For a Japanese Spa, Head To Morocco

There are many different types of hammams to be found in Morocco, but for reliably clean facilities, and unique wellness treatments, a safe bet would be the spa at La Mamounia, Marrakech's fairytale hotel and 20-acre gardens. Still coasting on the success of a well-documented renovation in 2009, here is yet another reason to visit the sprawling Eden: the Japanese-inspired Hammam Shiseido Ritual.

Though our travel-weary bodies are constantly in need of a good scrubbing, and we love the thought of a long Japanese hot tub soak, our wallets aren't up for the cost of a trip to Tokyo. So instead, we say, head to Morocco!

We heard that's what Sarah Jessica Parker did, and that has to count for something... Shiseido refers to the Japanese beauty product line used in La Mamounia's $175 treatment, which debuted last month.

The word 'shiseido' translates as "the company that contributes to the quality of human life"—and since they are credited with introducing the concept of ice cream to Japan, we'd have to agree.

But for the purposes of the La Mamounia's Shiseido treatment, no ice cream is used (though wouldn't that be a fun way to get massaged!).

Instead, trained therapists combine Japanese elements (a bathing ceremony, a scalp massage) with hammam deep-cleansing rituals, all of which takes place inside a traditionally Moroccan setting (three hammams, eight treatment rooms, a relaxation room, six outdoor massage cabins, a jacuzzi, and an indoor ozone swimming pool), so you get the best of both worlds. Lasting an hour, the whole treatment includes: exfoliation, body scrub, light facial cleanse, massage, and application of nourishing moisturizers to the face and body.

Yes, you're paying more than the normal $10 at a public bath, but at the same time, you're learning about two different cultures. So call it an education. And feel good about it.

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