Sunday, May 10, 2009
Day Spa - Korean Style
As a birthday gift, my niece, Zauditu invited me to a day at a spa. Now normally, if you say spa I start drooling, but she said Korean Spa and immediately I had a whole different response, because I had heard these spas are like bathhouses. And personally, I don’t go in for “public bathing”. I start having all kinds of ideas about how sanitary can it be? But I decided that since she was so excited about the idea, I would just say yes. Amazing things happen when you say, “yes” in life and I’m definitely up for what’s amazing.
The services offered at King Spa Sauna, are apparently a system of self-care that is traditionally Korean, because you will see generations of Korean women together. You’ll see a grandmother, with her daughter and her daughter’s daughter. Everyone walks around naked, except there are some ladies that are in black underwear. I finally realized they were the practitioners.
We walked into a very large wet room that was covered from floor to ceiling with marble and tile and water everywhere. This one room had a row of shower stalls, a pool of really hot water, a pool with lukewarm water, a pool with cold water, a steam room and rows of seating with shower-heads where you could sit and bathe, wash your hair, brush your teeth etc. You go from one pool to the other alternately relaxing and invigorating your system, depending on the temperature of the water. The herbal steam room was divine; the scent in there was euphoric. Then there were the massage tables where you received wet services such an exfoliation and wet massage.
The exfoliation was incredible. The practitioners wear these mittens that are like “brillo gloves” and they begin rubbing each and every part of your body systematically with these mittens. I was astounded at the amount of black, rolled dead skin that came off of my body. It was like yuk, puke. You want to believe that ugly, gross stuff is coming from somewhere else, somebody else, but no, it belonged to you. Afterwards, your body is as smooth a silk.
Having had a lot of massages over the years, it didn’t seem these were professional masseuses. You get the feeling, they haven’t really been to an accredited massage school, but it still, it feels good and relaxing. The downside of that is that they use baby oil, (definitely not the best). Next time I will bring my own oil.
All is said and done and now it’s time to leave and tip your practitioner. But there’s a “recommended” tip. But in this case “recommended” means a mandatory amount. The amount is $25.00, which is pricy considering that’s double an 18% tip. Oh well, it makes me wonder (like I do in nail salons) if the practitioners are on payroll or if tips are their only source of income???
All in all, I would definitely go again. It's a very relaxing and wonderful way to bond with friends, family, or loved ones. Though I must warn you, that you’ll be wishing you had a personal driver to take you home, and you’ll want to head right home to take a nap. All that water submerging seems to bring your exhaustion to the surface. At least that’s how I felt. I was really out of it for the rest of the day. Maybe, next time, I’ll try it at night. There was a lot more to do that we didn’t get to (like the Amethyst room, mineral salt room, gold pyramid room) but check it out for yourself. BTW, we went to the one in Palisades Park. I've heard the one in Flushing Queens, Inspa World a.k.a. Spa Castle is far more fabulous. And if you’ve already been to one of these Korean spas, tell us your experience.
Thank you Z, for a tremendous experience and for spending time with your Auntie!