Stepping into the premises of Kam Su-En’s Hammam Spa, you are magically transported into a set from The Arabian Nights, thanks to the mystical ambience that the owner has carefully designed to evoke relaxation and bliss within its walls. From the heavy brass doors crafted by artisans in Fez to the golden openwork arcades and tranquil sounds of the courtyard fountain, hand-carved geometric brass lamps providing illumination, to the Turkish wedding blankets decorating the massage rooms, and the Leila Menchari-designed tiles on the feature walls and in the hammam room, Kam sought for Malaysians to experience the enigmatic beauty of Marrakesh in her first city spa.
Kam recently unveiled her most luxurious Hammam yet, situated on the second floor of Isetan The Japan Store in Lot 10. Compared to her first two outlets in Bangsar Village II and Publika, she envisions this particular spa to give a more elevated experience.
“I’d say the luxuriousness is taken up a notch,” she says. “In this branch particularly, I’ll be using ingredients like blue lotus oil, oud oil and labdanum oil—precious oils that you would not find in any other spa. You might see it in perfumes but not in massage oils. These are actually more precious Egyptian, Middle Eastern, African oils that we are using and they’ve got medicinal properties as well. Blue lotus was used by Cleopatra herself; it was one of her favourite fragrances.”
A dedicated spa goer since the age of six—“My dad was an architect. We used to travel to all sorts of resorts and I’d be the first one trying the spa treatments!”—Kam’s first experience with the hammam, an ancient Turkish or Moroccan traditional method of bathing that involves deep cleansing with a gel-like soap made of black olives, followed by exfoliation and massage, was in Morocco 15 years ago and she’s been hooked ever since. “I just fell in love with the country, it was like a dreamy fairy tale place, with the Atlantic ocean on one side, and snow-capped mountains on the other. Everything about it was quite magical.
“And when I lay down on the hammam room tiles, there was a girl singing in Arabic as I was being scrubbed and bathed—it was, I don’t know how else to say this, a very maternal experience to have buckets of water being poured on you. The entire thing felt very magical. And unlike all the other spa experiences I had, I also noticed there were other people in the hammam room, which was different from the solitary ones that we’re used to. I thought this was nice because it fulfils the need to connect with other people, never mind the fact that we were all naked [laughing]. I decided that this was something I wanted to bring back to Malaysia and share with everyone.”