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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Get Scrubbed in Marrakech

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3. What to Do


Fragrance-inspired massages are the draw at La Naoura Barrière.   

Choose from four scented oils—Verbena, Jasmine, Orange Blossom, or Musk—at Hôtel & Ryads Naoura Barrière’s U-Spa, where the fragrance determines your massage style (relaxing, deep tissue, or energizing). The rooms are strewn with rose petals, and your hour-long massage concludes with a gentle Shiatsu-like battering with bamboo sticks ($90).

Book the hour-long hammam treatment at La Mamounia’s 27,000-square-foot spa. Relax on the marble counter as the spa attendant diligently scrubs away dead skin using a loofah laden with traditional black soap; the color comes from ground olives ($100). After being alternately buffed and doused by a shower, your delicate skin is slathered in a rich rosewater and orange lotion.

Bathe with the neighbors at Hammam el Basha (Rue Fatima Zohra), a block-long public bath capped with a steam-filled dome. Loinclothed tayibas (assistants) stretch, scrub, and thoroughly soap patrons with a professionalism that mitigates the total lack of privacy ($1 to $5). Men are welcome from 4 a.m. to noon, then from 7:30 to 11 p.m., while women visit from noon to 7:30 p.m.

Reap techniques from the Far East at Ithaque, a modern Utopian farm with the only sanctioned school of Wat Po Massage — the traditional Thai style of stretching and massage — outside of Thailand. ($50 to $150).


Published on May 27, 2010 as a web exclusive.

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