To truly appreciate and enjoy a Korean spa in Los Angeles, it’s important to understand the rituals they are built upon. In Korea, most bathhouses (jjimjilbangs) are a popular place for friends and families to gather, similar to what was done in ancient Korea when most homes didn’t contain private bathing facilities. Working men with families living outside of the city use the facilities and sleep overnight after a hard day of work. Jjimjilbangs contain gender specific spa areas as well as communal co-ed areas.
Today, Korean spas are where ancient bathhouse traditions and modern spa cultures collide. People of all backgrounds love to enjoy the therapeutic effects of soaking, scrubbing and other signature jjimjilbang treatments. The spas contain themed mineral saunas that contain natural elements (each with their own wellness properties) used in traditional Korean medicine.
For those who are new to Korean spa culture, expect to be nude in the non-communal areas. It is customary to shower before starting the bathing ritual and prior to entering each sauna. Simple garments are provided to wear in the co-ed areas of the spas, and most provide a wristwatch key for lockers that often are used for purchases. Korean spas are meant to be a place to come and spend half a day, so come to enjoy, relax, pamper and commune. Leave your insecurities at the door and check out one of these spots.
2700 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90057
Wi Spa is home to a welcome respite from the busy city life that bustles around it. The expansive four-floor facility offers hot and cold baths, spa services (massage, body treatments, facials), beauty services (mani/pedi, hairstyling) and saunas. The co-ed floor features a full-service restaurant, Wi-Fi, a fitness room, open-air terrace and a kid’s zone. This is where you’ll find the jjimjilbang, consisting of five themed sauna rooms that are recommended to be experienced in sequence, starting with the bulgama (extra hot clay), salt, clay, jade and finishing with the ice sauna.
The regular daily admission fee is just $25 (includes parking, use of all spas, saunas, steam rooms, towels and lockers). If you book a treatment of $90 or more, the entrance fee is waived. There are also weekday promotions posted on their website. All charges incurred during your stay are made through the locker key they provide for convenience and ease. This spa is open 24/7 and you can stay as long as you like. It’s a family-friendly spa, a place where you can come and relax together after enjoying some personal time on your gender-segregated floor, of course.
3240 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Nestled inside the historic Wilshire Galleria (I.Magnin) building, guests discover a place to relax and unwind after a hectic day. The spa features cold/hot pools, wet/dry saunas, a jade room and a clay room. Services offered include body care, acupressure, skin care, nail services and tanning. Previous guests recommend bringing your own hair/body care products for showering if you’re picky. The co-ed area offers a peaceful room for getting some shuteye, a marble relaxation room to keep you in a Zen state of mind and a café in case you get a little hungry. The daily admission is $15 but it is waived if you book services of $55 or more.
CJ Grand Health Spa
10211 Balboa Blvd
Northridge, CA 91325
CJ Grand Health Spa is a hidden yet well-known gem in the northwest part of the valley that caters to those who crave a K-Town spa experience. It’s a little hard to find since it is set back from the street, located behind other buildings. Still, it’s well worth the reward once you get there. Inside you’ll find a clean facility with separate spa areas that feature dry/steam saunas, hot/cold Jacuzzis, a clay room, ice room, salt room and relaxation room.
You can’t pay for things using your key bracelet like at other spas, so you’ll have to get cash from your locker to purchase food or drinks. The unisex area, located upstairs, is the perfect place to sleep, lounge or watch TV. Past guests recommend bringing a pair of slippers to wear in the co-ed areas of the spa, bottled water and hair/skin products for showering if you’re particular about what you like. General admission for full access to the spa amenities is $20, a fee that is included if you book a treatment over $80.
3915 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90019
Are you a female that cringes at the idea of a co-ed area? Come here for a private women’s only spa experience. Olympic offers a therapeutic environment with spa rituals that include face/body treatments, massage and nail services. Detoxify and rejuvenate in the jade steam sauna, Mugwort tea pool, mineral sauna and the bichotan (charcoal) therapy room. This spa prides itself on pure and natural treatments to help renew your “qui” (energy) so you leave feeling brand new.
A popular treatment here is the Pure Bliss (aromatherapy massage and body scrub) for $100. Akasuri (scrub) is what devotees swear by for ageless Asian skin. Bathing suits and children under 14 are not permitted, so keep them and your bashfulness at home. A simple soak (admission fee) includes the use of all saunas, pools and therapy rooms for just $15. Book a treatment of $75 and up to include spa access at no additional charge.
Hankook Sauna & Spa
3121 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006
If you’re looking for a no-frills destination that is less crowded than its more popular counterparts, you’ve come to the right place. You’ll find that it’s one of the more tranquil spas around, with a clientele consisting of mostly a more mature, traditional Korean clientele that prefer a low-key vibe. It is also a women’s only facility with great service, making it an ideal place for newbies to familiarize themselves with the customs and protocol of the bathing ritual.
Hankook emphasizes their use of therapeutic mineral water with “66,000 negative ion molecules that consistently circulate within our spas, saunas and bathing areas.” The spa features a mineral mud therapy room, jade floor, dry sauna, herb steam room, warm/cold Jacuzzi and an aromatherapy hot tub. Treatments offered include body care, acupressure, personalized skin care and hair/nail services.
The spa has its own private lot for convenient and free parking. Entrance fee for the use of the spa is just $15; children 7 years or younger are not permitted in the facility.
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Joy Bitonio has the phrase “Joie de Vivre” tattooed on her shoulder, a reminder to enjoy life every single day. She has a voracious appetite for fun, adventure, food, good cocktails and works out like a madwoman to keep it all together. Check out her other articles on CBS L.A. She also covers fitness on Examiner. Follow her on Twitter.