Wi Spa: an urban sanctuary in the heart of LA

Think of a spa and the immediate perception is an air of pretense and privilege that only a select few can indulge in, given the exorbitant prices.
However, if you live in Los Angeles, Korean spas have sprouted up, contributing to the idea that pampering oneself and affordability are not mutually exclusive.
Though the options are abundant, among the best is Wi Spa, known as the “Disneyland of Korean day spas.” While there are no shiny bells and whistles to it, the spa certainly lives up to its reputation as an urban sanctuary, and it’s family-friendly too.
Prior to venturing into a Korean spa, one must understand the significance it plays in Korean culture: a communal place for friends and families to gather, bathe and receive the therapeutic benefits rooted in ancient bathhouse traditions.
Conveniently located in between Koreatown and Downtown, Wi Spa itself is an expansive, multi-level facility (48,000 square feet, to be exact) that blends the bathhouse tradition with the modernity of marble and glass interiors. It is open 24/7, so you can go anytime, even on a whim.
Enter Wi and the process of unwinding begins. For starters, valet parking is complimentary to relieve you of the stress of having to find parking, especially when there are a lot of guests checked in.
With the $25 admission fee, you gain full access to amenities like a fitness room, pools, showers, saunas, a restaurant, and the rooftop deck. A wristwatch is given as your locker key and form of identification during your stay.
The rush of cramming in the day spa experience and trying out all the rooms is practically gone, as you are welcome to stay for hours on end. There are spaces to lounge in between services and even designated “sleeping rooms” for those who want to doze off in peace.
Wi is divided into gender-specific floors, where the spa and other facilities are located, as well as locker rooms and changing areas. For Korean spa newbies, it’s best to take a shower once you get settled in to wash away the day’s grime (dirt and the tubs do not make a great combination) and to ensure you get the maximum benefits of anything you decide to do, like sweating it out in the sauna. Outside the bathing areas, you’ll find changing rooms, complete with vanities and toiletries.
And take this as a fair warning to expect nudity from guests of the same gender, but any judgments and awkwardness should be left at the door.
If you want to treat yourself further, the spa offers a menu of body treatments at the fraction of the price tag you’d find at a spa elsewhere in the city. Better yet, if you purchase a treatment worth $110 or more, the entrance fee is waived. The usual spa treatments, like acupressure massages, facials, manicure/ pedicure, can be booked by reservation. But one must try the full-body scrub, perhaps Wi’s signature offering.
Based on the traditional Korean technique of buffing, the scrub entails a procedure of sloughing off dead skin cells with an exfoliating towel, as you lie down on a table and get doused with water every so often. It may take a few minutes to get accustomed to the intensity, but the person (of the same gender) administering the service repeatedly asks you if you’re doing fine. The service can last 35 minutes ($30) or can be reserved as a $90 package complete with the scrub, aroma oil massage, a face mask and hair shampoo, which all lasts for 90 minutes. Depending on one’s pain tolerance, the impression afterward may vary, but you’ll feel cleaner after the dead skin is washed off to make way for the lasting effects of radiating, supple skin.
On the co-ed floor (called the Jimjilbang, which translates to “bathhouse”), guests are required to wear the yellow T-shirt and khaki shorts received upon check-in. There you’ll find families and couples convening at one of the five specialty sauna rooms, noshing on Korean cuisine staples at the full-service restaurant, or taking in fresh air on the rooftop deck. The floor also features a kid’s area, a library and computer room.
It’s worth noting that the five sauna rooms—Bulgama, Salt, Clay, Jade and Ice—boast unique characteristics that contribute to the detoxification and healing powers. The Bulgama is set at 231 degrees, inviting guests to lie down somewhere between 10 to 15 minutes to sweat out toxins from the body; Salt features minerals to purify and strengthen the body; layers of clay improved from Korea are placed in the Clay sauna to aid in lymphatic stimulation and heavy metal detoxification; the Jade room is hot to relieve any tension and stress; and the Ice sauna is recommended to end your visit to cool the body’s temperature, tighten the skin and improve circulation.
If you felt like you’ve detoxed enough from technology, free Wi-Fi is provided throughout the building to bring you back from your moment of zen, as are TVs in lounge areas.
Before you leave, don’t forget to take another shower and close out your tab. Whether you stay for an hour or the whole day, it’s nearly impossible to not feel rejuvenated and make you itch for another visit. Good thing, Wi won’t leave holes in your wallet.  (AJPress) 
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. 

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

The Filipino-American Community Newspaper. Your News. Your Community. Your Journal. Since 1991.