This week I am on an assignment for Milwaukee Home Magazine. Part of my research was to check out the WELL Spa at the Pfister Hotel. The Pfister, if you don’t know, is the premier hotel in Milwaukee, an 1893 Victorian beauty that holds a AAA Four Diamond Award. When it opened, the Turkish bath in the basement was for men only and arguably the most luxurious in the country until the 1920s when it became a salon and barber shop. I don’t know that Milwaukee is commonly thought of as a spa destination, but if you’re in town or nearby, you might want to make it one.
I was looking for the Hammam experience. Turks adopted the Roman tradition of thermal baths and perfected it. A very hot soaking, exfoliation, and a deep-tissue massage. I’ve had them before when I lived in Turkey and as much as I liked the experience, it is much easier to go for comedy on it and talk about how much skin and flesh they remove in a scrubbing and big Johnny Turk’s best efforts to remove your limbs during the massage. The WELL Spa at the Pfister of course doesn’t offer that part of it, thankfully.
What they do offer is an experience that will leave you in bliss. Each spa suite has its own private bathroom and hammam shower — a steam room and rain shower that offers water coming at you from several different directions. You choose the scents of your massage oils and select from a variety of music (you can bring your own too).
I had a 50-minute massage and then was left to myself with the steam and a mud mixture to pull out all the body’s toxins in the hammam shower. One step beyond this would have been the Private Oasis and in that case a qualified esthetician does the exfoliation massage. This package runs $200 and lasts 80 minutes. Of course, these are just a couple options from a long list. Try this on for a Wisconsin experience: “Dairy State of Mind: starts with an all-natural combination of yogurt, organic milk, and honey. The blend is then gently massaged into the body, helping to diminish tissue lines while softening and energizing the skin.” They didn’t say if it was also edible.
Note to potential editors out there: I’m willing to go back and find out more.