There are few spa experiences that feel more decadent than a traditional Turkish hammam, during which you lie on a heated slab of gleaming white marble, steam rising around you, as an attendant scrubs and washes you from hair to toe using herbal products, foaming bubbles and warm water. It’s a treatment that is both therapeutic and pampering—and it takes you back to feeling like a child. For many Western travelers, though, a visit to a public hammam can also be awkward, as the treatments are done in communal areas alongside all the other (naked) guests. Which is why we love the new CHI Spa at the Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul: You enjoy the authenticity of a traditional service, with the privacy and attention of a five-star hotel.
Opened in mid-2013, Shangri-La’s latest outpost features 186 rooms and suites, many with views of the ferries gliding along the Bosphorus. Hints of the brand’s Asian roots abound—from the tea menu offering dozens of Asian and Turkish blends to the authentic Cantonese Shang Palace restaurant—but there are also plenty of local influences, including use of three types of marble in the guestroom bathroom, evoking a hammam. Along with 45- and 60-minute hammam sessions, the all-organic spa offers Ila facials, herbal baths and scrubs, body treatments like an Amethyst Wrap, and massages that range from Indian and Filipino to one using herbs from Turkey’s Black Sea region.