Name of Hamam: Atik Valide Turkish Bath (sometimes Valide-I Atık)
Date Built: 1579 but the signs posted don’t agree with one another
Traditional style: Yes
Date of Visit: April 30 2018
Location: Tabaklar Mahallesi, Eski Toptaşı Caddesi No. 104 ÜSKÜDAR
Price (in Lira): 30/20 (hamam entry/scrub+massage)
Tip Expected: Not begged for but you can still give a small tip
Drinks: Yes Free: No
There is a section for both Men and Women
Reviewed for: Men
Final Score: 43.5/50 (87%)
Despite the fact that Google Maps translates the name of this place to “Mother Historic Bath Waste” this is actually a great hamam that we would highly recomend. It’s fairly easy to find and a little out of the touristic centre making for a less touristic, more authentic Bathhouse. Atik Valide Turkish Bath was built in 1579 by the most renowned architect of the day and for the most part the restoration work hasn’t ruined the esthetic making for a very authentic and attractive hamam. If cleanliness is a major concern for you then this is really a good bet as its one of the cleanest we’ve been in.
The only way I wouldn’t recommend this hamam is if you were planning on coming in a large group (over 5 people) or if you’re a group of tall people. Only one of the three massage tables could fit someone over 6 feet tall.
Length of stay: 5
Note: No one rushed us in any way and when they finally did beckon us in for the scrub and massage we felt like it was the perfect amount of time.
Change room: 4
Note: The change rooms are pretty standard other than the fact that all of the change rooms are on the second floor.
Common room: 4
Note: Atik Valide Turkish Bath was restored in 1985, an era not exactly known for quality restoration. However, this place looks great, the common room still has a very authentic feel, and after coming out of the hamam there are a number of couches to lounge and have a cool drink on.
Hamam Features: 4.5
Note: All the main features were there, including a steam room, hot marble slab, and little rooms for a bit of extra privacy. The only downside was that the steam room was fairly small and it was hard to sit with more than 2 people together in the rest of the hamam.
Hamam esthetics: 4
Note: Atik Valide Turkish Bath was built by Mimar Sinan, the most celebrated architect of the Ottoman period and the simple, though beautiful, design reflects this. The dome in particular is quite beautiful with far more ‘elephant eye’ holes letting in a great deal of light. Unfortunately the upper walls and semi-domes have been covered in ugly little brown tiles and some of the repairs were poorly done. Overall the esthetics are quite good though, so it gets a 4/5
Note: the Hamam itself and the change rooms were quite clean. The towels and sheets all seemed fresh.
Note: Everything was well heated where it should be, the steam room, water temperature, marble slab, etc. were all as hot as you’d want them and the cold water cold.
Note: This was the most scent free hamam we’ve been to yet! No smell in the change rooms, not a hint of mildew in the hamam, and only a little bit of bad smell in the bathrooms and massage room. The mildly scented soaps quickly masked any other smell that was there. Altogether very impressive for a nearly 500 year old building full of water!
Quality of Scrub/Massage: 3.5
Note: The massage was thorough and traditional with the big inflated cloth bag being used to make the suds, a nice mild-scented soap (Haci Şakir if you happen to be interested), and so forth. The negatives were that the massage was quite soft and that the tables that the massages were done on were way too short. I wasn’t the tallest in our group and I wasn’t even close to fitting which made it rather uncomfortable. If the scrub and massage had been done in the hamam part, on the heated stone slab this wouldn’t have been an issue. Also, doing the scrub and massage in the main room of the hamam under the dome is always better.
Note: The staff were fairly friendly though not exactly talkative. They weren’t pushy in any way and didn’t nag for tips.
This Hamam has an unusually good website (even if the picture of Venice is weird and unrelated) where you can make reservations, get directions, etc.
Have any tips or info to add? Spot any mistakes? We’d love to hear about it.