Spa Palace

I didn’t think it was possible, but I’ve found a Korean spa that I like more than Wi! The newly opened Spa Palace is just as huge, but cleaner and more peaceful. For now at least it’s a fluffy safe haven. I imagine once word gets out it’s gonna get busier and more hectic.

First off, they have valet parking – FREE with validation! Plus the valet drivers are super nice and helpful with directions so make sure you tip them!

After you drop your car off, you take the elevator to the reception level. They give you a comfy pair of shorts and a t-shirt, plus one large towel (which can be replaced later if you ask.)  I’m usually not a fan of gender binaries, but I do like wearing pink.
IMG_20150905_165706The pool area is decked out with Roman pillars and has a regal look. Shower stalls include vanity mirrors. There are the usual hot and cold pools, plus a dry and wet sauna. The wet sauna has a rich herbal steam that you just want to breathe deep into your lungs.

The women’s only area also has a resting room and a salt room. Plus a very dark nature room where I took a long nap.

The jimjilbang (coed) has the usual array of rooms to cycle through.

Totally understand that they’re going with the palace-theme here, but the door knobs are quite loud whenever you open and close them… so be careful!

oMy favorites were the clay ball room and the Elvan Stone Room. Also, I normally can’t handle the heat of a salt room, but I recommend checking this one out because of its epic ceiling art.
o1If you get hungry, there’s a restaurant with a separate dining area. The menu looked yummy so I’ll have to try a dish next time I come.

After 2 hours of detoxing, I enjoyed primping in the powder room before heading out to face the world again. Ladies, sit down in front of their vanity mirrors because the lighting makes you look gorgeous from every angle.

Spa Palace
620 S Union Ave
Los Angeles, CA90017

Grade: A

Pros: Clean wide open space, friendly service. Lots of rooms and activities to select from. Fun gym uniform to wear. Great music in the locker room.

Cons: Will probably start to get crowded and dirty in a few months, so enjoy this palace while it’s still new!

Crystal Spa

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I love Aveda products, and Crystal Spa keeps their showers stocked with them, so I was excited when my friend Angela sent me a Groupon deal for this pricey beauty lodge. The entry fee is normally $30 ($5 more than Wi Spa’s $25 fee). Is it worth the splurge? Well let’s break it down and see…

Service: There is free parking with validation, but good luck finding the lot …. the entrance is on Mariposa.  Be careful you don’t end up going into the other lot which also has an entrance on Mariposa and charges a flat rate of $4 after 6pm. It has an automated machine and no attendant so even if you drive in mistakenly and try to drive out (like I did) you’ll be charged . =(
Crystal-SpaThe front desk area includes several display cases of Aveda products, with testers! The better to smell you .. you $30 bottle of organic toner.

The employees are friendly and bilingual. The women’s area is brightly lit and fairly clean. You get a robe, full sized towel, shorts and a shirt. The material of the uniform is rather thick and scratchy, kind of like what a nurse would wear. And forget fashionable. I prefer Wi Spa’s cotton shirts.

Women’s Locker Room/Spa

In the vanity area there are bottles of Aveda body lotion, face lotion, and make-up remover.

The shower area has Aveda shower gel, shampoo, and lotion. They also have a bowl of salt to brush your teeth plus tubes of white bamboo toothpaste.

As for the shower facilities … it takes awhile to get hot water. Everything looks run down and is definitely not as clean as Wi.

There’s a jacuzzi and cold pool, plus a wet and dry sauna.

In the common area (jimjilbang) there are four rooms.

Charcoal Room – has a very lovely ceiling made up of wooden logs that I could stare at for hours.
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Salt Room – not my favorite room because the ground was so hot it burned the soles of my feet, but it is pleasantly decorated and once you lie down it’s not so bad.
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Yellow Sand Room
– This is the hottest room temperature wise, and my favorite because I love dry heat. The room is filled with mud from the Chungchoong Jincheon region. Unfortunately just when I was starting to relax in this room a fat white dude let out a HUGE fart, then looked directly at me and said, “I can do that.” Uhhh yeah, good for you. I quickly left and did not return to the room until a proper 30 minutes of dissipation had occurred.

Ice room – this is basically a room with AC, no ice on the walls or interesting decor. But it does its job of cooling you down after a round of sweating it out.

Cafe:

It was closed by I think 10pm so I wasn’t able to try anything, but the menu looked decent. The eating area was also quite clean, which helps when you’re seated on the floor.

Next to the cafe was plenty of space to nap and watch MBC (no sound). There was also a festive Christmas tree up.

Crystal Spa

3500 W 6th St
Ste 321
Los Angeles, CA90020

 Grade: B+

Pros: Aveda products! Great customer service! Enjoy (fairly) clean and modern rooms. No need to worry about kids running around, most of the adult conversations were quiet although totally within earshot. Did I mention the Aveda products? You can also sample several of them in the front reception area, and make purchases for whatever suits your fancy. Also, while parking was stressful, they do validate up to six hours. You’re not limited to one towel, and the attendant is on top of keeping everything tidy and stocked.

Cons: Don’t pay full price – it’s definitely not worth the $30 entry fee, so keep your eye out for Groupons. The shower area is kind of depressing. Not in an Orange is the New Black kind of way… but close enough.

 

Wilshire Spa

Gave Wilshire Spa a go.

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The daily entry fee is $20 ($25 after 10pm) but with a GroupOn I got in for $10. There’s also free parking with validation.

A lot of the women wore flip flops. One lady even had on swim shoes. I understand the need to keep feet clean and the fear or shower floor fungus, but wearing shoes only made the floor dirtier since everyone tracked whatever was on the bottom of their footwear onto the tiles. I’d rather people just wash their feet super clean.

The decor was pleasant but nothing impressive. I did enjoy alternating between the cold and hot pools. That’s not something I’d normally bother with, but I had come with a friend who was really encouraging about it and helped me get over the initial shock of ice cold water.

pools

We also snuck into the steam room even though there was a sign saying that it was closed. It was still operational, although part of the ceiling was falling down.  Other rooms include a sauna, salt room, and charcoal room. The rooms were small, probably couldn’t fit more than 4 people comfortably, but luckily there wasn’t too many ladies around. The men have their own area, and there’s no unisex level to meet up, so don’t expect to lounge with your boy.

There’s plenty of water, no cafe. If you want food, the front desk will order takeout for you and have it delivered.  They offer scrubs and massages, but the massage area looks like a marine surgical unit so I didn’t partake.

I had a really fun time because I came with my friend and it was a great bonding experience, something about sweating out your pores allows conversation to move more freely. I think if I had come alone though I would’ve been bored with access to only a few rooms, and I’d probably drive my self crazy focusing on the visible grime.

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Pros: Friendly diverse atmosphere, I saw people of all races here, and everyone seemed open to casual conversation. The wood in the locker room is IKEAesque pretty. Easy parking, decent neighborhood with lots of restaurants nearby.

Cons: No extra towels, cheap lotions, subpar cleanliness, limited facilities. Does not operate 24 hours, open till 2am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Grade: C+

Wilshire Spa
3442 Wilshire Blvd
Ste 100
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Neighborhood: Koreatown
(213) 387-0281