To see all of posts on Turkish Baths (Hamams), go to our Cappadocia Turkish Bath (Hamam) Homepage.
Antique: 2000 years of history…
Modern: Professional reflexology massage…
A place where you can get the best of both worlds; are you serious?
That’s what you can expect when you go to the Elis Hamam in Göreme, Cappadocia. The Elis has absolutely modern services for a bathhouse whose stones are 400 years old. The hamam was restored five years ago to its impeccable form, by owner Orhan Yılmaz. But still you are relaxing in a place where Hittite, Roman, Byzantine, Selcuk, Ottoman, and now the Republic of Turkey have all reigned. Unbelievable!
WHAT SETS IT APART
In speaking with Orhan he described some features of Elis that are unique among hamams. Because most of his clients are tourists he is really concerned about cleanliness. For this reason every hamam user is given their own peeling cloth. No customer will ever be cleaned with a cloth that has been used on another client. Every male is given a very comfortable pair of disposable shorts for your hamam experience. Traditionally you wear a hamam cloth around your waist and you have to trust that the cloths have been properly washed and dried. The one-use shorts put your mind at ease in that regard. Elis Hamam is very concerned that its customers experience the cleanest hamam in Cappadocia.
WHAT TO EXPECT: TOTAL RELAXATION
Elis Hamam offers all the standard fare of Turkish baths with a few extras for the full spa experience. I really enjoyed the package deal which included a face mask, dry sauna, hamam with kese (peeler) and köpüklu masaj (bubble massage), steam sauna, and cool jacuzzi, which lasted a tantalizing 90 minutes (all for 60tl!).
You must ask for Riza Öğül as your kese. He did amazing work scrubbing the Mt. Everest of dirty, dead skin, from my body. All the while wittingly chatting despite the 40 degree celsius heat! Following the peeling, Riza gave a wonderfully relaxing bubble massage. After letting the heat of the hamam and Riza’s awesome work melt me into a marshmallow I descended to the massage room.
If you did not see the bubble video in the Introduction post, it is worth one minute.
I am not much of a spa guy but masseur Uğur Sunar made a believer out of me. From the indirect lighting escaping from the susanas hanging from the roof, to the meditational sounds and pleasing aroma, I was ready to sleep before the massage ever began. Uğur was trained in Germany and Antalya and has experience in many forms of massage: reflexology, classic, shiatsu, and hot-stone therapy to name a few.
The twenty minutes he spent working out the day’s pains may as well have been an hour; it was that relaxing. He incorporated the hot stones into the classic oil massage which felt amazing on sore muscles. I have decided to give up lunches and spend the money on a membership to the spa! (The classic oil massage is 2 tl/minute and they have 10, 20, or 30 minute packages. All other massages are 3tl/minute.)
PEOPLE = SERVICE
While you will be impressed with the facilities and services at Elis Hamam, what really makes them special is their employees. Along with Riza and Uğur, General Manager Ömer Oğuz sets a high standard for quality service. He honored me by doing our interview in English rather than Turkish. During our chat a customer approached. Ömer greeted him in English and asked where he was from. The customer responded that he was from France, and Ömer immediately switched to the customer’s mother tongue putting the traveller at ease. Such is the customer service you will receive at Elis. But Ömer was not always a customer service specialist.
EAST TO WEST TO CAPPADOCIA
Ömer is from the far east of Turkey where he grew up the son of a farmer. He loved his village and the simple way of life. He told me a story of how he would come home from school, put his book bag on the porch without going inside, and go straight to work caring for the family cattle. He would return to his house at dusk for dinner, and do a few pages of homework by kerosene lamp, before going to bed. Hearing this made me wonder how in the world he landed at Elis Hamam in Göreme.
When he was 18-years-old he left home and settled in Fethiye. There he sold carpets, capitalizing on his family experience making carpets. He had learned much about what went into a quality carpet as his family mixed and matched colors from fruits and vegetables, grasses and plants. He worked there for 16 years, ample time for him to become fluent in German, French and English, with a little Italian to boot, before coming to Cappadocia.
While he enjoys his work at the hamam, Ömer also clearly loves his village. He told stories of the nomadic way of life his villagers came out of nearly 200 years ago. Nowadays, he said, instead of villagers herding their own sheep and cattle, they hire professional shepherds to graze their flocks. He joked about a time when he was 23 years old, home from Fethiye during the off season, and taking his herds out to graze.
On the road to the grassy meadow 2300 meters above sea level, he encountered a Turk, a German, a Frenchman, and an Englishman. While engaging the Frenchman in French the German interrupted with a question. Ömer responded to the man from Deutschland in German much to the man’s amazement. The German asked Ömer, “What are you doing here?” To which Ömer replied “I’m a shepherd.” The German man said in disbelief “There is no way a man in the mountains of eastern Turkey, who speaks German and French, is a shepherd.” Ömer quickly begged his Turkish friend not to tell them about his carpet selling in Fethiye!
I hope you enjoy your hamam and spa experience with the incredible employees of the Elis Hamam as much as I did!
If you have visited the Elis Hamam what was your experience? As a foreigner what did you find most unique about your experience?
Click below to learn about the other Turkish baths (hamams) in Cappadocia:
A Steamy Introduction to Turkish Baths (Hamams) in Cappadocia
The Hamam of Ürgüp
The Bayramhacı Hamam
The Karavezir Paşa Hamam of Gülşehir
Alaaddin Turkish Bath of Avanos
Meteris Turkish Bath of Nevşehir
Damat Ibrahimpaşa Hamam of Nevşehir
Elis Hamam gave us a pre-made video tour of their facilities to put on our YouTube channel. If you are interested in a visual picture of this Turkish Bath, please watch this 3 minute video.
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