Les Lauder and Mark Howard created Ottoman Hamam after falling in love with Turkey and the Authentic Handloomed Ottoman Towel on buying trips for their store Ottoman Empire in Fremantle, Western Australia. They discovered the towels in 2012 and were so taken with their beauty, integrity and history that they set up Ottoman Hamam as an online store and wholesale company in 2013 to bring them to Australia.

"We discovered a group of families in the south and south-east of Turkey who still do all the weaving by hand on traditional shuttled looms," says Mark. "These artisans produce what are considered some of the most luxurious towels in the world today. It is distressing to know that they almost lost their looms in 2009 to scrap metal due to competition with mass-produced factories, which can produce up to 30,000 boucle towels in the same time it takes one of our artisans to make one boucle towel by hand."

Mark and Les were amazed at the sheer quality, softness and luxury of the towels. So, after learning that there are only two families left in Turkey who know how to create the thickest, most luxurious, loop-pile towels, they were compelled to be part of ensuring the life of this craft.

"We deal in a lot of textiles from throughout the world and constantly see the workmanship of a craft that has been lost," says Les. "We didn’t want that to happen to the Authentic Handloomed Ottoman Towel, so set up Ottoman Hamam to introduce Australia to the handloomed towels and support the weaving families to continue their craft."

Mark Howard and Les Lauder are also the owners of Lauder and Howard Antiques and Fine Art and Ottoman Empire. They have dedicated more than 30 years of their lives to researching and sharing authentic design from throughout the world. Ottoman Hamam has been launched to celebrate and ensure the life of an artisan craft, plus allow us to experience in our own homes a luxurious, handloomed towel with provenance that dates back to 17th century Ottoman nobles. See Authenticity + Care for more on the history.


Luxury defines the boucle bath robes in the Ottoman Hamam collection. Like the boucle towels, they are made from GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified organic cotton and handloomed on shuttled looms by skilled artisans. They are a thick loop-pile design, ensuring quality and warmth. Available in Medium, Large and X-Large, plus we can enquire about availability of XX-Large on request. Due to the integrity of the handlooming process, the lifespan of these bath robes is up to 30 years.


This thick, luxurious towel was invented by the Ottoman weavers. Driven by the decadent demands of the women of the Royal Palace, they invented a ‘looping’ technique on their looms to raise the luxe factor. The thickest of the Ottoman Hamam boucle towels are made by the two remaining families who retain the knowledge of this technique. Towels are made from GOTS certified organic cotton and, in smaller quantities, best practice linen and bamboo. It can take one artisan up to 7.5 days to make one towel.


Our certified organic kese are made from tree bark on old-style shuttled looms. The kese is used in the hamam to remove dead skin; open pores to remove dirt and excess oils; reduce cellulite and prevent buildup; soften skin; and increase circulation and energise the body. Use when wet on a wet body with no soap and apply with long smooth strokes. Rinse off before using soap. User every 7-5 days. Your kese will last 3-4 years with proper care (see Authenticity & Care for more care information).

The Pestamel

This is the original hamam towel. A flatweave textile, it comes in simple to intricate designs in certified organic cotton. It is a light towel (even when wet), making it a perfect travel, sports, sauna or beach towel, or use as your everyday towel. Due to the design edge and weight, pestamels are extremely versatile – wear as scarves or use as table cloths, curtains, blankets or throws, or use it as a baby wrap or toddler towel. It’s a beautiful piece of cloth with uses limited only by imagination.


Ottoman Hamam carries a range of beautiful flatweave towels with boucle details. These towels are lighter than the boucle towels and come in beautiful raised patterns, such as a stripe and the traditional damask motif. They also share the versatility of the pestamel due to their lighter weight, so can be equally at home at the beach or sports club as your bathroom. Exuding a refined feel, they are also wonderful gifts for yourself or others.