Located in a little side street near the Russian consulate, Mona J’s new salon and spa is serene and surprisingly spacious. The salon includes dedicated areas for hair care, manicures, pedicures and makeup as well as massage and facial rooms and, most intriguingly, a hammam. I’m a huge fan of Turkish Hammam treatments so when I saw the Hammam facilities at Mona J’s new salon in Clifton, I couldn’t wait to try them out.
A traditional Turkish Hammam treatment involves relaxing in a steamy hammam, allowing your pores to open and your skin to soften. Your entire body is then scrubbed down with a loofah, getting rid of lots of dead skin. This is followed by a soap massage and then you are rinsed off with cool water, which helps close your pores. The treatment can be followed by a oil massage if you like.
I had two Hammam treatments when I visited Turkey last year, one at an ancient, historic hammam recommended by American Express near Taksim Square and one at a five-star resort in Antalia. Both yielded baby-soft, gorgeous skin but the “authentic” hammam was a bit of a nightmare: it had peeling walls and was more than a tad smelly and dilapidated – with zero privacy, which is even more of an issue when you go with your mum-in-law and sister-in-law! The resort in Antalia in contrast was fabulous: luxurious, private and oh-so-relaxing.
Mona J’s Hammam room is gorgeous; bathed in natural light from a sky-light, private and pristine. One of the things I love about Mona J’s new salon and spa is how spacious the treatment rooms are. Even though the spa is a converted house, Mona hired an architect who knew how to make use of natural light and she didn’t make the mistake of cramming too many treatment rooms into a small space. She has dedicated areas for makeup, mani-pedis and blow-dries and rooms for facials and massages, as well as the Hammam.
A hammam treatment involves being bathed in copious amounts of water. The treatment table is a beautiful stone slab, but for my treatment it was covered in a gold non-porous leatherite that is both hygienic and attractive. There are various hammam treatments available but the one I tried was the Royal Hammam which includes steam, exfoliation, a soap massage and a full body mask, followed by an oil massage. The masseuse was well versed in hammam techniques and skilled at massage. She refused to reveal exactly what the various cream and unguents she used contained, simply saying they were herbal but they had an organic quality. The mask had wheat and other ingredients and had a malai-like consistency while the soap had a heavenly coconut oil aroma. After being rinsed off after the full body mask, I relaxed with a cup of green tea before the oil massage. The entire experience was gloriously relaxing and my skin was incredibly smooth afterwards. My only quibble was that, unlike spas abroad, they don’t provide disposable underpants so do take along a spare pair to preserve your modesty! The steam could also have been hotter but apparently that’s adjustable so next time I’m going to ask them to crank it up 🙂
Mona J’s spa and salon is a welcome addition to Karachi. One unique feature is that Mona realises that a spa day is about relaxation and indulgence. She has provided areas for clients to relax post treatment, including a serene balcony on the first floor and beautiful rooftop terrace. The terrace can also be booked by a group and the spa has a kitchen to provide yummy treats for groups of friends who decide to book a spa day together. I sampled some of the little canapes that they offer, and they are top notch. This is definitely one place I’ll be visiting again