An experience not to be missed is a visit to a Turkish bath. We tried the Rayola Hamam just outside Ortakent and weren’t disappointed.
(2012: Mixed reports from guests. Some preferred the Bodrum Hamam near the bus/dolmus station.)
We were greeted by a Scottish lady who led us into a beautiful, marble-floored room, the size of a ballroom. While she explained the procedure to us we were served with iced homemade lemonade.
We deposited our valuables in a locker and were taken to changing rooms where we put on swimwear and helped ourselves to large fluffy towels. Then it was off to the hamam – a high domed room where everything was marble: flooring, seating around the edge and a large slab in the centre. Dotted around the perimeter were basins, each with hot and cold water taps and a ladle beside. We were each assigned to a basin and instructed to pour the water over our bodies every few minutes, adjusting the temperature as we wished.
It wasn’t as hot as a steam room: indeed it was clear, not steamy, in the hamam. After about half an hour of sitting and splashing, including a ten-minute interlude to a massive jacuzzi in an adjacent room, we were deemed ready for the serious matter of washing.
We must have sweated considerably, because the first procedure was to be body brushed with a loafer type implement; to remove all the dead skin that had seeped out of our pores. Our guide had told us we’d be amazed at the change in the colour of the loafer after we’d been brushed down. She wasn’t kidding!
Then it was back to our basins to ladle more water over ourselves before our ‘washer’ came to collect us and put us on the slab for a proper wash. He or she took a soapy mesh sponge the size of a palates’ bouncing ball and rolled it up and down legs, arms and body. Then we were turned over on the slab for more of the same till we were engulfed in one massive soapsud. Final water ladling followed and we emerged from the hamam to collect our fluffy towels. Invigorated by the experience, we were ready for a long cool drink as we relaxed on comfy sofas by the bar.
Lots of other services are available such as massages, aromatherapy, manicures, pedicures etc. We tried a full body massage after the Turkish bath, which was a relaxing experience and not too expensive.