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Turkish Baths - Cemberlitas or Sulimanye?????

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Babylon, New York
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Turkish Baths - Cemberlitas or Sulimanye?????

Hi everyone,

OK - I've been reading all the posts here and elsewhere on Turkish Baths and would REALLY like to pick one that will be a good experience for husband and almost-14 year old son, and a realistic one for me. Seems like most of the comments are on Cemberlitas or Sulimanye - -please help me decide which one of those 2 or recommend something non-touristy close to or in Sultanahmet area. (PS I did read Mr. Lob's review - VERY funny and informative......but have read women's side was not as quthentic)

Thanks for your help!

Columbia, SC
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1. Re: Turkish Baths - Cemberlitas or Sulimanye?????

Bonnie:

I haven't had experience at either, but I am going to Suleymaniye hamam next week on my trip.

I, too, did a lot of research on here and otherwise and found many comments in favor of Cemberlitas and Cogaglu (sp?), but I found many also that were really critical about the lack of services/treatment you receive for the money you pay. I saw nothing but overwhelmingly positive comments for Suleymaniye, so that is where we are going. It is more for my peace of mind - I don't want to pay a lot of money to go and then be sitting there the whole time frustrated/stressed out that I'm not getting what I paid for.

London, United...
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2. Re: Turkish Baths - Cemberlitas or Sulimanye?????

Hi Bonnie, I am a bit confused with what you say about Sulimaniye Hamam - Mr Lob went there with his wife and another couple, so it was a mixed or unisex hamam.

And twotogo - you most certainly don't want to spend your whole time fretting about the cost and value for money - the whole purpose of the hamam experience is to come out feeling thouroughly relaxed, clean, exhausted yet invigorated!

Babylon, New York
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3. Re: Turkish Baths - Cemberlitas or Sulimanye?????

Hi attagul -

I've so enjoyed all yur posts!

Yes I know suleymanye is coed (which i though might make hubby more comfortable) and loved Mr. Lob's description.

I'm not so worried about cost (though of course exorbitant is never good) - for me it's more about experiencing the best turkish bath i can get! :>)

I always try to go as non-touristy as possible....want to become as much a part of the local culture as i can wherever I go.

any of your insights will be much appreciated!

Bonnie

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4. Re: Turkish Baths - Cemberlitas or Sulimanye?????

Hi Bonnie!

I have only had the one Turkish bath in Istanbul and that was oh 6 years ago (!) now...! My husband and I went to Cemberlitas and both had a great experience. In the ladies section, I was the only foreigner there and I loved the steam and the warmth of the marble slab under your back as you lay watching the sunlight drift down through the starlike holes cut in the dome. The scrub down was great - and I loved all the soapy suds, and massage nice too. I have read all the bad comments about that hamam since on this forum - but all I can say is that I had a great experience, such a positive one that it is something that I have repeated since in different places in Turkey. And I have never experienced any painful massage either. All that happens with me is that my face goes bright bright red - for quite a while - but eventually fades!

Babylon, New York
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5. Re: Turkish Baths - Cemberlitas or Sulimanye?????

Thanks Attagul!

I had heard the place itself was beautiful and your description is so vivid.....

Personally I prefer separate men's and women's facilities, so I think I'll try Cemberlitas in spite of some of the reviews....we won't be there at the height of tourist season at least. I plan to try to get to hammami as often as possible in my crazy crammed trip to Turkey- I'm truly a spa junkie but have neither the time or the money to do it here at home very often. Know any good ones in Goreme, around Cerali or Pamukkale or Sirince?

By the way, I teach English and your writing is just beautiful - - you really should think of putting togehter a book of chapters on your experiences....... :>)

Bonnie

London, United...
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6. Re: Turkish Baths - Cemberlitas or Sulimanye?????

What (undeserved!) praise Bonnie - thanks!

There is a hamam in Goreme that opened last year - with separate men and women's sections - it is called Elis Kapadokya Hamam – newly opened last year in my Cappadocia trip report I said that it "looks very impressive, with separate male and female sections – but I must admit that I am a bit miffed that the men’s section is larger, with its own jacuzzi, separate changing rooms, relaxation area and cafe/bar…!" You can see it on its website:

www.elishamam.com. There is also a very old historic hamam in Urgup which I imagine would give you a true "Turkish experience" – but we did not venture into either of them. Don't know of any in your other areas - but I have been in one (mixed gender) in Finike.

I don't think your husband and son need worry about "untoward" in the men's section at Cemberlitas or indeed elsewhere in Turkey - my husband had a thoroughly good experience there.

Are you planning a hot air balloon trip when in Goreme - another memorable experience and one I am sure you can all enjoy!

Babylon, New York
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7. Re: Turkish Baths - Cemberlitas or Sulimanye?????

to all readers, I know this is a bit off the track of hammami, but had to finish with response.....

Hi attagul -

(undeserved!) praise - phooey! :>)

thanks for your recommendations - I may try the one in Urgup, if we have time. and yes - we are planning a balloon trip with Goreme Ballon Co. Have heard good things and the people at Kelebek where we are staying were able to arrange it through their Heritage travel at a good price (they've been very helpful with several things)

Our itinerary is crazy busy - having read your posts I know you wouldn't give it your seal of approval :>) - - but we've gone 'tasting' in other countries with great success. it works well with a teen who likes a lot of activity rather than wanderings - which husband andI love and hopefully will have more time for after he's away to college in a few years (I envision lazy days along coastlines involving lots of wine and finding of hidden gems when those days come). In case you haven't seen what we're up to, here's our itinerary - please feel free to add or advise (you can re-post on board under new topic if you like for everyone or private message me or answer me here - whatever suits you)

Day 1-Friday April 10 Arrive IST 10:00am; hotel car to Sultnamet/check in

hotel/lunch and see blue Mosque and Hajjia Sophia, Cistern; Hamam at Cemberlitas

Stay at Marmara guesthouse

Day 2 Sat. 4/11 Sights in Istanbul; Topkapi Palace, Grand bazaar, wandering around; public transportation 16:00 for 19:15 flight to Kayseri – Shuttle to Kelebek hotel

Day 3 Sun. 4/12 Goreme – Goreme (or Zelve) Open Air Museum; bus to end of Pigeon Valley and hike back; dinner at Allaturka ; view Sema at caravanserai

Day 4 Mon 4/13 Goreme Ballooning

rent car in Goreme for 1 days;

see Derinkuyu or Kaymakli Underground City, Ihlara Gorge, Selime & Guzelyurt villages and whatever else there's time for

night bus to Antalya; 40 TL PP with NEVSEHIRLILER bus company out of Goreme at 8pm

Day 5 Tues. 4/14 Wake in Antalya; Rent car and drive(economycarrentals.com) to Cirali/Olympos - Hotel Canada; Explore Olympos, Cirali area (waterfalls, ruins, beach, possible Mini-city in antalya or cable-tram in mountains south of city) – hike to Chimaera at dusk

Dinner at hotel Canada

Day 6 Wed. 4/15 Wake up in Cirali; -

drive to Aphrodesias over mountains (Possible Karain caves, Termessos stops?); on to Pamukkale arrive before sunset. View Pamukkale and Hieropolis at sunset; dinner at Venus Hotel

Day 7 – Thurs 4/16 let boys sleep – I take early excursion to mudbaths (led by b&b host – also possible trip to nomadic village that they host) – drive /explore route to Sirince; check out Nysa at a place called Sultanhisar.

Explore Sirince – taste some local wine BandB in sirince – Zeus Pansiyon or other (not sure yet)

Day 8 Fri. 4/17 Drive to Ephesus – see Ephesus 10:00 - ? (full day tour with Fatma) drive 1.5 hours to Izmir and drop car; 6pm flight to Istanbul (stay Marmara Guest House) Flight – Pegasus Air –

Day 9 Sa. 4/18 Istanbul/Bosphorus cruise; cruise out to end at Black Sea –possible bus back to stop at Ortokay? Wander/dinner then to Istakial area to walk around for dessert and late shopping.

Day 10 Sunday April 19 Flight leaves Istanbul at noon (possible early Hammam before we leave for me????)

London, United...
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8. Re: Turkish Baths - Cemberlitas or Sulimanye?????

Hey Bonnie/Attagul

More on hamams....hope you dont mind ! I just wanted to add that I went to Hamam in Nevsehir city about 4 years ago. It was an absolutely positive experience for me, spacious and clean and prices so fair, I could not believe how cheap (this is probably quite non commercialised compared to Goreme and Urgup with more tourists but I know that its a much cheaper part of Turkey too). As a tourist the bath attendants made me feel special and someone came to look after me at every opportunity. I recall the front reception being quite comfortable and a hamamci trying to explain some of the history to me (that unfortunately I have long forgotten as I was just so switched off after the best massage ever)! If you get a chance folks, do try it.

London, United...
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9. Re: Turkish Baths - Cemberlitas or Sulimanye?????

Well Bonnie - what can I say!! You are right, that is some crazy trip! But you obviously have done a lot of research and if you like to travel at that pace - go for it! I am certainly sure you will enjoy the Kelebek in Goreme, Hotel Canada in Cirali, and the Venus Hotel in Pamukkale.

Do come back with your trip report - I shall love to hear how it all went!

Babylon, New York
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10. Re: Turkish Baths - Cemberlitas or Sulimanye?????

Thanks cosycarol -

that's exactly what i'm hoping to find - a completely non-touristy experience........

wish me luck! :>) (I could probably go every day with my penchant for massages, but certainly won't have time.....)