After a day of exploring the luxurious rooms of the Alhambra's Nasrid Palaces, what better way to top it off than with a hammam experience ourselves? If you'd like to visit an Arab bath in Granada read on for our full review of Hammam al Andalus:
The Nasrid Sultans who built and lived in the royal palace at the Alhambra between the 12th and 15th centuries enjoyed beautiful bathing facilities with underfloor heating, hot and cold pools and a relaxation room where the Sultan could recline on cushions after his bath - doesn't that sound wonderful? After the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella conquered Granada in 1492 and moved into the Alhambra, their daughter Katherine of Aragon lived there for part of her childhood. What a shock she must have got when she moved to England to marry King Henry VIII's brother: not just the rain, but no fragrant orange trees, no scented oil baths, in fact in Tudor England bathing was a yearly event - it must have felt like the Dark Ages!
Some stunning details from the Nasrid Palaces, Alhambra, Granada
Just a short walk from Granada's cathedral, at 16 Calle Santa Ana, is the Hammam al Andalus, where we experienced the Mimma 15 package - 75 minutes of enjoying the Arab baths and a 15 minute massage with scented oils which was heaven after a jam-packed week of sightseeing!
As soon as we entered the changing rooms of the hammam, our blood pressure lowered thanks to the low lighting and relaxing music. A short flight of steps led into the baths, and back in time...
The building housing the hammam dates back to the 13th century and feels very authentic. Hammam al Andalus has been breathtakingly restored in the Mudejar style and we felt immediately as if we were back in the Alhambra: arched doorways, coloured geometric tiles, vaulted ceilings with star shaped sky lights and wonderful lace-like stucco plasterwork on the walls. Our favourite room was the smallest hot pool with an exquisite high ceiling and brightly coloured wall tiles (above left in the gallery).
Our visit to Hammam al Andalus, Granada was such a treat! Moving between different temperatures is good for your circulation and skin, and so we took our time enjoying the ritual of hot, cold and warm pools softly lit by candles, relaxed in the steam room and rested while drinking detoxifying green tea with mint and water.
The hammam is unisex which was nice as it meant David and I could experience everything together, compared to the Japanese Onsens we visited in 2020, where men and women are separated. That being said, in Japan you bathed naked, where as in a hammam you definitely keep the swimsuits on! We were provided with a towel, and all our belongings were kept in secure lockers. No phones or photography are permitted inside the hammam (we were allowed in between sessions when there were no people to take some pictures for this blog).
When it was time for our massages, we were summoned from the water and led down a short flight of steps, lit by lanterns, to a lower vault with separate alcoves containing the massage beds. My masseur spoke excellent English and asked exactly what I wanted (upper back and my calves please, the perfect antidote to pavement pounding with a rucksack on!). I was able to choose which oil to use, from rose, lavender, pomegranate flower and amber- as the pomegranate is the symbol of Granada, I chose that.
Once our 90 minutes were up, we floated our way back into the changing rooms. The facilities here are all beautiful too, and a well as showers and lockers, there are mirrors, hairdryers and a range of beauty products including body oils, lotions and nourishing face cream to complete your pampering session.
If you're visiting Granada, you must book a session at the Hammam al Andalus Arab baths. It's the perfect way to wrap up your Alhambra experience and is such a treat! The staff could not have been more friendly and the facilities were absolutely beautiful - it was one of the most relaxing bathing experiences we have ever had.
Telephone +34 958 22 99 78
Disclosure: We were gifted our experience at the Hammam al Andalus, Granada in return for this blog and Instagram content, but as always all opinions are our own.