In 2018 METreat Women's Retreats had the pleasure of hosting 3 retreats at the charming Continental House in Hepburn Springs.
We all had a glorious time full of laughter and relaxation with activities including bushwalking, yoga, massage and plenty of delicious food crafted by Conti and their retreat catering partners.
However, the absolute highlight of each retreat was the one hour group bathing ritual offered at the stunning onsite Turkish Hammam.
Having experienced the 'real thing' in Turkey, hosts Veronica & Steve had meticulously planned and built an authentic Turkish Hammam on site at Conti using imported Turkish marble and bathing accessories.
In keeping with the spirit of Conti, they decided to offer a slightly more feminine and gentle bathing experience for Conti guests than what usually takes place in the bathhouses of Turkey!!
Naturally the ladies were all a little nervous about what to expect - especially the group bathing part of the ritual! They were asked to put on bathers and were given a traditional Turkish sarong and scrubbing mitt to bring with them.
We met in the beautifully decorated relaxation room built next to the Hammam, where 'Sheba's Eyes' evoked a sense of calm, femininity and the exotic. We were offered coconut or natural water to hydrate prior to the bathing experience.
We were then taken into the Hammam, which was warm, steamy and glowing in a soft fluorescent blue light. We were invited to relax and get used to our surrounds, then start scrubbing ourselves and each other with the scrubbing mitt that we had been provided with.
It felt a bit intimate to be scrubbing another woman's body, but as we relaxed into the process it became almost meditative and very satisfying.
Two of Conti's massage therapists then guided us through the bathing ritual. First we were invited to sit on a low stool and had a bucket of warm water poured over us.
Next, after scrubbing each other, each guest was invited to lie down on the warm marble tiles and their bathing partner was taught how to use a 'Dream Pillow'. This was a pillow case dipped in soapy and warm clay filled water which was gently filled with air to make a pillow full of warm bubbles. The bubbles were then dripped onto each of us and massaged into our skin. The room was filled with giggles and appreciation as we all experienced the relaxing soapy bubbles and firm massage.
We then rinsed the bubbles off by pouring bowls of clean warm water over each other. The final stage of ritual was once again sitting on the low stool having progressively cooler and cooler water poured over us - a slightly startling but refreshing way to conclude our the ritual!
Post Hammam, we relaxed in the adjacent room where were offered a rehydrating mist spray for our faces and advised to drink plenty of fluids.
The group bathing exprience was magnificent and something we highly recommend. It was intimate, bonding, cleansing, educational, refreshing and relaxing.
Luckily we are heading back to Continental House for our February 2020 METreat Weekend Retreat and will be offering the Turkish Hammam Group Bathing Experience as one of the extras on offer during our Saturday afternoon 'Dreamtime'.
Dates of the retreat are Friday 28 February to Sunday 1 March 2020.
We hope you can join us and treat yourself to this novel and unique experience.
Vikki & Tanya