“This is a childhood dream that I have realized against all odds”, says with a smile Amil Ghattas, the owner of Ghattas– Turkish Hamam in the old city of Acre. “Initially everyone laughed at the idea – now they all laugh at themselves.”
The Ghattas Hamam was recently opened after years of hard work. Now it can be said that the effort was worthwhile: From the moment you enter the complex (behind Uri-Buri – you can’t miss the signs) you feel as if you have entered a different place. Another time. In the lobby you will meet Amil or Janus, his son, an active partner in the management and operation of the complex (as is Amil’s wife and other sons). From this moment on you are at the mercy of the Ghattas’s. You have been blessed.
Hamam visitors are about to face a powerful experience that is probably indescribable. Nevertheless we will try: it is an experience consisting of three to four hours of euphoria in a blazing, streaming space; exiting the elegant wardrobes, accompanied by the sounds of gentile Arabic music, with only a traditional Turkish cloth fluttering over your loins, you will encounter Turkish faucets, a wet sauna, a dry sauna (“according to European standards. Not according to the Hamam’s of ancient times. We decided to add”), a personal treatment room and blazing hot marble starting at the floor, onto the benches and the treatment beds and up to the ‘Beit Alnar’ the treatment stage (“covered with Guatemala marble, known for its ability to preserve and emit heat that is beneficial to the human body”). Amil finds it important to point out, that the total construction is subject to safety and ministry of health standards.
Indeed, it is an insane fun. Alone or with a spouse; as a group of girls or as a group of boys; for a bachelorette party; end of military service celebration or just bonding among friends or family. The masseuses (male or female at your request) are part of the experience, so let your hair down a bit and let the sponge gourd and the special olive oil bath foam soften your flesh in preparation for the carob branches flogging.
Hamam Ghattas has an infinite potential. It is an experience of a lifetime in an unusual setting – and no less important – among unusual hosts. Amil: “I feel that the place opens people up. Brings them closer. Suddenly local youth can sit and listen to the older folks tell their stories about the 1950’s. Both Jews and Arabs talk among themselves as if the world outside doesn’t exist.” The heat at Hamam Ghattas melts down barriers and opens up pores and hearts. It’s a fact.