In the mood to be by yourself and go on a "me date"? Or do you and your sweetie want to try a new place for date night? Heck, do you want a new idea for a family event at a place with food and entertainment? Follow the giraffes and head to King Spa & Sauna on Royal Lane. (Statues of four giraffes sit on top of the entrance to the spa.)
The Korean-inspired venue offers "nine unique healing sauna rooms," acupressure massage for body and feet, body scrubs, whirlpools, a movie theater, free Wi-Fi, a food court, a children's play area and karaoke. Doesn't that scream full-service date place? Better yet, King Spa & Sauna is open 24 hours daily, seven days a week. So you can go there on a date or not on a date any time.
The King Spa & Sauna requires all customer to pay an admission fee of $20, though if you go during happy hour it's $17. Happy hour is not your typical "it must be 5 o'clock somewhere" and there's no booze on the premises -- mixing a hot sauna and alcohol is not a good idea, coronary-wise. Instead, the spa and sauna's happy hour goes from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Upon arrival and after paying your admission fee, you will be issued a locker key bracelet and a "uniform" -- a pink T-shirt and pink shorts for women and a grayish blue T-shirt and shorts for men. Children, no matter the gender, get yellow uniforms.
You can enjoy one of the sauna rooms in the 34,000-square-foot facility. All saunas are co-ed. If you opt for one of the spa services like a scrub or massage, you will be billed an additional charge on top of your admission fee, which is tallied via your locker key bracelet.
The massage services, except the foot and chair massages, require you to be naked and are given in the "privacy" of either the men's or women's locker room. Privacy is limited though -- women are with women, and men are with men. Most times another person will be getting a massage right along side you, and there are no curtains between massage tables.
If you've left the kids with the babysitter and are on a date, you can get a couples massage. The couples massage is the only service King Spa & Sauna will take reservations for in advance over the phone, and no reservations for couples massages are taken on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. All other services must be reserved once you arrive at the spa and have paid your admission fee.
Another bonus for those of you who go on a spa date is karaoke. Double daters can reserve a karaoke room, because karaoke is free for parties of four that have made a reservation at the front desk.
Where does eating fit into all this? Well, sitting or lying down in the Fire Sudatorium doing nothing robs you of energy. You leave the room full of heated rocks sweating and panting, in need of water and food. Plus, singing your version of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" works up an appetite too (though perhaps not in your listeners). Hence the food court.
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The menu ranges from a variety of Korean rice dishes and soups, to fruit juices and shakes to pizza and chocolate bars. We spoke to the female half of a couple who was there when City of Ate visited. The woman ordered a banana shake for $5 and a Korean sweet roll for $1.50. She said couldn't fathom eating anything more substantial than that after sitting in the Yellow Soil Crystal room, which she believed had removed loads of toxins from her body.
Her date, on the other hand, felt famished after his round of sauna experiences and ordered the bulgogi for $11.99. The sauteed marinated thin-sliced beef with traditional Korean barbecue sauce, white onion, green onion and carrots came in a bento box-looking contraption along with steamed rice, salad, fried wontons, and a bowl of miso soup. The couple finished eating and left the food court to get ready for their couples massage.
They told City of Ate that afterward they planned to take the required showers before they used the hot and cold tubs and whirlpools in their respective locker rooms. Then they planned to meet each other, back in their color-coded uniforms, in the main lobby to round up another couple to sing a couple of rounds of karaoke with them. In terms of sheer numbers of other pink and blue uniformed couples lounging in the King Spa & Sauna's main room, it didn't look like the couple would have any trouble finding a willing twosome to join them for a song or two.