When you step into a Los Angeles Korean spa, leave your Western assumptions and attitudes behind. Western spas are quiet and private. Korean spas are anything but. Korean spas are meant to be social. Go with friends or make new ones you meet in the sauna. Discover why a Korean spa is such a recommended Los Angeles experience. Here are a few key differences to keep in mind to get the most out of your spa experience.
Korean spas are no place to be modest. People in co-ed areas usually wear a pair of shorts and a robe, but nudity is the norm the wet areas that include the pools, steam rooms and saunas. It can be a bit jarring for the uninitiated, but your nakedness is quickly forgotten. Nobody bats an eye. You’ll see bodies of all shapes and sizes. Naked areas are segregated by gender. Relax about your body. It’s no big deal and part of the cultural experience.
You may feel like you’re getting all your skin rubbed off in a Korean body scrub, but trust me, the results are well worth it. Your skin will be softer than a baby’s, even if you feel raw after losing several layers of skin.
Also be prepared to shower about 50 times during a visit. You shower off before you do any new activity, whether visiting the tea Jacuzzi, steam room or the pool. The first shower should include shampoo and soap. Anything after that is just a rinse down. Not showering before doing a new spa treatment is considered impolite.
Add this to your list of creative hacks you’ve read on the Internet: You can actually use a LA Korean spa as a hotel for a night, get a soak and a decent scrub down, and still pay less than you would for a hotel or Airbnb. Talk about a cool thing to do in LA!
As writer Maya Kachroo-Levine explains in LA Weekly, it has to be a 24 hour Korean spa, and Los Angeles has plenty. She did her experimental stay-cation at Wi Spa after watching a segment on Conan.
“Overall, the answer is a resounding yes, you can use a 24-hour Korean spa as your hotel for the night,” Kachroo-Levine explains. “You can eat and spa as much as you want, and you can get a pretty decent sleep on the heated floor on your mat and pillow. (There are blankets too, and I recommend going double mat for best sleeping results.) If you don’t want to sleep in the coed area, there’s also a sleeping floor in the women’s area (and I assume one in the men’s as well), and there are cozy armchairs and televisions on nearly every floor.”
Technically, the entrance fee is only good until 4 a.m., but an extra $10 will let you stay until 11 a.m. So if you don’t mind sleeping on a mat in a group area and relaxing in a Korean spa all night, it makes a fine hotel.
On the other hand, if you’re hitting up the nightlife scene in LA beforehand, maybe not such a good idea. Drunkenness and naked stranger bodies, while definitely offbeat LA material, don’t really mix well. You don’t need to be setting sleaze traps and getting yourself into trouble. Just book a hotel and sleep it off like a normal person. That way, you’re always free to grab a late night taco truck, always a must for a night of drinking in Los Angeles.
If you’re visiting a Korean spa while in Los Angeles, prepare to get naked. Check your modesty in a locker. Naked areas are separated by gender, and it’s really no big deal. You’ll forget all about it five minutes in. And the first thing you’ll want to do is shower. The first one is an actual cleaning. And then you shower after each activity as a quick rinse. And be prepared for the full body scrub. Yes, it’s going to hurt, but afterwards, you’ll feel like pure bliss. You’re going to lose a layer or two of skin. It’s not pleasant. But when it’s done, you feel like a newborn baby.