The 5 Most-Naked, Least-Modest Spa Treatments in the World
Here are five spa treatments for which you'll just need to let it all hang out.
1. Turkish Hammam: A Turkish Hammam is sort of a like a communal bath, where you spend time in rooms of varying heat. The highlight is having your skin nearly flayed off with a loofah. (Some people call the resulting ribbons of removed skin "spaghetti".) In a traditional hammam, this scrubbing is administered by a person wearing a bathing suit, and usually within few view of everyone else. My observation has been that people mostly avert their gaze from the scrubee, these are rarely attractive angles for anyone.
There are spas that offer a more modest variation on a hammam treatment. The spa at La Mamounia, for instance, has a shared steam room (which you enter wearing a bathrobe, leave it on or take it off as you wish), and then a private room for the scrub-a-dub, with private shower. The post-hammam moisturizer is applied in a communal relaxation room, so gaze aversion strategies are still a must if you don't want to get an eyeful.
2. Vichy Shower: This is a widely available treatment for which you lie on a special spa bed, and get doused with warm water from a shower in the ceiling. Some spas allow you to wear disposable undies, but really, what's the point?
3. Ayurvedic Massage: You have to be entirely naked for an Ayurvedic treatment, since it starts with the pouring of sesame oil over your head. The massage is quite thorough -- for ladies, this means, breasts included, which tends to happen in massages outside the United States as a rule. Ayurveda is Indian, accordingly, head to the Coconut Lagoon in Kumarakom, Kerala for an authentic experience.
4. Roman Baths: A Roman bath is a variation on a Hammam (you can get scrubbed, optionally), but it's more elaborate -- you move through a series of steam rooms, saunas and pools set at varying temperatures. There are some baths that allow you to wear a bathing suit, but that's not the authentic manner. Go to the Friedrichsbad in Baden Baden Germany, which is pictured above -- certain days are both bathing suit-free and co-ed.
5. Japanese Sento: This is the Japanese version of a communal bath, and like any proper bath, it's in the buff. Check out these two traditional Sentos in Tokyo.