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Hawaii Spa Bargains

Bargain Spas: If you’re looking to be pampered on a budget, check out a Korean spa.


illustration: jungyeon roh

Korean spas may not have faux ocean-wave music and ambient lighting like other spas, but they’re a great bargain for pampering on the cheap. Just bring your own slippers and check your modesty at the door. At a Korean communal spa, female clientele tend to strut around in their birthday suits (though towels are given at the door). Clients lie on cushioned tables that are covered by a plastic sheet. The spa’s masseuses—they may only be wearing panties and bras—don’t usually speak much English except for “over” and “side,” but use their nimble fingers, elbows and heels to get every knot out of a stressed body. This kind of spa is obviously not for  the meek, but your skin will be polished, tenderized and shiatsu’d as never before.

Aloha Sauna Spa has a kamaaina spa package for $110, which includes a body scrub, full-body massage and cucumber facial. You also receive access to communal hot jacuzzis and cold-plunge baths, open showers, salt saunas, jade saunas (believed to help balance hormones and heal the body) and steam rooms. (Sorry, guys, this package is for ladies only, but massage services are available for men in a separate section.) The basic entrance fee is $20 for use of the general spa facilities. 1724 Kalauokalani Way, 941-9494, alohasauna.com.

Herbal Spa and Salon’s $100 spa special (women only) offers a body scrub, massage and facial, plus access to hot jacuzzis and cold-plunge baths, and sauna and steam rooms. A $20 entrance fee allows access to basic facilities. 949 Kawaiahao St., 589-0800.

If you’re still craving the comfort of a plush robe and a more private spa setting, check out this hidden gem: Laka Skin Care & Spa (for men and women) offers a unique Korean/Japanese spa experience at budget rates without the communal bath culture shock. The ecofriendly and serene day spa is the first in Hawaii to offer facial reflexology. It also features 24-K gold and lymphatic facials, foot reflexology, herbal hydrotherapy and a hot amethyst-stone detox room. First-timers can enjoy a $74 introductory mini-facial/massage special. 320 Ward Ave., Suite 200, 397-5252, lakaspa.com.


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Honolulu Magazine September 2018
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