Sunday, October 11, 2009

Scrub A Dub Dub

I hate it when my secret favorites get out.

In today's LA Times, they outed my secret little Korean Day Spa.  I guess its really not too much of a secret, but in these tough economic times, their services are even more of a steal than normal.  For a little over $100 you can get their Marine Style Treatment or their Asian Secret Treatment, both of which involve 90 minutes of goodies like body scrubs, facial packs and oil massages.

As the LA Times points out, this is not your Burke Williams experience.  This is not the hush-hush-walk-softly-treatments-in-progress, everyone's covered up, cushy plush robes, slippers and cucumber water spa.  In fact, that's what I love about it.  My first time at the spa (alone, I always go alone) I was struck by the three B's - boobs, belly and bush.  There's a lot of it, and it's all out there; this is not a spa for the naked-shy, and sorry ladies, its not all pretty.  But what I really noticed was the community of the spa.  That night nearly all the patrons were Korean, and they ranged from 10-year old little girls to 80 year-old grandmothers.  They all carried those little plastic bins with handles you can get at Target, for taking your toiletries to the bathroom on the floor of your college dorm, filled with their own personal soaps and scrubs and tinctures.  Old women and mothers were relaxing, some applying lotion to each others backs, while children moved from the spa tubs to the various types of hot saunas and back out to the showers.  No one was shy, everyone was comfortable and respectful.  It wasn't to noisy, but conversations were taking place and the atmosphere was relaxed.

The spa itself is dimly lit and a large open space.  There are three soaking tubs: one cool, one moderate temperature, and the hot one, that looks like a hot tub of tea (because it pretty much is).  The treatment area is out in the open, separated from the rest of the spa by a low wall.  Six tables are lined up a few feet from each other, middle-aged Korean women in lacy undergarments pummel and knead you right there, and yes, they will talk to each other over your prone bodies.  Don't expect new age music and lavender aromatherapy,  but once you close your eyes you won't notice they're there.

When I say pummel, I'm not really exaggerating.  When they say "body scrub" they mean scrub in quite the vigorous sense, and every part of you will be scrubbed (this is not for those with sensitive skin) until you feel a bit red and raw.  This may be the only time my armpits are touched when I am not ticklish, probably because I am distracted by the ferociousness of the scrubbing.  It might sound awful, but really, its quite lovely if you like it a little rough, and your skin is smoother than a sweet baby's butt when they are done.

So there it is, the Century Day Spa, where you can spend $100 steamed, soaked and scrubbed up.  I suppose its good all the way around - the economy is still depressing and everyone could use a little inexpensive indulgence, and the spa will certainly welcome the business.

Just don't ask me about my sushi bar.

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