Lasema: The Ultimate Korean Spa and Sauna Experience [★]

Just last night, me and a close friend went to this spa in Makati -  Lasema Jjim Jil Bang Spa. It's a Korean spa, just like those that are being shown in dramas. We were both fond of kpop and kdramas so we were very excited when we learned that Lasema was having a promo for a whole package of their services and we didn't have second thoughts in availing it.


Overnight Spa
Since the package includes a 12-hour stay at the  Jjim Jil Bang Spa, we decided to maximize it. Straight from our day work, we went to Lasema at around 11PM. At the front desk, we were given our number, locker keys, clothes (matching shirt and shorts) and a small towel. Footwears are not allowed inside so we removed and carried our shoes to the locker area. The floor is made of wood and the area is clean and being barefoot is comfortable.

At The Women's Wet Sauna
We knew beforehand that it's really part of the Korean culture to go naked in a public bath, but nothing prepared us for this. The moment we arrived at the women's locker area, two ladies were naked. Butt naked. It was a little uncomfortable at first (my locker is in between them, so I needed to squeeze within them ><) but the longer I stayed at the spa, the more I got used to it. I swear, they are so comfortable being naked. They walk around the area without a care in the world. They remove clothes as if they they are just removing their sunglasses. I was culture shocked, really. xD





glass door at the left: entrance to the wet area, to the right: hallway to jjim jil bang
The wet area is just steps away from the locker room so most of the Koreans strip naked at the locker area then they just grab their toiletries and go to the wet area.

The wet area consists of the shower rooms, wet sauna and three pools.

wet area
Thankfully, there are shower room cubicles with doors at the right side of area. I even felt weird because most of the people there are scrubbing their naked bodies at the other side. There are soaps and shampoos available and the temperature of the water can be adjusted up to a warmness of 50 degrees Celsius. At the jacuzzi, clothings are not allowed (again, it's in the Korean culture). There was a green tea pool (43 degrees Celsius), a ginseng hot pool (43 degrees Celsius), and a cool water pool (28 degrees Celsius). I first tried the ginseng pool at the middle. The water is indeed hot on the skin. The technique is to soak down slowly. At first I placed my legs. When they already got used to the temperature, I began to sit, and then after a few minutes, I totally submerged myself. The sensation was totally new. I had to breathe deeply as my body adapted to the warm water. They say this is actually beneficial to the body. I tried the green tea pool afterwards. Luckily, there were just a few people present in the wet area when I went there so I was not really too shy. :D


Jjim Jil Bang (Dry Sauna)



entrance to the Jjim Jil Bang area from the women's sauna



Jjim Jil Bang  (찜질방) which literally means "steaming room" is the main attraction of Lasema. It's a co-ed area (don't worry, people are fully clothed here). This is where you wear the shirts and shorts that was given to you. There are three heated rooms available there - Oak and Clay (around 56 degree Celsius), Sault and Charcoal (43 degree Celsius), and Dome Clay Sauna (76 degree Celsius). We enjoyed the Oak and Clay the most because the warmness was just right. I tried the Dome Clay but I just couldn't stand the heat that I went out after a few minutes. The sauna rooms are somewhat little and can house only around eight people comfortably at a time. The walls are mostly made of wood and stones/marbles and they all smell like fresh warm wood.

left door: smoking room, right door: ice room

Lasema also has an Ice Room. It was at -9 degrees Celsius inside. We loved it there. The walls are made of ice and you can 'see your breath' because it comes out of your mouth as steam. To fully enjoy the jjim jil bang experience, they recommend to stay at the sauna rooms for around 10 minutes and then take a rest outside for another 10 minutes. After that, enter the ice room and stay there for another 10 minutes or until you are still comfortable with the cold.

common area (photo credit: bivs.multiply.com)
Aside from the sauna rooms, there is this wide area where you can just relax, watch tv, and sleep. They have 'sleeping caves' where people can sleep during the night. The area is all air-conditioned so it's very comfortable, especially after going out of the dry sauna rooms.

sleeping area (phot credit: tcat philippines)
A snack bar with Korean foods like spicy noodles, grilled eggs, kimchi, and bottled drinks is also available. They have cold drinks too and you can choose from green tea, coffee, and shikhye. 




noodles and kimchi that we ordered
First Massage Ever
The package that we availed included a one-hour massage. Me and my friend both chose the Shiatsu-Swedish massage combination. This is the first time I was gonna get a massage so I really didn't know what to expect. We scheduled our massage at around 3:30AM. I dreaded to fall asleep while being massaged, but it was the exact opposite, I was jolted even more awake. It was somewhat painful. I don't know, maybe because my muscles (especially at the upper back and the legs) haven't had a massage before. But I love it when my joints cracked when different parts of my body were stretched out, especially at the neck, hands, and back. I also love the smell of the massaging oil.

my number and locker keys
It was a very fun experience! This is a great place to bond with friends. We checked out at 11AM the next day feeling fresh and rejuvenated. If you are uncomfortable going at the wet area, you can always just go straight to jjim jil bang. :D It was a very relaxing treat to the body, and it would be nice to do this once in a while after stressful days at the office.

~0~

Lasema Jjim Jil Bang Spa is located at 7232 Malugay St., Brgy. Bel Air, 1209 Makati City inside Makati Golf Club, Makati City with reservation numbers 830-2222 / 0943-5065697.

Read here my second visit to the spa:  Round Two of Jjim Jil Bang Spa at Lasema [★]

[UPDATE] I visited the spa for the third time on May 2014. It was still the same great experience. They even have wi-fi now! :D

I was able to wear the lamb towels properly!


32 comments:

  1. @Karen G:
    You'd surely feel relaxed after visiting the spa. :D

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  2. next time i suggest to just get the swedish massage. and if it gets a lil too painful then you can always ask the manang to lighten her strokes =) on another note, i just found out from a korean guy i met at lasema that it's best if you lean your back against the walls because the salt/clay/ice (whatever the wall was made off) kinda absorbs the toxins released from your body. hope this helps!

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  3. @Anonymous:
    That's what also my friend told me. I think I want to have that Swedish one next time. And about the ice walls! Wow I didn't know that! It was so cold we didn't think of leaning against those walls. Thank you for the tips! :D

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  4. We've visited this spa last Friday night (around 11:45PM) and we took the PhP 890 package (massage, sauna and 12hr stay). The experience was great and we also leaned our backs at the walls of those dry sauna rooms. It was indeed a very pampering experience and I will definitely get back to this place. Probably schedule a once a month trip as a way of rewarding myself :)

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  5. @Anonymous:

    It was good, right? :D It's really nice to use the 12-hour stay at night because it's a lot peaceful because there are only a few people there in the spa. Good thing you knew about that leaning-against-the-wall trick in the ice room! I would definitely do that the next time I visit. ^__^

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  6. Hi! Just want to ask if the spa allowed bathing suit inside the wet area
    or it is strictly observed to go naked?? I for one would to try this korean
    spa but uncomfortable to go naked in public..hehehehehe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think they won't allow you. People in the wet area (mostly Koreans) don't have a single piece of clothes on. You wouldn't believe how comfortable they are being naked. xD Well you can just go to the dry area if you feel uncomfy. :)

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    2. Can you tell me where there is a sauna where you are not naked? Where do you come from?

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    3. Hi KIWIINGERMANY! This is the only sauna that I have tried so far so I have no idea. This is located in Makati, Philippines.

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  7. Replies
    1. I think the regular rate is Php950 for the whole package, which includes up to 12 hours stay at the Jim Jil Bang and a massage.

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  8. Hi. :)
    I would like to know if you made reservations before going to the spa or did you just bring your voucher on the day you decided to avail?
    Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. Yup, you need to make reservations before going to the spa. They don't entertain walk-ins.

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  9. They should have at least warned about not entertaining walk-ins though. Me and my friends tried going in there last night and was really excited but those people at the reception area were terribly rude and more stressful than my whole day, we just went someplace else to eat cake and relax. Probably a good spa but they hired the wrong people, at least at their reception.

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  10. I had a very bad experience with this spa. My bf and I bought a deal in TCAT (it was last year i think). It said that we had to call for a reservation. However, every time I tried to call them, their phone was busy. This went on for several weeks. Finally, my bf decided to drop by and ask them about it. The receptionist told him that their phone was being repaired so my bf asked them how would we reserve using our coupon when the phone does not work. The receptionist told us that because of that, they would allow walk-ins. I think this happened on a Wednesday. So we decided to drop by on Saturday. But the receptionist this time wouldn't allow us to redeem the voucher, she told us that we had to call first and that their phone was already fixed. She even called her "supervisor" who didn't look like a supervisor at all. He was just wearing a t-shirt and cut-offs (he said his name was tristan). They refused to let us in even though we told them that the previous receptionist told us it was ok to walk in. They told us to just come back next time or to just pay for the service first and just use the voucher next time. They were quite rude with no manners when talking with us. We live in Quezon City. It's not like their spa is very near to us. And their phone was broken not just for one week but I think it was almost a month or more that it was always busy. They admitted that it was broken but that their phone was already fixed now. They know that they had an ongoing promo period through the deals website TCat. It made me think that they didn't want to actually let the customers redeem the promo. And it's not like there were a lot of people at that time (it was around lunch time on a saturday) that they couldn't accommodate two extra people.
    I will never return to this spa again nor would I recommend it to other people. My bf who worked with a Korean told him about our experience. According to this Korean, there were rumors that the staff would steal from the lockers of the customers while they are taking a bath, massage or in the common area. They would not get all your money but just pilfer maybe several bills so you wouldn't notice it was gone. I don't know how true this is though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is very saddening to know. Let's just all be careful next time we visit, not this spa, but also other ones.

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  11. Just asking if me and my bf can join in the sauna and also same room in the massage

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, I think you can request the massage room to the staff. By the way the dry sauna (jjim jil bang) is coed.

      Delete
  12. Hi, I want to ask if you need to shower first before changing into the uniforms they give you, or just change then go to the dry saunas right away. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there! It would be just your choice really. Either way's fine. Though I prefer to take a quick shower before going to the dry sauna.

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  13. Hi. Can we take pictures inside the dry sauna? And it is for the whole day that we'll be wearing pink shirt and shorts?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there! No, you can't bring gadgets inside the dry sauna. There are signs on the doors that say that, and I think it's also because the heat might damage your things. Still, you can take pictures all you want in the common room.

      And yes, they'll provide pink shirt and shorts for the girls (gray for boys, and yellow for kids) which you will wear during the whole stay. You can request extra pairs if you like but it has an additional fee.

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  14. Hi.. Do I need to do reservation before I go there? Thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anon! Yes, you have to make a reservation first, especially if you bought the discounted voucher.

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    2. No one is answering our calls since yesterday, which number should we dial

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    3. Hi Jassi! The numbers that I have indicated on my post are the ones that I have used in my previous reservations. I'm not sure if they have changed their numbers though.

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  15. Been calling their reservation hotlines all day but no answer!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh. Maybe you should just have to patiently call them back. It must be a busy day for them.

      Delete
  16. DO NOT GO HERE. ALL THE BAD REVIEWS ARE TRUE.
    I’VE NEVER BEEN SO INSULTED AND TREATED UNFAIRLY IN MY WHOLE LIFE.
    We went for a full package on a Friday night, full payment not part of some online deal. First of all, you pay upfront and they only accept cash (Red flag for tax evasion, calling KIM HENARES!!!). But later on we find out tax evasion is not the only reason for this set-up...
    More red flags:
    - Upon entering, there were way too many people. Instead of a relaxing sauna experience we felt like we were in a market.
    - The floor is mushy, as though it is rarely cleaned. Careful, you might step on morsels of instant noodles.
    - They are very stingy when it comes to towel change. No, they don’t care if you are dripping sweat everywhere.
    BUT IT GETS WORST. By 10:35PM, we request for our bathroom robes so we can get ready to shower and change for our 11PM massage like responsible and prompt customers. 5, 10, 15 minutes past and still no robe for my bf, we were still in our sweaty sauna wear. They made us go back and forth between the lockers, massage desk, and reception, passing us on to different people and still no robe. It was to the point that they weren’t even minding us anymore. Worse, I talked to the massage desk and they would not extend our massage even if it was clearly their fault. By 11PM, we got so frustrated and pissed off that we just wanted to get a refund.
    And here comes the other reason why they make you pay upfront. They may provide you awful service OR not even provide it at all, BUT THEY WILL NOT GIVE YOU A REFUND. Management policy. In fact, sila pa ang galit and bastos (ANGIE I AM CALLING YOU OUT!). I tried to tell them I promise to give back my locker key when they refund me, but they made two guards corner us and the car. We were helpless prisoners. I tried to talk nicely to the guards that it was about principle, but I guess they have become robots and puppets of Lasema.
    Places like this should not be patronized. They really need to learn to treat their customers with respect.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Eibee,

      What an experience! I really don't know how some people have extremely bad encounters with Lasema. I've been there for three times now and each visit was a good one. I think for us timing is a key (we have always checked in at night where only a few people are there). But still, this is something that their management has to take action in.

      I hope they hear your comments and do something to improve their service.

      Delete

 


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