Last week, I finally made use of my co-worker’s Secret Santa gift, which was a Groupon ticket to Island Spa & Sauna, a Korean spa located in Edison, New Jersey. My friends and I have been planning for weeks to go and when we finally did, my body and mind were just super ready for this inexpensive adventure of relaxation. I headed out the night before a strong snow storm would take place on the East Coast.
As I went to the reception desk, they handed me my Spa outfit, which usually consists of a huge t-shirt and huge shorts, almost like you’re wearing a pair of your brother’s basketball shorts. They also handed me a bracelet with a key and that key had a 3-digit number on it, which represents your locker number. Korean spas are very cautious when it comes to guests walking around with their shoes so you are given your own locker to just place your shoes in.
I adored the wooden decor theme they had going on and you notice that when you first go in. From poles resembling a tree to bamboo sticks creating a divider to bench seats that you’d find in a sauna… it’s a relaxing and eco-friendly environment. After, you are asked to walk down the hallway and go to the Women’s or Men’s area (depending what you are, of course) to change into your clothes and put your stuff away in your locker destined for that. Inside the locker room area, there is also a lounge area to sit back and hangout and it leads to the Korean bathhouse. Just a warning, if you go in here first, you’ll expect to see everyone in their birthday suits… and most people in the locker room as well.
After changing, I met up with my friends to the main area/lobby. We grabbed some cold treats first, which was a delicious green tea shake-like concoction (actually reminds me of a Korean version of the Filipino dessert ‘halo-halo’). We then went through the lobby, which continued onto the eco-friendly theme, and saw leather chairs laid out everywhere with a huge screen displaying animations of landscapes. Palm leave plants were placed in every corner.
The coolest part of the place? It would have to be the saunas shaped into igloos. There’s also a dining area where you can order Japanese and Korean foods through the kitchen where we ate some sushi prior getting into the saunas. You already know that this place has a lot of things that you can do as you walk in.
We then went into the variety of saunas that the place had, all located in their own igloos. They are all called ‘islands’ but named differently and all had different temperatures with a different purpose… with 172 degrees fahrenheit being the highest (and almost unbearable for me). As you can see below:
We hung out in all of the saunas and relaxed ourselves through the heat. Although, it’s best to stay quiet and not be so loud in them especially if you’re with your group of friends since other people will actually go out there to truly ‘relax’ and that means blocking off any noise possible.
All of them were really nice considering they all went along with the theme they are named after. For example, in ‘Salt Island’, you will see pink salt bricks constructed throughout the walls and as props. Then in ‘Charcoal Island’, you can see charcoal stained woods embedded on the walls. One of the saunas differed from the rest and that one would be the Ice Island one. Unlike the rest with heat being steamed off, the Ice Island has cold temperatures released throughout the room. The atmosphere was awesome too considering it was lit under blue lights and had pipes covered in frost/snow.
By the back of the igloos, we found a couple secret rooms that led to a movie theater and a room with the most comfiest bean bag chairs. In there, you can also play a movie if you wanted.
Last but not least of our spa night, we went to hit the jacuzzis in the bathhouse. This is where we had to let loose in a non-judgmental place. Besides a series of jacuzzis, there are showers with shampoos, conditioners, and body wash bottles and a blazing hot sauna with wooden benches (by the way, the islands did not have any benches you can sit on) and a shower. You are also welcomed to bring your own beauty products, whether that’s a face mask, face washes, body scrubs, etc.
I really enjoyed my stay at Island Spa & Sauna and truly felt rejuvenated into a cleaner and de-stressed person when I walked out. I can’t wait for my next spa experience already and I can’t stress enough (haha unintentional pun) how important it is to try out a spa once in a while.
Here are some reasons why you should have this experience:
You’ll get cleaned.
You’ll have the opportunity to take your shower after you sweat off in all the variety of saunas they have going on. You get to remove your dead skin off your body (saunas will certainly help you with that along with your favorite body scrub) and you’ll feel hydrated and refreshed after all that. Not only that, but spas are proven to help you detox and remove toxins from your body.
You’ll forget what it’s like to be on your phones.
Since it’s not a place where you can be on your phone since your phone will probably feel overheated in a sauna with all the high temperatures, you’ll feel more relaxed when you’re simply immersed in the environment with no distractions. However, I admit I was kind of guilty for taking my phone for the sake of taking photos for this blog post but I prob wouldn’t take it out in the next time, that’s for sure.
You’ll learn to be out of your comfort zone.
I was shocked seeing a bunch of naked people, especially as I’ve never gone to a nude beach or a place that allowed nudity, but you’ll soon remember that this is natural and everyone has something going on under the clothes they wear. You don’t have to go to the bathhouse, of course, since being in your birthday suit is a rule in the Korean spas but if you’re feeling like you can finally feel free in a judgement-free zone , this is your opportunity.
You’ll learn silence is golden.
The spas are known to have a quiet vibe to its environment. Even though the place is also the perfect place to socialize and have a pampering party with your friends, it’s not a party environment that you can be loud and rowdy in. Whispering, especially in saunas shared by others, could be your way of communicating instead.
Until next time with more adventures to share!