Day 3: Visit a Korean Spa for a Scrub and Massage
I thought visiting a Korean Spa for a salt scrub and a massage would be a big win. I mean, anything with the word “spa” in it has to be good right? Ummmm… maybe. My friend Sarah was visiting from NY and last time she was in LA she had a really great experience at one particular place called the Wilshire Spa. She said the scrubbing was a bit “intense” but therapeutic, and it made her feel very refreshed afterwards. I asked around and the response was pretty much unanimous that the K-town spas are great and I’d love the place on Wilshire. I did NOT love the place on Wilshire, but it was an interesting experience.
I didn’t expect luxury or frills, but I also thought the interior would be a little bit more peaceful or comforting. Instead I felt like the place looked a bit clinical, like a county hospital meets your local YMCA. There were a few hot tubs (fine), showers (fine), a wet and dry sauna (nice) and everyone MUST be NAKED. No clothing, underwear or bathing suits allowed. I don’t think I was supposed to take photos inside. Oops!
It’s a female-only facility, so you have to prepare to see a bunch of ladies of all ages, races and body types fully nude. Vaginas are in your face. Whatever.
When I saw the long line of beds lined up, I thought it was interesting that I’d be receiving my spa services with a room full of other naked strangers lying next to me, but I’m always up to try new things so I was like “Hose me down and scrub me up!”
So I was subsequently hosed down, scrubbed (very) hard, massaged (very) hard and had a semi-hostile experience with an angry Korean lady who was militant about making this a serious
massacre massage. This happened in a room full of other naked ladies also receiving the same or similar treatments. We mostly ignored each other. The scrub down itself was a bit hardcore, and I kind of wanted it to end the entire time. The massage part was just okay, but also not really too relaxing. Afterwards I went to lie down in the “crystal room” and thought “What the fuck am I doing here?” and got up and left. Sarah, on the other hand, really enjoyed her time there and left glowing, happy and refreshed.
It wasn’t terrible. It wasn’t like it was dirty, gross or embarrassing. It was fun to see what it’s like to hang out in a K-town spa for the day. The lack of privacy was almost a total non-factor. My weirdest thing to me is that the prices aren’t really cheaper than any other “basic” American spa, but this one was way more basic. It wasn’t a negative experience, but I don’t think I’d choose to go back over trying a new place. I’d recommend trying it yourself, as this is just my perspective. It was fun and different and at least I got to spend my Friday inside of ANY spa at all. I recognize that and either way I’m grateful.
Naked, hosed down and preparing to be scrubbed up. (Photo credit: Sarah)