In the great race to offer the newest and best amenities in residential buildings, an ancient feature has recently gained popularly: hammams. A traditional hammam is a turkish bath. But more than that, it is a four-stage relaxation ritual involving different types of water and air at varying temperatures. The process starts with relaxation in a sauna with hot, dry air. Then it moves into a hotter room with steam combined with a cold water plunge pool. The third step is exfoliation by an attendant with an ancient cleansing soap and rough mitt called a kessa. The final step is retiring to a cool relaxation room.
Raizy Haas, senior vice president in charge of development at Extell Development, explains, “In my travels to Istanbul, I personally experienced the hammam tradition. It was overwhelming and amazing. I was always hoping we could incorporate into one of our projects and now we’ve done it.”
Haas says they “did their homework to better understand the origin of hammams and make sure we did it right. Not only is it a bathing ritual but it plays a significant social and cultural role in middle eastern countries.” Haas was determined to recreate that in Extell’s Lower East Side amenity-rich building One Manhattan Square.
Haute Residential has highlighted some of the best hammams in NYC and Miami's residential towers.
One Manhattan Square
One Manhattan Square’s hammam took inspiration from the 14th Century Ottoman Empire hammams and “interpreted that relaxation and ritual in modern way.” Haas explains, “We designed our hammam to meet busy lifestyle of our residents so you can do one or any combination of the four phases of the ritual.” There is an infrared sauna, a steam room, a cold plunge pool and a tranquility garden to end your relaxation in. If you want a traditional scrub down massage, you can order that service through the building.
Haas also explained their design reinterpreted the traditional hammams with modern mood lighting, heated benches (instead of cold, stone slabs) and private recessed stone chambers.
“When we do something, we raise the bar.”
Cast Iron House
Bridgestone Capital Assets CEO Jourdan Krauss, the developer of the Cast Iron House, says the Pritzker-Prize winning, traditional Japanese architect Shigeru Ban perfectly infused a contemporary aesthetic into their architecturally significant, historic building. With only 13 residents, the building does not have a lot of amenities but Krauss explains, “I wanted to build a hydrotherapy spa in this small boutique residence that would be a unique experience solely for the residents. We were not looking to compete with a massive spa experience or large gym.”
Krauss goes on to say, “New York City is a hectic, maddening city that moves at lightning speed. I wanted to create an experience for the residents that when they walk into the space, it is instant relaxation. Residents can get out of their busy lives, out of the hustle and bustle of New York and go relax in a small environment they feel is very private. The hammam can fit 10-12 people but really think it will be an experience for one person or a couple to relax in.”
Krauss says their hammam was designed in the basement vault of the building, which is beautifully illuminated by the light that filters through the sidewalk’s transparent glass from two storeys, 30 feet above. The hammam includes three different water experiences, a steam room and a sauna, a plunge pool, shower, and a special waterfall shower. “This whole combination of something special and very aesthetically very unique down in the vaults of the castle.”
The exquisite hamman at Jade Signature, developed by Fortune International Group and created by Pritzker Prize-winning architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, blends with a Tata Harper Spa, the first ever in Florida, to deliver all-organic wellness.
“Jade Signature is such a natural partner for us to open our very first Tata Harper Spa in Florida,” said Harper in a press statement. “We created a space that feels coastal casual yet chic with our special Tata Harper touch in every detail. We believe our clients should never have to compromise between health and results, natural and luxurious, or beauty and intelligence."
Rendered in vibrant wood and green accents and reserved for residents and guests, the spa carries Harper's hallmark line of products and treatments, including a range of rejuvenating facials and a liquid gold organic body massage, which elevate the hammam experience. A sauna, a steam room, a water therapy terrace, a relaxation zone and a manicure and pedicure lounge complete the private, state-of-the-art relaxation features at Jade Signature.
The Moroccan developers of 49 Chambers created a hammam as a core component of the building. Cast in honed white Ariel marble with a lustrous coved ceiling, 49 Chambers’ hammam offers a relaxing escape. This contemporary reinterpretation of ancient bathing rituals can be enjoyed with the adjacent steam room and sauna. The amenity is directly connected to the building’s pool.
Julie Dannenberg from Hundred Stories PR said, “People are looking for different things than they were looking for five years ago. Being able to come home to place where you can put down your phone and computer and enter into an amenity space that will leave you completely relaxed and rejuvenated was very important to the developers as it’s in keeping with their tradition.”
Wellness amenities are a priority at 111 Murray Street, as they highlight their connection with nature, providing an immersive, restorative experience. The hammam is the centerpiece of the spa area with heated, sculpted marble beds and carved sinks, bringing a modern touch to the traditional Turkish bath. There are also treatment rooms, saunas and a hair salon enhance the whole experience.