Monday, April 30, 2007

Nausikaa - A great new spa in Fez.

The View from Fez's travel reporter, Wilna Wilkinson, recently visited what might well be the ultimate spa! Note that as our photographer is a male, the hammam shots are of the male hammam and not the colours described by Wilna! Here is her report.

As a seasoned traveller who has long since discovered that Anywhere-on-5$-a-Day may sound cool, but is not necessarily comfortable, I am always happy to share my secret for surviving gruelling 36 hours (sitting in the back end of the plane) flights accompanied with 36 hours (feeling like the back end of the plane) time changes: The answer is a good sauna or a steam bath followed by a serious massage.

The sauna is superb.

Over the years of travelling around the world, I have visited the best spas, hot springs and well-being centres, I have floated in the Blue lagoon in Iceland, wallowed in the mud pools in Fiji, Rotorua and Mauritania, been pummelled in Sweden and pampered in Pangkor Laut, walked on in Ghana and prodded and pounded in Mexico. My favourite pastime in Japan is bathing and my best memory of St Petersburg is a massage.

Ah! And then I was given a birthday gift of a morning of pure pleasure and indulgence at the NausiKaa Wellness Centre on Avenue Bahnini – and all of a sudden my list of superlatives seemed too short!

Reception is efficient and friendly.

From the moment I was dropped off in front of the imposingly modern building with beautiful water ponds and gardens and modern glass and stone façade, and walked into the black wood and grey marble entrance, I was greeted with warm smiles and a friendly welcome. Within minutes the receptionists had ascertained what my needs were and had explained what was on offer. Although I had often visited traditional Moroccan hammams, I had not come prepared with the usual towel, shampoo and brush, but this posed no problem at all and I was whisked off to the change rooms where I was issued with the fluffiest thickest towelling gown, comfortable plastic slip on sandals, shampoo and brush and scrubbing glove. After stowing my clothes in a lock up locker, I was handed over to Ouafa, a lovely young woman who accompanied me down stairs to the ladies' section of the hammam.

The warm marble tables are luxurious.

The entrance to the hammam

It is stunningly beautiful. It was like walking down into the depths of the ocean. All the shades of blue and green mosaics create a sense of coolness and serenity, whilst the pale grey of the solid marble slab massage beds, hair wash basins and stools look sumptuous and luxurious.

Room after room for relaxation
After Ouafa had rubbed me down with a beautiful home made sapon beldi (olive oil soap), my first stop was in the steam room – a circular room with comfortable seats around the perimeter and steam so hot that it satisfied even my extreme tastes. A perfect and thoughtful touch in the steam room were the taps with fresh cool water, cleverly placed behind the seats for when the perspiration make vision difficult. The steam room was so good that I did not want to leave, but curiosity got the better of me, and the moment I stepped out of the room, Ouafa was there to lead me to the marble bed where I was made to lie down, my head comfortable on a soft triangular cushion. And then the pleasure started. With the rough scrubbing glove Ouafa gave me a thorough 'gommage' – a scrubbing of the entire body to get rid of every bit of dead skin, leaving me glowing and tingling and feeling completely rejuvenated. I was then washed down with warm water from a hand held shower attached to the base of the marble bed, after which I stepped into the large, deep and very hot Jacuzzi.

The jacuzzi - hot bazef!

Just when I was thinking that nothing could feel more heavenly, the next stage of the treatment started. This time Ouafa started the 'savonnage' -- rubbing a beautiful creamy soap all over me, massaging my skin with the soft soap from the tips of my toes to the top of my head until every bit of me felt soft and supple and every muscle in my body felt relaxed – a deliciously gorgeous sensation. When I was finally instructed to go stand under the shower to wash down all the soap and shampoo, I felt so mellow that I just smiled and complied.

No detail has been overlooked.

I could have stopped there and been totally satisfied, but there was more to come!

One of the many massage rooms.

Ouafa wrapped me in the towelling gown and took me upstairs to the treatment rooms. Here, on the top floor, the décor changes from the mystical aqua's to the more sleek black and greys with beautifully carved ebony wood inlays, smoked glass, clean modern lines and crisp white cotton sheets on the massage beds. In the massage rooms scented candles fill the air with a subtle fragrance and soft lighting and gentle music add to the atmosphere of opulence and luxury.

Every treatment from traditional to hi-tech!

Ikram, another lovely young woman, made me comfortable and started the massage. Over the next hour every muscle, every nerve ending, every square inch of my body was attended to until I felt as if I was floating above the bed. It was without a doubt one of the best massages I have ever had. And to make the experience even more perfect, Ikram suggested, when she had finished, that I may want to stay for a while before getting up. To be able to continue lying and luxuriating in the wonderfully relaxed state after a massage is such a bonus! Wonderful!

Want to keep fit? Fancy a swim? No problem, two pools ... and a gym.

Finally I had a shower – in a large cubicle in the massage room -- wrapped myself in the gown again and went back downstairs to retrieve my clothes and get dressed. I was reluctant to leave, but, as I floated out of the NausiKaa Wellness Centre, feeling like a million dollars, I knew that I would be back – the very first chance I get!

Nausi Kaa was the beautiful daughter of King Alkinoos of the Phaiakians, who was sent by Athena to go meet Odysseus when he landed in Scheria or Phaiacia. She anointed him with fragrant oils and revived him after his difficult voyage.

The Nausikaa foyer

The NausiKaa Wellness Centre can be found on Avenue Bahnini – Route Ain Smen, in Fes. There is a separate hammam for men, a hair and make up salon, many different kinds of hydro-, seaweed and other therapies provided by staff trained in France, as well as a fully equipped modern gym with personal trainers.

Tel: (+212)035 61 00 06
(+212)035 61 00 16
website :

Reporter: Wilna Wilkinson
Photographs: Sandy McCutcheon



Jillian said...

I read this yesterday, then this morning my mother-in-law called, inviting me to go to the Fez. It didn't occur to me until I was standing in the lobby that I was at Nausikaa!

WOW, it was incredible. Post to come, will reference yours of course!

Anonymous said...

No kitting!! I just came from San Diego to visit my family here at Fez and went down the street to the spa. I must say that I have not seeing a more luxerious spa than this one. It is marvelous!! It gets five stars from me. Will come back soon inshaa ALLAH.

pavane said...

Can someone please send me or publish the right link for the spa, this one doesn't work. Thanks !

The View From Fez said...

Salaam Pavane,

Unfortunately that is the correct link but their website is down.

We have informed them several times.

Anonymous said...

Maravilloso y buen precio.