Sometimes when you can’t get away and the weather is just yucky (if you read this blog, you may have gotten an inkling that the weather in Chicago SUCKS!), you have to pretend to go away by experiencing a different culture at home. To that end, Steven and I went to one of the best relaxation places ever, King Spa, a Korean spa in Niles (there’s one in Dallas, too, and I think others on the way), a town just west of us.
If you have never been to a Korean spa, go now (unless you are too shy or modest to get into a hot tub with a bunch of naked people of your own gender–but you can skip that part)! It’s an experience. As I just mentioned, there are hot tubs and saunas in the locker room areas, where you can also get scrubbed down by Korean women wearing black bras and panties (much to my dismay…the scrubbers in the men’s locker room are Korean men). I’m not sure why they can’t wear bathing suits or uniforms, but they don’t.
Inside the locker room are stacks of what look almost like pink scrub tops and elastic-waisted shorts that everyone wears in the common areas; the men wear gray. No shoes. No one is self-conscious in those get-ups, though, because everyone is wearing them. Some people are even walking around with the very popular Korean face mask treatments that are conveniently sold around the The spa contains many different hot rooms, where people just sit and breathe. One room has walls covered in salt, another in amethyst. There’s an ice room, too. Upstairs, there are an ion and an oxygen room. If you just want to chill, there are lounge chairs and recliners, too. Many people fall asleep and the gentle sounds of snores are common. I am not sure I buy into the alleged benefits of the different types of rooms, but it sure is relaxing.
For extra charges, you can schedule a massage or facial. Those of us with the appropriate anatomy can also have a “V-steam.” You could practically live in King Spa, since there is also a Korean food restaurant with vegetarian options and a movie theater (although you don’t get to pick what’s playing). The only caveat is that if you are there after 2 a.m., you get charged $10 for an overnight stay. If you’re there longer than 24 hours, there’s a $2 per hour fee. I’m tempted.