Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
Actually we lied. Although there was an element of truth. We were driving out to Werribee Park Mansion and Spa where I had booked my husband and myself in for a Turkish Hammam which involves the application of a thick dark exfoliant. It is made from finely ground vanilla beans and coffee, so yes, on first sight it does look a bit like mud.
But of course it is fragrant and gentle, so that is where any analogy ends.
Hammams are the latest thing in spa treatments, and this is the only one in Melbourne. Traditionally they were a Middle Eastern ritual of cleansing and purification in architecturally significant bath houses with huge high-ceilinged domes and steam rooms. Attendants applied and massaged and the place was full of chatter.
The modern take on the hammam is more private and personal, and particularly enjoyable for couples.
We were shown into a lovely room with soft down lighting and soothing music and presented with little divided bowls. On one side was the exfoliant (the dark concoction) and on the other, a rich hydrating mask. The nutrients would leave our bodies soft and hydrated.
The idea was to enter the beautifully tiled Turkish steam-room leading off our boudoir and then to rub each other's bodies with the treatments. Which kind of makes sense as it pretty hard to do your own back. Before the attendant left us, she said that no-one would disturb us for forty minutes.
There was a place to leave our clothes, so we then entered the steam room. You could still hear the gentle background music and the bench in the steam room is contoured, so you can lie back in total relaxation.
Every so often a waft of warm steam rose up in the delicately tiled chamber with a gentle whoosh. I'd had saunas before, but this was different. Far gentler and relaxing. Not just hot and clammy, but moisturising because of the sensual softening mask.
Modestly I'd taken in a towel but as it was getting damp it soon got ditched outside. Thank goodness the teenage son couldn't see and hopefully he won't read this.
After thirty glorious minutes of having my back massaged with exfoliant and soaking up the warmth and moisture - the sprinkling showers suddenly came on right above us like a shower of gentle spring rain.
These were beautifully warm and soft and washed away not only the "mud", but all the cares in the world.
We literally floated out of our hammam experience.
We stopped to have a drink in the heritage hotel to complete our afternoon of relaxation. It seemed a shame to have to hit the highway back to Melbourne. All those jostling trucks and whooshing cars. A few minutes later, the hissing started under the bonnet.
I pulled up on the side of the freeway and the car died. It seemed my car had decided to get in on the act and do some steaming of its own. As we waited for the tow-truck driver to come and save us for from the onslaught of hurtling cars, we could only reminisce about how peaceful and relaxed it had been only minutes before.