1. THEY’RE CONVENIENT AND ACCESSIBLE
As soon as you walk into a Korean spa (my Manhattan favorite: Midtown’s Spa Castle Premier 57), you’ll likely be handed a bracelet that automatically unlocks your locker and tracks all your spending so you never have to pull out your wallet. If you’re hungry, there’s usually a full-service snack bar with a variety of meals, coffee, and classic Korean desserts like the shaved ice treat patbingsoo. Most K-spas offer the basic amenities: free toothbrushes, along with towels, shampoo, and sometimes even loofahs, but depending on the spa it will vary, so it’s always best to call ahead to confirm. My only recommendation is that you bring your own sheet mask or two. Ready to leave and need to get dolled up? There is a vanity area with blow dryers, hair products, and (of course) Korean skin care products. This is all included in the affordable admission fee that typically ranges from $30 to $65.
2. IT’S AN ALL-DAY AFFAIR
Pack your bags, because you’ll be here for a while. Unlike a traditional massage appointment that has you in and out in under an hour, Korean spas give you the gift of time, and many have extended hours that begin well before breakfast and last late into the night, so you can even book a post-work session and feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. With, theoretically, all day to bathe, sweat out toxins, and munch on snacks while wearing comfy pajamas, I never feel like I am on the clock. This is especially important while living a city where you’re given the stink eye for enjoying a long dinner at a popular restaurant. At a Korean spa, there is no such thing as overstaying your welcome.
3. YOU’RE IN GOOD COMPANY
While you can come alone and be in your own blissful bubble if you choose, it’s equally appealing to bring along your friends, family, or significant other. For me, catching up with my besties in a relaxing setting is a perfect way to shed stress and a welcome change from the typical boozy brunch meetup. That being said, keep in mind that you’ll likely be fully nude while in the shower areas and steam room—these spaces are divided by gender. But don’t dismiss a K-spa as a fun couples activity; the lounges, larger pools, and dry saunas are coed areas where you can eat, snooze, and detox, clad in the ultra-flattering (ahem) loungewear provided by the spa.
4. REJUVENATE YOUR MIND AND YOUR BODY
All the activities in the Korean spa are designed with your well-being in mind. Sweat out toxins in the wet or dry sauna. Exfoliate your entire body with the traditional Korean body scrub and emerge with soft, velvety skin. Tighten your pores and increase circulation by taking a trip to the ice igloo room. Sink your body into a room of Korean clay, which helps with inflammation and has antiaging powers. My personal favorite: taking a nap in the sleeping or meditation room. There is nothing better than transporting yourself to back to kindergarden status.
5. THEY’RE IN EVERY MAJOR CITY
Need help finding one? If your city’s not on the list below, get to yelping—the nearest K-spa is probably closer than you think.
115 E. 57th St., 8th flr.
New York, NY 10022
1875 Geary Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94115
2700 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90057
Carrollton, Texas (near Dallas)
1020 Raiford Rd.
Carrollton, TX 75007
809 Civic Center Dr.
Niles, IL 60714
3555 Gwinnett Place Dr. NW
Duluth, GA 30096