me to get comfortable on one of the hammam’s Jerusalem gold marble areas to begin the gommage — a very soothing, exfoliating process.

In the background I hear a combination of the fountain’s water bubbling and soft music as my body gets lathered with Moroccan soap, then scrubbed with special exfoliating gloves, later to be rinsed off with warm water to remove unwanted skin cells, leaving my body soothed and ready for a massage.

Miraj Hammam Spa

Miraj books massages in 15- to 90-minute increments. You can also reserve a facial, or Nettoyage de peau, a 15-minute facial toning, exfoliation and massage treatment.

I feel replenished from the gommage and ready for my 15-minute Orientale massage, a great introduction to the spa’s massage services. Masseuse Peggie combines a mix of long strokes and shiatsu, working her magic on my body.

Miraj Hammam Spa

Lounge Time

Once the pampering has ended and your body feels squeaky clean from head to toe, it’s time to unwind with mint tea and a sweet cake. A short walk down the hallway leads to a silk-curtained entry with velvet lounge bed seating on both sides of the room. A small marble tiled fountain continues the Middle Eastern-themed decor of this peaceful area.

Sitting back in my ivory robe, I relax amongst colourful silk pillows to sip my cup of tea and nibble at a honey-infused sweet. There’s books and magazines for browsing through, but on this sunny afternoon I derive simple pleasure from looking out the curtained window to watch the rustling leaves create shadows in the sun.

Miraj Hammam Spa

It’s afternoons like this that make me realize how very vital self-care is. I will be back in winter to recreate the happy state I’m currently feeling.

A hammam, gommage and massage session begins at $120 (plus tax and gratuity). All treatments include usage of a robe, sarong, towel and slippers. Swimsuits may be worn during your gommage session but are not required.

Add-on services include additional massage time, Nettoyage de Peau and aromatherapy facials. Bookings are essential (30 minutes for one person, 45 minutes for two people, varied lengths for groups); visit Miraj online for details and men’s/women’s/co-ed couples spa days/hours.

Miraj Hammam-2

Miraj Hammam Spa is located at 1495 West 6th Avenue in Vancouver.

I was a guest of Miraj Hammam Spa for the purpose of this feature. Opinions, as always, remain my own.

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