As any of you who have braved a day of Disney know, laying low the next day is pretty much a requirement to nurse your poor, aching feet back to health.
Luckily for us, we had planned to spend the day after Disneyland in the Wi Spa in Koreatown, and do a whole lot of nothing.
As we headed from Anaheim to Downtown LA, the sky was uncharacteristically overcast with dark storm clouds looming overhead. So glad we had decided to take shelter instead of opt for a beach day, I thought to myself as we inched forward in yet another infamous LA back-up.
I’ve never been to a Korean spa before and wasn’t sure what to expect. I just knew there would be nudity, very hot temperatures and an opportunity to literally shed some skin (but more on that later).
But first let me show you around..
We spent most of our time in the Jimjilbang, the co-ed floor where there are saunas, a Korean restaurant, and a spacious common room for lounging around.
We started our sauna journey in the Bulgama, which was a sweltering 231 degrees. After, burning our feet (lesson learned: always wear slippers in saunas), we quickly sought out a less hostile environment. Impressively though, there was an elderly lady who was sweating it out in the bulgama; she was definitely not a spa rookie like us.
Our next stops were the Jade Room and the Salt Room, which were known for their mineral healing properties. My first experience with a salt room was in Las Vegas and I was excited to be reunited with another salt-themed sauna.
The third sauna-and perhaps the most usual one for me-was the Clay Room. The floor was made up of hundreds of hot, tiny clay balls. There was a walkway around the room because the balls were too hot to actually walk on. Instead you had to throw your towel down and then take a flying leap of faith that you would land on it from the walkway.
It was not the most comfortable room with the intense heat and unstable clay balls, but it was definitely an experience. On the plus side, Inside Out was playing in Korean on the flat screen above us as we marinated amidst the tiny clay coco puffs.
The Ice Room was our final stop and we stayed for a mere moment before ducking out from the shock of the temperature change (that can’t be healthy can it?).
Back in the common area we lounged around on provided mats, re-hydrated and people-watched. So fascinating to see the range of spa-goes on a Friday morning. There was the boisterous Bachelorette party, young families, people working remotely (um best workplace ever?) and plenty of elderly individuals who seemed like seasoned regulars (exhibit a: the grandma hanging in the bulgama).
Since this spa is 24 hours, you can technically sleep here for an extra fee. There was a separate semi-private space in the common area where some people were snoozing. It made sense that people would just want to crash here, especially after a late night spa session.
Since the weather was temperamental (read sudden downpours), we didn’t hang out on the roof. But from a quick glance with all the cushy lounge chairs, I’m planning to make the rooftop my first priority when we come back on a sunnier day.
The Body Scrub
So…about that skin shedding. When we first checked in, I scheduled a body buff after hearing how beneficial they were health wise. Right before the session, I started to have second thoughts about being scrubbed down in the nude (the more I thought about it, the more it seemed like a subtle form of torture).
Luckily, it was quite the opposite. I waited in the communal women’s hot tub area until a lady called my locker number, and showed me to my respective table. The treatment is not private, as there is nothing separating you from your next-door neighbor and their session, but I hardly noticed it after awhile. The actual exfoliation process is a bit painful, as they are removing layers of dead skin. At one point I looked over and saw a decent pile of skin next to my head. Afterwards though your skin feels as new as the day you were born.
Through it was not a relaxing treatment in the traditional sense, it was oddly renewing as I literally shed my skin on my birthday. Ah, so many metaphorical opportunities here, but I’ll spare you.
I had been eyeing the Korean restaurant since we arrived, but had wisely decided to wait until afterward my treatment to eat (my stomach was not spared in the heavy scrub down). The restaurant has an impressive menu, but I opted for kimbap, since dinner was a mere three hours away.
If you go…
There is no need to worry about money of any sort, since you can pay for food with your assigned wristband (this also opens your locker).
If you want to tip after your spa treatment, your masseuse will hand you an envelope for a tip with their name on it that you can drop off at the front desk on your way out.
Shorts and t-shirts are given to wear in the common areas, along with slippers. The women and men’s floors are clothing-optional, meaning everyone will be nude. It may seem weird at first, but after awhile it won’t be a big deal since everyone is in the same boat.
Make sure to keep the large bath towel that is given to you at the front desk. I somehow lost mine and had to make due with the teeny-tiny hand towels for the rest of my stay.
There is free WIFI in both the roof and the Jimjibang common area. There are also computers available and a small library (I swear this spa is its own self-sufficient planet).
There’s also a gym for those who want to work out.