Korean spas are a dime-a-dozen in Koreatown, and going to these hot saunas is one of the unique things to do in Los Angeles. Kalbi, kimchi and KBBQ are just as much a part of Korean culture and the Koreatown experience as hot plunge pools and herbal steams. And with the popularity and late-night hours of the co-ed jimjilbang (communal heated rooms), a trip to the Korean spa might be your after-hours stop after a crawl of the city’s best bars, a hangover cure to sweat out last night’s debauchery or an all-day (and cheap) destination for rest and relaxation.
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The best Korean spas in L.A.
There’s the Korean sauna, then there’s Wi Spa. The 24-hour mega spa is the grand daddy of Koreatown saunas: Couples, groups and families (children included, making it seem more like Disneyland at times) spend hours in the expansive co-ed jimjilbang which includes five different heated rooms, TV and Wi-Fi–outfitted lounge area, library and computer room, restaurant and sleeping room. Couples and groups laze (and sweat) in oversized T-shirts and khaki shorts, before heading into separate men and women’s dry and wet saunas. The basic body scrub is a must-do for baby soft skin, while the Swedish and shiatsu-combo massage ($120/85 minutes) soothes away, through rough-and-tough pressure, tired muscles.
Admission fee: $25. Midnight–3:59am: $35.
Food served: Yes. Dine in on standard Korean staples in the cafeteria or the alfresco rooftop patio.
Extras: Gym, nail salon and kids’ zone
Though small, this City Center facility—located on the third floor of the Sixth and Alexandria Street mall—is the relative new kid on the block with all of the amenities you need. Groups and couples can sweat it out in the co-ed jimjilbang that boasts three heated rooms, an ice room and common lounge area complete with a cafe. Aveda products are stocked in the locker rooms and for sale at the spa’s retail store. And the facilities are some of the cleanest we’ve seen with a round-the-clock locker attendant who’s eager to replenish the locker room with stacks of towels, body scrub cloths and bins for your belongings. We love the body scrub and hot towel massage ($80 for one hour) and, if we’re feeling super splurge-y, add on the body wrap ($140).
Hours: Daily 6am–midnight
Admission fee: $30, Mon–Fri before 8:30am or with service $15, Wednesday spectial $20
Food served: Yes. Think: traditional Korean dishes such as bibimbap and nengmyun.
Jimjilbang: Yes. We particularly love the salt and charcoal rooms.
Ladies—sorry children and men, you’re not allowed in—treat yourself. Unwind in the hot soaking pools, dry and steam sauna and salt room and clay room. The facilities are tiny, but the point here is pampering yourself with mid-priced treatments. Be sure to book ahead during peak hours (weekends and after 5pm) and choose between services from facials and scrubs to mani/pedi and massages. We suggest going “Pure Bliss” ($120) with a full body scrub, an 85-minute aromatherapy massage and facial mask—you’re an hour and a half from reaching euphoria.
Hours: Daily 9am–10pm
Admission fee: $20, waived with service
Food served: Yes
Escape the city (and family and kids of Wi) 24/7 at this revamped Koreatown spot. Their slogan reads “shut up and sweat” and with all-day heated rooms and pools, you’ll do just that. Get your heart racing with your S.O. or bring a gaggle of girlfriends to roast, relax and, yes, sweat, in the communal, unisex jimjilbang. When you’re ready to head to the separate men’s and women’s saunas, dip in the herbal pool then rediscover baby soft skin with a milk scrub ($40 for 40 minutes).
Hours: Women’s spa: Daily 6am–midnight. Men’s spa: Mon–Wed, Fri, Sat 6am–3am; Thu, Sun 6am–2am.
Admission fee: $25, $10 with services $70–$100, waived with service over $100
Food served: Korean restaurant and juice bar
Extras: Adults and children can sign up for lessons at the golf range and indoor swimming pool.
This behemoth, 336,000-square-foot complex nearly takes up a whole city block with its sports facilities (golf range, indoor swimming pool, gym) and spa. Though members-only, plebeians can use the swanky Koreatown space by reserving a treatment from the extensive menu of spa treatments. The sophisticated sauna is set apart from the rest of the Koreatown spas with a more low-key pace and soothing treatments. We love the shiatsu ($60 for 55 minutes, $90 for 85 minutes, $120 for 115 minutes), an experience that’s actually relaxing in a seperated dry room. For those that find traditional scrubs too, er, abravise, there’s a gentle oil massage ($45 for 40 minutes).
Hours: Mon–Fri 6am–10pm; Sat, Sun 7am–10pm
Admission fee: $40
Food served: There’s a small cafe in each men and women’s sauna as well as plenty of Korean options in the same complex and block.
With the claim to the city’s only mineral hot tub, this Koreatown spa caters not only to regulars of the soak-and-scrub Korean sauna, but also to newbies and those willing to dish out a few extra bucks for this hydrotherapy treatment. Amenities and facilities are basic (and could use a touch-up) with separate men’s and women’s soaking tubs and steam and dry saunas. Services include the obligatory body scrub—foam-top tables are divided by glass panels in a dark, tiled room—massages and facials, as well as spray tanning and waxing. The spa closes earlier than most (daily at 9pm), but this one-stop shop means finding your zen (and your inner outer beauty) is easier than ever.
Hours: Daily 9am–9pm
Admission fee: $30, weekends $40
Food served: No