Last year, everyone I know became obsessed with Spa World, the Korean Spa in Centreville, Virginia where you can sauna and steam and slough off your dead skin and bask in healing amethyst crystals, all for $35. But Centreville is a good hour-plus drive away, and nothing ruins a good spa high like getting stuck in DC traffic on the way home.
Which is why I was thrilled when a friend reported seeing signs for a Korean Spa in Baltimore, just off Route 40. Seoul Spa might not be as epic as Spa World (which is 50,000 square feet and kind of overwhelming at times), but it offers plenty of pampering and only costs $20 to get in. Once inside, women go to the women’s area and men’s to the men’s, where you strip down (nakedness is non-negotiable) and soak in various hot tubs — one’s infused with tea-like herbs, one’s freezing cold, etc. There’s also a wet sauna and a dry sauna. Once you get tired of this, you put on your spa-issued orange PJs and go out to the co-ed poultice rooms, which are heated from 122 to 196 (!) degrees. (There’s also an ice room that’s -15 degrees.) There’s a Himalayan salt room (which will “disinfect and treat any women reproduction problems”), a wood charcoal room (which will “expedite blood circulation and metabolism”), and a jewel room (which looks very pretty), among others.
Seoul Spa also features an excellent Korean restaurant, a workout room, an internet cafe, and the most intense massage chairs I’ve ever encountered. You can also sign up for a scrub + massage ($70, admission included), during which all your dead skin will be scrubbed off you by an intensely focused Korean lady. You’ll leave feeling re-born.