If you are a novice to hammam (Turkish bath) culture, Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamam would be a good start with its classical architecture, soothing atmosphere and spa-like treatments that elevate the hammam ritual to a whole new level. This magnificent brick-and-mortar building with an opulent dome dates back to 1580 as part of Kılıç Ali Paşa Mosque’s social complex, which once included a madrasa (religious school) as well. Being one of the architect Sinan’s masterpieces in Istanbul, the hammam section of the complex had been desolate until the visionary entrepreneur Nureddin İren and architect Cafer Bozkurt restored it into its former glory in 2012. Today, Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamam functions at the height of luxury, offering a chance to get scrubbed in a true Ottoman style.
At Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamam, you will be welcomed by your personal attendant upon arrival with home-made fruit syrup and a hot towel, before getting into your private locker room to wrap yourself in a pesthemal (cotton hammam towel). Your attendant will accompany you through the whole process, making sure that your skin soaks hot water inside the hammam for 15-20 minutes, before giving you a good scrub followed by a massage. After feeling purified as a baby, you can get back to the resting hall to order the snacks and beverages of your choice and relax under a magnificent dome.
The easiest way is to take the tram from Eminönü or Karaköy going for Kabataş. When you get off at the Tophane station, the hammam and mosque complex welcomes you just across the road.
Hint: If you are sunburnt, or have skin irritation, hammam ritual is not advised. A reservation is advised for getting treatment at Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamam.