Hammam Guide

So great, I went twice

by admin on Oct.08, 2013, under Beyoğlu hamams, Uncategorized


Nur Hamamı. Hamalbaşı Cad. No. 14. Beyoǧlu, Istanbul. (0212) 249 81 12. Men: 7am – 12 am. 16 YTL plus 5 YTL for kese, 5 YTL for massage. [or more...see below]

The First Visit:

I saw this hamam via your website and it seemed the ideal one for me, not just because of location but also due to authenticity as well. I didn’t want a tourist den nor was I looking for any sex, just an authentic experience.
Firstly, the roads on the maps do not always correspond to the roads on the signposts. I spent over an hour looking for this place when of course it was extremely straightforward.
on the main road [Istiklal Caddesi] where the old tram goes down and walking toward the square, you will pass an intersection with a very large metal sculpture, turn left at this junction, cross a road [Hamalbaşı Cad.] and you’ll see a pharmacy on the corner, the hamam, is two doors down from the pharmacy. Simples

Upon entering and walking down some stairs a young lad pointed at my shoes and I took them off and he handed me some flip flop type crocs in return.
The manager (who is the moustached man pictured in the main review) immediately saw that I wouldn’t be able to speak Turkish (sadly, correct) and so said “massage, yes?” I nodded enthusiastically and was taken to a small little changing room where the pestamal was folded neatly on a cushioned seating area. I undressed putting the pestamal around me and was led into the steam room.
Now this is very basic, I’m not going to gild the lily here, it is a sizable room with a marble slab in the middle and a sauna and separate shower attached. Nothing fancy at all, but after spending a few minutes in the sauna I enjoyed sitting down next to one of the sinks and filling the provided bowl with cold water and tipping it on myself.
The only other person was an elderly local gentlemen washing himself.
I was ready for the next part so lay on the very warm marble slab and waited

The keseci came in, a big man who looked as if life had treated him unfairly and I was slightly worried that he was going to take this injustice out on me, however appearances can be deceiving and while looking gruff he was a very nice man who treated me to an incredible experience. He covered me in suds which was a nice feeling, and then kept using the bowl to rinse me down, he would turn me around on my front and very discreetly adjust my pestamal so that I was naked but never feeling exposed if that makes sense. Upon turning round again the pestamal was again readjusted so I wasn’t naked but it was placed quite high up my legs so I felt I was wearing a nappy
The scrub was again given all over using the same techniques and the massage was firm but fair. I had read horror stories of bones cracking but if anything this keseci was more cautious than anything, if I could have spoken Turkish I would have actually asked for it to be a bit harder but it was still enjoyable.

I was again rinsed off and stood by one of the sinks for him to do this, my pestamal fell to he floor so I was standing there naked but as this was coming to the end the keseci didn’t seem to care and made no attempt to cover me up for this last rinsing, in fact the last thing he did before leaving was filling a bowl and handing it to me and then pointed to between my legs, the meaning was clear, I was to rinse my boys off myself which I did with tantalisingly cold water.
I was made to sit on the slab again as the keseci picked up my sodden pestamal and left the room leaving me thinking what was to happen next. I need t have worried, a few seconds later he returned with a dry pestamal and made me stand while he put it on around my waist. I was then led outside to a comfy bench outside the heated rooms and the manager came onto me with about three towels, one was on my shoulders, one was around my waist (I honestly can’t remember if he removed the new pestamal or whether it was just left on) and another on my head which he wrapped and folded over making me feel like I was a 1960s housewife at a hairsalon. He kept drying me which was a new experience for me but I never felt uncomfortable at all. Once I was done I was told to stay there as long as I need to before going to get changed.

I dressed and the man said 35tl which was exceptionally reasonable, I gave him 50 and gestured that the change could be given to the keseci and the young lad who was waiting with my shoes. He seemed pleased by this and nodded and so I left my first hamam experience feeling smooth, relaxed and unbelievably clean!

This is a no frills hamam experience I went to another one more in the centre of the town which catered more to the tourists and I didn’t get past the reception, not only was it expensive it was too clinical, too, well, too clean. Where’s the fun in that?

However that wasn’t the end of my hamam story there. When I got back to my hotel I realised I had left my necklace in the changing room, now only having sentimental value I was still keen to get it back but guess what? My flight was the next day! They opened at 7am the next morning and I was there at 7.30 with a confused taxi driver waiting and ran down the steps, I didn’t even have to say a word, the manager looked at me and opened a drawer and smiled genuinely as he returned my necklace.

I can’t recommend this place enough, as long as you don’t want any frills or cappuccino machines etc

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1 comment for this entry:
  1. J-C

    Having read the review on this site, and given that my hotel was just around the corner, I decided to give this hamam a try. It is definitely a no frills establishment, but that’s what is appealing about it. I watched a Turkish customer being scrubbed down while I waited my turn, and the keseci was definitely gentler with me than with him, smiling encouragingly the whole time (no-one spoke English). He was also careful to preserve my modesty, adjusting the pestemal, although honestly the whole operation would be much easier if one was just naked. I left feeling renewed after a long days sightseeing. I agree with the other reviewer that this is a great hamam experience.

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