November 3, 2013
The best way to Istanbul, Turkey
From LAX, nonstop service to Istanbul is offered on Turkish Airlines and connecting service (change of plane) is offered on KLM, Lufthansa, British, Air France and Aeroflot. Restricted round-trip fares from $953, including taxes and fees.
Service at hamams can be pleasant, efficient or apathetic; on the busiest night I received the best service. Tip about 10%-15%.
Cagaloglu Hamami, http://www.cagalogluhamami.com.tr. Open daily 8 a.m.-8 p.m. women; 8 a.m.-10 p.m. men. Exfoliation and soap massage (including entry) from $50; entry only from $35 (you wash yourself). Cash only. Scrubbing mitt, towels, sandals and a changing cabin provided. A small boutique sells bathing essentials.
Cemberlitas Hamami, http://www.cemberlitashamami.com. Another choice popular with tourists; provides customers with a black bikini bottom. Although nudity is common, employees and some female patrons wear bikini bottoms; men generally wear towels around their waists. Exfoliation, soap wash and ½-hour massage from $60.
For those who prefer a more upscale, spa-like experience, with services from about $100:
Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamami, http://www.ayasofyahamami.com/en/index1.html
Kilic Ali Pasa Hamami, http://www.kilicalipasahamami.com
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