An essential part of any visit to Istanbul is a scrub-down at a hamam (Turkish bath). The top destination for tourists is the 300-year-old Cagaloglu Hamami in the center of Sultanahmet. Guests enter one of two doors, depending on sex, and are treated to a thorough scrub down and massage under soaring marble columns, high-domed ceilings, and Romanesque arches. Afterwards, guests are served hot tea and fruit juices in the sogukluk (relaxation room) while wrapped head-to-toe in special cloth towels. Past guests have included Kaiser Wilhelm, Franz Liszt, Florence Nightingale, and Tony Curtis.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.