A World Away at Spa World, Part II

Previously we discussed what the inside of giant Korean day spa Spa World (Centreville, VA) is like and what you can expect to find there. I didn’t get to my favorite part of the spa, however – the big bathing room with the Bade Pool! Once again, I’m going to be very detailed because I find this is the part of Spa World that people have the most questions about.

The men’s and women’s bathing rooms are completely separate and are accessed through the respective locker rooms. The required attire for the bathing room is your birthday suit. Like I said before, the spa is very big on keeping things clean and free of outside dirt, so the only things you will be wearing in there are your electromagnetic key wristband (don’t worry, the water won’t hurt it) and a hair tie. You cannot even bring in your own towel; you are to use the little white towels they provide, which are more like hand towels. Obviously, this makes a lot of people want to skip the Bade Pool. I have seen many reviews of Spa World in which people were afraid to use the pool room for this reason. While I definitely understand the hesitation there, I really believe the Bade Pool is the best part of the whole spa and I would hate for anyone to miss out on it. Whom you visit the spa with probably makes a big difference. It would likely be awkward for me to visit with a friend, but with my sister is fine. And I saw many ladies just chilling out by themselves, towels folded up in a Princess Leia style on the top of their heads. (I wish I could figure out how to do that. My sister kind of got it down.)

Princess Leia's famous hair is hard to replicate with a little towel.

Anyway! Now that this is understood, let’s talk about what you can find in the bathing room. First of all, the bathing room has a medium level of noise. It is mainly there for relaxation and so while you can chat, doing cannonballs into the pool or whatever won’t be tolerated by the attendants. (I saw them order a group of young women who kept horseplaying and shrieking out of the pool.) Since the spa has such strict standards of cleanliness, you are required to take a shower every time you exit and enter the pool. The showers are located inside the bathing area all along one wall. There are no curtains and no privacy here either. If you prefer to bathe semi-privately, you can find rows of sit-down showers to your right with walls separating the rows. These have shelves with shower heads you pull off the wall if you want. There are also big plastic bowls, and plastic stools. Soap and big bottles of shampoo and conditioner are provided.

The Bade Pool itself is pretty big and probably about five feet deep max. It looks like a recreational swimming pool with multiple spa jets all around the walls. The temperature hovers near a regular human body temperature. I’m not sure where the Bade Pool concept originated from, but it seems to be a fairly new idea. I have heard that the Bade Pool has its origins in Germany, but I also see where Bade Pools are popular in spas in Korea and Japan. The only other Bade Pool I’m aware of on the East Coast of the U.S. is at another Korean spa called Spa Castle in New York.

The Bade Pool has different stations; it’s recommended that you follow them in a specific order, but no one’s going to make you. I noted it was common for ladies who seemed to know each other to situate themselves in neighboring stations while catching up on all the latest gossip. Oh, and children are not allowed in the Bade Pool itself unless they are over 4 feet tall and have an adult with them, but there is a neighboring children’s spa bath that adults can take their little ones into.

Station 1 is the fountain in the middle of the pool. If you’ve ever seen those large, mushroom-shaped waterfall fountains at certain kids’ pools, this was the same thing, only made of a gray metal, and with much hotter water. Relaxing against the mushroom’s “stem” while the water pours down is very rejuvenating, as is letting the water hit your back. The fountain comes on and off at certain times.

The next three stations are all stalls against one wall that have various jets. You can use the buttons to turn the jets on. I loved getting a foot massage at one of these. Other stalls were just a bit too strong for my taste. You can sit in some but have to stand in others.

The next wall has two different types of stations that were harder for me to grasp … literally. The wall has very powerful jets, and you’re supposed to hang on to a bar. Good luck with that.

Next, there’s an alcove with some tall showers that are supposed to send water down onto your neck. These were out of order and I was incredibly disappointed! Finally, you have two more stations, each of which has round rails and lots of bubbly jets, one with a foot jet.

If all that wasn’t enough, there are multiple other services around the bathing area. For starters, you can pay extra to get a full body scrub. Yes, you are still unclothed for this also. The scrubs are located behind some walls in the sit-down shower area. You might giggle when you see the scrub ladies’ uniforms are similar to simple black lingerie, but that’s typical attire. You should not feel threatened by any of the attendants. They are friendly, but some do not speak much English. There are various spa scrubs available, and you can sign up with the locker room attendants just outside the bathing area. If you have any questions or concerns, I recommend that you ask these attendants when you sign up. When it is your turn, the scrub ladies will come looking to see whose key matches the number they have. Depending on how long you have been at the Bade Pool, they may request that you soak in a separate hot tub for up to 30 minutes first. My sister and I both purchased a 30 minute spa scrub for $50, which was charged to our keys. Tips are included for this particular service. You lay on a pink cot-like table for your scrub. (Remember the elementary school nurse’s office cots?) The attendant pours hot water over your body and then scrubs you head to toe with these amazing exfoliating gloves. There will not be an inch of dead skin left on your body (except maybe your feet) when she is done. I don’t want to gross anyone out, but you will be stunned to see what has come off of your skin. Ewww. Much like a massage, you will be asked to flip this way and that. You will also receive a quick dousing of soap and a head, neck, and face massage. (When the lady scrubbed my feet, I laughed and accidentally kicked her oil bottle! Oops!) Finally, you’ll be required to go take another shower before you get back in the Bade Pool. You will note your skin is the smoothest and softest it has ever been in your adult life. It will stay this way at least a good week or two with no maintenance on your part.

Aside from the scrubs, you’ll find the following:

Sunflower Shower. This is a single shower stall with a large showerhead that rains cold water down on you. It feels great after coming out of the Bade Pool and hot tubs.

Hot Tubs. There are two which are about the same temperature give or take a few degrees. One has spa jets and one doesn’t.

Ice Bath. A freezing cold bath with no jets and a temperature in the 50s. For me, it was unbearably cold. I could not even put my whole foot in there for more than a couple of seconds without jerking it away in pain. We saw only one lady using this pool to its full extent the entire time! I have no idea how she did it! I tried three times and just couldn’t do it. I even went in up to my knees at one point and felt like I had caught hypothermia!

Infrared Rays Area (not its proper name). It’s an area with block pillows where you lie down and receive the benefits of infrared rays. It is not really hot or cold. I didn’t use it long because I’m too restless.

Wet Sauna. A steamroom with hot mists that blow across your face as you sit on a stone. It is somewhere around 140 degrees. The mists make it more bearable.

Dry Sauna. Self explanatory – bring your towel as the wooden benches are HOT. It is somewhat cooler than the steamroom, but felt even hotter. I couldn’t stand it. I felt like my eyeballs were going to melt.

I came out of Spa World feeling unbelievably relaxed and refreshed. You can see why it was easy for me to spend a full 12 hours there!

Helpful Links:

Spa World User Pictures at Yelp Here is a gallery of pictures from reviewer site Yelp.com that show you the Bade Pools (with no people in them) and other areas of the spa, especially the Amethyst Gem Room and the common areas. Can you spot the Princess Leia towel styles in the first picture?

Spa World Services page This page at Spa World’s site describes some of the services offered, with a price chart and tip explanation.

If you go, have fun. May all your cares melt away in the Bade Pool!


2 responses to “A World Away at Spa World, Part II

  1. I absolutely LOVED Spa World and will definitely be back again! Although it certainly was odd to speak to the locker room attendant, discuss the services and schedule my body scrub, while all the while buck naked!

  2. Hello ,
    i really love this day spa treatments.


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