Two years ago, Jodie Appel, owner of Asheville Salt Cave, took a trip to Turkey. “While I was there I experienced a traditional hammam, a Turkish bathhouse,” she says. “This is an ancient bathing tradition: a beautiful ritual of cleansing, deep exfoliation and skin renewal.”
Appel was so moved by her experience in Turkey that she wanted to bring a hammam to Asheville. “Even with all the self care and healing offerings we have in Asheville, we didn’t have anything like a hammam,” she says. “It invites us to create a bathing ritual out of something we, as Americans, tend to do quickly and unconsciously all the time. It is also excellent for the skin: detoxifying, highly exfoliating and restorative.
The construction of the hammam, which is an addition to the existing facilities at Asheville Salt Cave, hasn’t been easy. The hammam uses a large amount of water and heat, so careful building is imperative. Appel found a specialist to construct the space, which was designed by Appel and her creative team. “We started by researching traditional hammam spaces and then we started to put our own twist on it,” she says. “You will see elements of Morocco and Turkey combined with our own personal preferences.” There are copper elements throughout on faucets, sinks and bowls. Appel hired a local tile artist, Liz Roberts, to create a tile mosaic for the room. “This is a space that is designed to feel warm, inviting, safe and rich,” says Appel. “A space we want people to remember after they leave.”