For busy professionals, finding a few hours to unplug and care themselves can seem like an indulgence. However, places like a Korean spa allow for that moment of pampering — without the guilt of making it seem excessive.
Perhaps Los Angeles’ best example of such a space is Wi Spa, located along Wilshire Boulevard in downtown. It’s a 24/7 haven, where for just a $25 entrance fee, you can wade in a hot tub, meditate in a sauna room or eat a hearty Korean meal.
Upon entering, guests are handed a yellow Wi Spa t-shirt (to be worn on the co-ed floor), towels, and a waterproof wrist watch that serves as a locker key. They are then free to go to their respective gender floor or to the upper-level Jimjilbang, which means “bathhouse” in Korean.
On the women’s floor, for example, you’ll find a common area for sitting/napping, changing areas, and a pool-sauna facility that has a no-clothes policy. There’s even a small store where you can purchase various skincare products. (Pro tip: putting on a facial sheet mask after sitting in the sauna is a treat.)
What is worth noting at Wi is that despite dozens of other participants present, it never feels too crowded nor does it feel too hard to relax.
One of the spa’s signature services for women is the buff & massage ($70), which alone is worth carving some time away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Before the 70-minute treatment, you are advised to take a quick shower and dip in the hot tub. Next, one of the masseuses motions you to a massage table to begin the “buff,” which entails her scrubbing every inch of the body with a rough glove that feels like sandpaper. The process may be uncomfortable at first as you see dead skin falling and your body turning red. You can always tell your masseuse about to adjust the pressure. The buffing leaves you with supple, radiant skin that will last for weeks and garner compliments from observers wanting to know the secret to your glow.
You are then guided to take another shower and sit in the dry sauna for a few minutes before the massage starts. Using hot oil, the masseuse begins the rubdown on the back to relax the body after what it previously endured during the buffing. At this point, minding the clock is the least of your worries — it’s the perfect opportunity to take a nap or be present in the moment.
A facial mask made of fresh cucumbers (which reduces puffiness and fades dark spots, among other wonders) and a hair shampoo top off the procedure. What you do after these 70 minutes is entirely up to you, but drinking water and resting are a must as your body is undergoing detoxification.
Additional menu items are worth checking out as well, such as a manicure/pedicure, facials, and other variations of the buff and full-body massage.
After spending time on the gender-specific floor, a trip to Wi is not complete without visiting the upstairs Jimjilbang. You’ll find floorspace to lay down a mat to relax and a restaurant serving an array of made-to-order Korean dishes for when you feel hungry (the bibimbap is particularly satisfying).
The five-themed sauna rooms — Bulgama, Salt, Clay, Jade and Ice — are unique to the spa and each have their own healing powers. Spending a few minutes making the rounds at each of them can do wonders for your body, as saunas boast countless benefits, such as stress relief, detoxification, clearer skin and weight loss. (You can ask the front desk for more information about the numerous advantages.)
Whether you book one of the treatments or simply want to unwind at the sauna, there’s a reason what Wi Spa stands out among the pack of spas. It will leave you rejuvenated, clean and clearing your calendar for the next visit.
Wi Spa is located at 2700 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90057 (on the corner of Rampart). Visit http://www.wispausa.com/ for more details on spa services and specials. (Advertising Supplement)