Name of Hamam: Tahta Minare Turkish Bath
Date Built: uncertain
Traditional style: Yes
Date of Visit: Jan 12 2018
Location: Istanbul, Balat, Vodina Caddesi
Price (in Lira):47 20/15/10/2 (hamam entry/scrub/massage/soap)
Tip Expected: No
Drinks: Yes Free: No (tea was given free after)
There is no section for Women
Reviewed for: Men
Final Score: 30/50 (60%)
Tahta Minare Turkish Bath was a bit of a letdown. It’s in the heart of one of our favorite neighborhoods and had looked promising from the entryway. The biggest issues were the sauna which really needs to be redone or just done away with, the heat issues, and some more thorough cleaning. Tahta Minare Turkish Bath is a basic restoration away from being a good historic style hamam but it isn’t quite there yet.
Length of stay: 4.5
Note: We were given as much time as we wanted, and that’s always a good thing. However that may be because we had to wait for the place to heat up.
Change room: 3
Note: Change rooms were slightly smaller than usual making laying down impossible for many of us. As the common room was actually used as a bit of a lounge this wasn’t a real issue though. Clear windows didn’t give much for privacy but that’s fairly standard.
Common room: 4
Note: The common room was in a classsic style if somewhat small. There was a fireplace in the middle of the room and that always makes things better. The common room also scores more points for having some chairs and a couch where we could actually sit and cool down.
Hamam Features: 2
Note: The main elements were there; the marble slab in the centre, corner rooms of different temperatures, and a sauna. The sauna was more of a negative than a posItive though. It was in horrific shape. The isssue is you need to use real wood, not particle board and wallpaper in a hot and humid space. The walls were peeling, sagging, and mouldy.
Hamam esthetics: 2.5
Note: While this hamam is small it was built in an attactive classic style. Unfortunately its not in the best of shape and needs some serious care. The potential is there for this to be a decent little hamam again but at the moment it’s not looking very good.
Note: While the changerooms were clean the heated section could have been cleaner. The sauna section was deplorable.
Note: As is fairly common at these smaller hamams where they might only have 4 guests in a day, it wasn’t hot yet when we went in and had to wait for it to really warm up. The water was as nice and hot or cold as you would want. The major drawback is that the section that warmed up the quickest became brutally hot. The bench was hot enough to cause damage to my rear and near-boiling water was leaking through the floor and burnt my toes. So this was not an issue of lacking heat as much as the right amount of heat in the right places. The heated slab was quite nice though.
Note: The change rooms were fine. The shower/toilet section was exceptionally bad, and the hamam itself was average with that faint musty smell that is common to most historic hamams. The sauna was again deplorable. The fact that the most important sections of this hamam were ok keeps this score from being any lower.
Quality of Scrub/Massage: 4
Note: Quality, thorough scrub. Not too soft and no one went home covered in bruises either though the one and only masseur seemed a bit winded by the time he had finished with our small group.
Note: Staff were friendly and at no moment were they pushy. Overall good service.
Have any tips or info to add? Spot any mistakes? We’d love to hear about it.