iSpa First Imipressions/Review

Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Hi Everyone!  I hope you are all doing well.  I don't have a ready nail pic to post, so instead, you get the joy of my son, TnT. =)  Isn't he adorable with my glasses? LOL

I'm sure you're surprised that I'm blogging again so soon, but I just HAD to share my experience with iSpa...a Korean Spa in Irvine, CA.  My two girlfriends and I had planned this day for about a month.  We read the reviews on Yelp and knew what to expect...kinda.  We were definitely intimidated by the fact that people would be walking around us butt naked, but hey...we could be grown ups and deal. =) Hahahah  So here's how our day went:

We checked in at the front desk.  We had already made an appointment for the scrub-massage, which included the spa fee ($70).  We had to pay the $70 up front, and we were given a "uniform" and a locker key.  Now mind you, I didn't actually bring anything besides my wallet and cell phone.  None of the reviews mentioned the need of anything, so I just went in "blind" lol.  When we entered the women's side, we were greeted by a hallway full of little lockers.  Our keys opened up the lockers (digital keys, might I add...pretty high-tech!), and we looked into these lockers like wtf.  They were super small...and wouldn't fit some of my friend's purses.  Luckily for me, I didn't bring much, so I could've squeezed all my stuff in.  Until, one of my friends read a sign "Shoe Locker". LOL  They were super small because they were only meant for shoes! *Whew!* So we throw in our shoes, lock the lockers and move on to the "real" lockers.

The regular lockers (opened by the same key, might I add), were relatively big, and came with a hanger.  We changed into our pink uniforms.  Basically, it was a light pink t-shirt and dark pink shorts.  I took off my bra, but left on my panties...I'm not sure if you are supposed to, but I definitely felt more comfortable that way. =)  Our appointment was at 3:30, but they recommend that you arrive at least 30 min prior to your appointment, so you have time to shower.  So we stepped out to what I dubbed, the Naked Room.  We had to get nakkid, and then use a tiny towel to dry up.  For me, that meant I could either cover front or back or top or bottom.  I elected for front.  One of my friends elected for bottom. LOL  Some people didn't even care and just had the towel wrapped up in their hair.  After taking a look around, we opted for the sit-down showers.  Each station was well lit, had a portable (not sure if I'm using the right word here, but hopefully you know what I mean) shower head, a little stool to sit on, and a basin.  Each was also equipped with shampoo, conditioner (Tresemme, Costco style!), and a bar of soap (something greenish...wish they had Dove!).  So we each grabbed a station, and went at it.  We were pretty much out in the open, but at this point, we were pretty much over the whole naked reservations, lol.  I wasn't sure what to expect from our scrub-massage, so we actually washed our hair along w/ our body.  It turned out later that they wash your hair for you in the scrub-massage.  So yeah...now we know (for next time!).  After rinsing off, we went to the dry sauna (sorry...I didn't even go into the wet/misty sauna because I always feel like I can't breathe!) for a few minutes.  It was pretty hot, and my friend couldn't take it anymore, so we went to sit by the hot tub.  We were actually supposed to get in and soak, but my friend thought the water was too hot, and we just ended sitting on the edge and soaking our feet, lol.  Soon there after, our number was called (they go by locker numbers, fyi!), and the scrub-massage commenced.

The employees here aren't naked. They were a black lacy bra & panty.  I had Jina as my person, and she was very professional.  She had me tie up my hair, and then lay on my stomach on the bed.  The beds were very cute...hot pink!  And made from some type of waterproof material.  She did put a nice warm, wet towel across my back and covered my butt.  It did feel better that I was semi-covered.  And then she started scrubbing with these abrasive mitts across my body.  She started at my feet and slowly worked her way up my body.  Then she had me flip over and scrubbed my frontside.  Yes, she scrubbed my butt and boobs.  She didn't even hesitate, lol.  She used some type of bar soap while she was scrubbing, and I saw some of the chunks of dead skin coming off.  It wasn't pretty...it was more along the lines of GROSS and disgusting!!  After she was done, she had me go take a shower (w/o giving me a towel, so I had to run (or walk fast, lol) naked to the showers for a quick rinse off.  Then come back and she had me dry off.  While I was gone, she had cleaned off all the dead skin from the bed and floor.  After she finished drying off the bed, she had me lay back down, on my stomach.  She did a massage pretty much the same as the scrub, starting with the feet and working up.  This was definitely NOT a relaxing massage.  It was more of an accupressure massage, where she would push hard in specific ares.  Although some points were a little painful, overall, it felt pretty good and afterwards, I was very relaxed.  She spent more time on my back than any where else, but she did hit some spots on my butt that hurt, lol.  She had me flip over and she washed my hair.  Afterwards, she began grating some cucumbers.  She washed my face (with a massage), and then rinsed it off.  She then put the grated cucumbers on as a mask, and put something soft over my eyes.  After that, she massaged my neck and shoulders (and boobs!).  This part of the massage was VERY nice...because that area is where I carry most of my stress.  She wiped off the cucumber mask and had me sit up.  Then she asked me to hold out my hands and squirted a warm milky liquid into it.  She told me to wash my face with it...and it felt very nice and moisturizing.  She also squirted it all over the rest of my body and told me I was done.  She then gave me an envelope with her name on it and I was done!  I rinsed off (wasn't sure if I was supposed to or not!) again, and then got dressed in my uniform.

We dried our hair, and decided to check out the co-ed areas (yes, prior to this all the areas were strictly females only).  Me and a friend decided we would be more comfortable w/ a bra, so we went to the locker and put ours on before heading to the co-ed area.  There was actually a sign on the door that said you needed to wear the uniform...I actually didn't know it was co-ed until my friend told me! LOL  But we checked out the food court (passing by a guy sleeping with a piece of wood for a pillow), and it was pretty good.  We tried a snack (Kimbap) and I tried a Caramel Frapp (they just asked for our locker number and put it on our tab).  The kimbap was very tasty, and the Frapp was pretty sweet.  In the food court, there is a "Light Therapy" room.  We tested it out for a couple minutes, but I'm not sure what it was supposed to do, lol.  Maybe relax you?  Unfortunately there's a very limited area where you can eat/drink, so we basically stuffed ourselves and then headed out to see the rest of the co-ed facilities.

First, we checked out the Fire Room.  It literally felt like I was in fire...even the bottom of my feet were burning.  I would totally wear socks in that room!  We couldn't really take being in that room for too long, so we decided to check out the next room.  This room was the Salt Room.  Oh man...the salt was WONDERFUL.  It was pretty hot in that room as well, but there were these towels laid over the salt and was very nice to lay on.  I think the salt was heated, and it's supposed to suck out impurities.  I enjoyed using the little neck blocks while laying down.  We just chilled for a few minutes and then moved to the next room. This room was called the Forest Room.  It was the coolest of the heating rooms, but still pretty warm.  It smells pretty piney and earthy.  We also just relaxed in here for a few minutes and then moved on to the Ice Room.  The Ice Room is basically a freezer, with a few jade stools to sit on.  There was a lady sitting down inside already, and she told us that we should bring a towel to sit on.  I guess we'll know for next time.  I tried sitting in the chair w/o a towel and my butt froze sooooo fast, lol.  I think we literally spent one minute inside and then checked out. LOL

We made our way back to the locker room and changed.  When we got to the front, we turned in our keys and paid our balances (from the food court).  Then we threw in a tip in the envelopes (there's a box for these near the cashier) and took off.  **Note:  They only accept cash for tips!!  They do have an ATM in the front, but I'm sure it has a humongous fee, lol.

All in all, iSpa was very fun.  We are planning to go back next month!  I would definitely recommend it to everyone, BUT...just don't be all caught up on the nakkid part.  I think it helps knowing exactly what to expect when you get there, so you don't look like a deer in the headlights.  Like we did.  But next time, we will totally be able to breeze through the process, and have even more fun!  I am very excited to go again.  But in the meantime, I will enjoy my baby-soft, super clean skin. =)

Things I would change for next time:
1. Go HOURS earlier than the appointment so I can relax in the co-ed area (especially in the Salt Room!).
2. Bring cash for tips.
3. Bring a facial mask to throw on (either after the scrub or while chillin in the Salt Room).
4. Don't wash my hair right before I go!

I hope this review helps those of you curious about Korean spas!!

Till Next Time!

1. I paid for iSpa myself.
2. iSpa did not pay me for this review.
3. I am not affiliated with iSpa.
4. These are my honest opinions.


Ericamos said...

You are so brave! The scrub and massage sound great, but I think I'd be too tense over being naked to fully enjoy it. Good review though. You should link it in Yelp if you haven't done so already.

Joanne Briones said...

Awesome, glad you had fun!! Dead skin FTW!!

Emerald Yeo said...

@Ericamos I think you'd be tense in the beginning, but hopefully you would eventually start to relax. It seems like nudity isn't a big deal in the Korean culture (at least around other women, lol), but we are definitely raised differently. I remember changing in the locker rooms in HS, and making a point not to show ANYTHING LOL.

@Joanne You need to come out w/ us next time you're here!! LOL