A Christmas tradition for my family is to go to the King’s Spa in Niles, IL, which is just outside of Chicago. We sometimes go there as a treat at other times of the year, but this is where I always want to be on Christmas Day. It is an amazing place to restore your mind and body. They also have a location in Dallas, Texas.
Upon entering, you are issued a bracelet with a locker number and key attached. You then proceed to either the men’s or women’s area. There is a hallway with benches where you are expected to remove your shoes, then you walk to a counter where you are issued a uniform. Inside the locker room is a separate area with hot tubs with different heat settings, a cold tub, a steam room with eucalyptus, and showers. They provide toothbrushes, toothpaste, body wash, shampoo, and hair bands. Outside of that area near the lockers, they provide blowdryers, Q-tips, hair gel, and lotion.
The area with the hot tubs, showers, and saunas are all nude, but it is optional to go in there. The first few times that I went, I changed clothes in a bathroom stall because I couldn’t imagine walking around naked. This is a Korean spa, so it’s mostly Koreans and Europeans there. They don’t have the same hang-ups that we have about nudity. Now that I’ve been there a few times, I don’t mind walking into the hot tub/shower area naked. It doesn’t matter if you are young, old, fat, or thin; everyone is nude and no one pays attention. You are expected to shower before getting into the hot tub and before and after going into the steam room.
After changing into the uniform, you walk into the unisex area. It is magnificent! (Remember to grab a towel on your way out of the locker room because you will be laying on the floor in the saunas, so you want a towel under your head). There is a movie theater, a room with infrared lights (that’s where I am in the picture), an oxygen room, an area to play chess, quiet areas to nap, and several different dry saunas with different temperatures. The saunas have themes of crystal, salt, fire, ice, charcoal, and amethyst. The amethyst room’s walls are covered from floor to ceiling in amethyst. Not only are they beautiful, but they are peaceful as well. There is even a sauna that is gold and shaped like a pyramid!
The bracelet issued when you first enter is used to purchase optional services like body scrubs, massages, sitz baths, facials, and food. You scan your bracelet for whatever you want, then pay the bill when you leave. You can stay for up to 23 hours without being charged for an extra day. It usually costs less than $30 for admission, which gives you access to everything other than the optional services and food.
The spa also has a restaurant with a variety of Korean food. There are vegetarian options available as well. My favorite dish is the hot stone bowl bibimbap. Rice lines the hot stone bowl, so that when you are finished eating, it has a nice, brown crunchy layer of rice. On top, there are a variety of vegetables, beef, and an egg on top. Most orders are accompanied by bantam, which are little side dishes. They vary depending on the day that you go. I rarely know exactly what they are, so I try them to see what I like.
If you go, remember to pack the following:
- An extra pair of underwear and a bra. You’ll be sweating in the dry saunas in the unisex area, so those will get wet.
- No shoes or slippers are allowed past the hallway to the locker room, so you must bring socks. If you forget, then they sell footies for a couple of dollars.
- Hair conditioner
- I like to take my iPod and headphones so that I can listen to relaxing music, self-hypnosis recordings, or guided meditations.