Amidst all the hustle and bustle of the Holidays and the new year upon us, you’re probably looking for a way to relax. The Klog is here to help, with a look at the best Korean spas (or jjimjilbangs, meaning “bathhouse” in Korean) on either coast. If you’re in NYC or LA, or headed to either of these cities anytime soon, read on to find the perfect spa for you!
First up, what makes a jjimjilbang?
These Korean spas are large, gender-segregated bathhouses that feature hot tubs, kiln saunas, massage tables, showers and more, depending on the individual spa’s set-up. Some are open 24 hours a day, meaning that they’re always available when you need some rejuvenation time. Come and spend the day soaking, napping, eating, and having your skin scrubbed into soft submission.
– The Best LA K-Spas –
Los Angeles is known for having a bit of a hippie, healthy vibe, and its K-spas are no different. Many have a focus on getting in touch with the inner “you” via a holistic approach to personal care and rejuvenation. In a city so full of crazy traffic and air pollution, a mellow day at the spa is the perfect way to end any week.
3500 W. 6th Street, Suite 321, Los Angeles
Photo courtesy of Crystal Spa
What makes it special? Free wifi, a cinema screen, delicious Korean cuisine from Sohayng restaurant… at first, Crystal Spa might sound like a shopping center as opposed to a spa, but it’s one of LA’s most beloved escapes. It’s the perfect place to spend a day relaxing, and it’s open 24 hours, which means you can pop in anytime to get your fix. The Charcoal Room is a must-experience, releasing negative ions into the air for a fully purified, relaxing environment. Afterwards, take a dip in the soft-water filtered pools, which promise to have the purest water in all of LA. Don’t forget to fill up on bibimbap before you head home!
Prices: General admission is $25 or $10 Monday-Friday before 8:30 am. Body scrubs start at $30 and a manicure-pedicure combination comes in at $45. Features some co-ed facilities.
1460 4th Street, Santa Monica
Photo courtesy of Tikkun Spa
What makes it special? Tikkun is named after the Hebrew saying “tikkun olam”, which means “repairing the world.” Korean-American founder Niki Schwarz and her husband, Dr. Charles Schwarz have found a way to combine the standard treatments of Korean spas with their Jewish beliefs in helping and healing others to create a peaceful sanctuary in Santa Monica. In addition to offering treatments like intensive body scrubs and massages, Tikkun also offers reiki healing treatments, acupuncture and flower essence therapy. While there, try Tikkun’s Korean Hwangto Clay Room which features clay tiles over far-infrared heat, a form of radiant heat that encourages 2-3 times more sweat than a hot air sauna at a cooler range. This technology is beneficial for boosting circulation, treating skin conditions and helping ease pain from muscle strains and arthritis. If you’re feeling too hot, either from the infrared heat or the blaring rays of the LA sun, retreat to the Ice Room for a blast of fresh, cold air which can help tighten the blood vessels and boost your immune system.
Prices: Massages begin at $65, as does a tradition Korean body scrub, and the spa offers other treatments that promise to promote glowing skin and reduce cellulite. Features some co-ed facilities.
– The Best NYC K-Spas –
New Yorkers are known for being blunt and straightforward, and the K-spas here have a similar approach, while still being the perfect place to relax after a frustrating MTA commute. Expect to shed your clothes and your ego when heading into any of these New York spots and leave feeling like a smoother, glowier you.
New York Spa & Sauna
14906 Northern Blvd, Flushing
What makes it special? No-frills and straight to the point, New York Spa & Sauna offers gender-separated, completely nude and impeccably clean bathing areas. If nudity isn’t your thing, then NY Spa & Sauna won’t be for you, but if you’re fine with that, head over to Flushing for a soothing experience (they encourage speaking in hushed tones) of hot tubs and cool baths on the main floor before changing into your provided uniform to head to the food court (which features a mix of Korean cuisine and more American snacks like burgers and fries), co-ed dry saunas and sleeping room. Yep, after an afternoon of soaking in the tubs, who wouldn’t want a nap?
Prices: General admission is $30, and a 30-minute body scrub comes in at $50. Features some co-ed facilities.
130-10 11 Avenue, College Point, New York
What makes it special?The original Spa Castle is a massive oasis, and it runs like a well-oiled machine. Each guest is given a Spa Key (an electronic watch), which not only unlocks your locker but also can be scanned throughout the day to purchase spa services and snacks, making it much more convenient than carrying around a wallet. Plan to spend the full day at the Castle, open from 8 am to midnight, as there are three floors to experience, as well as indoor and outdoor components to the spa. Enjoy the multiple restaurants and juice bars, various heated pools and saunas. Zone out in the Color Therapy sauna, which features colored lights to tap into the energies of the mind, body and soul. If you’re feeling energetic, head to the fitness center for a jog on the treadmill, or if the weather’s suitable, take a dip in the outdoor pools and then lounge on the sundeck. At the end of your visit, scan your Key one last time and pay your tab. For something closer to downtown, Spa Castle also offers their smaller offshoot, Premier 57, located at 115 E 57th Street.
Prices: General admission is $40 and a 30-minute body scrub will cost $60. Features some co-ed facilities.
Aura Wellness Spa
49 West 33rd St., New York
What makes it special? Looking to try the K-spa experience with your partner? Look no further than Aura Wellness Spa, renowned for its couples’ massage experiences. East meets west at this spa that combines modern-day luxury with centuries-old tradition. Bring your loved one to their therapeutic grottoes to heal your bodies, minds, and souls. In the crystal and jade steam grotto, breathe deeply to improve the respiratory system while tapping into the healing powers of crystals which are said to promote harmony, peace, and passion and more. The couples’ package will take you to a private suite with your choice of massage, facial or body scrub. While most K-spas offer personal rejuvenation, Aura Wellness Spa is there to help you bond with your partner in a relaxing environment.
Prices: One-hour Korean body scrub for one with access to the grottoes goes for $130, and couple packages begin at $300. Features some co-ed and private facilities.