Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamamı

Hamam in Sultanahmet

This meticulously restored twin hamam dating to 1556 offers the most luxurious traditional bath experience in the Old City. Designed by Mimar Sinan, it was built just across the road from Aya Sofya by order of Süleyman the Magnificent and named in honour of his wife Haseki Hürrem Sultan, commonly known as Roxelana.

The building's three-year, US$13 million restoration, completed in 2011, was closely monitored by heritage authorities and the end result is wonderful: it retains Sinan's austere design but endows it with an understated modern luxury. There are separate baths for males and females, both with a handsome soğukluk (entrance vestibule) surrounded by wooden change cubicles. Treatments are expert and the surrounds are exceptionally clean. The basic 30-minute bath treatment costs €55 and includes a scrub and soap massage, olive-oil soap and a personal kese (coarse cloth mitten used for exfoliation). Book ahead in high season. In warm weather, a cafe and restaurant operate on the outdoor terrace.