Relax -- and eat -- at Korean-style spa

February 11, 2011 1:16:33 PM PST
You could go to a salon, then walk over to a restaurant in the Gold Coast. But today it's one-stop shopping in a Niles spa that offers everything from massages and hot saunas to a relaxing Korean-inspired meal you can eat in shorts and a t-shirt.

Nothing says "I love you," like a good massage. Having a pair of firm, expert hands release the stress of the day can be incredibly relaxing. There are body and foot massages, as well as an assortment of hot steam and sauna rooms, in the vast King Spa and Sauna in Niles, part of a national chain that has an additional location in Dallas. It's a Korean-style spa, which means the emphasis is on providing heat therapy.

King Spa and Sauna in Niles is part of a national chain that has an additional location in Dallas. It's a Korean-style spa, which means the emphasis is on providing heat therapy.

"We have the gold room. It's plated in 24 karat gold, you know and the salt room has 250 million-year-old rocks, you know, it draws out all the toxins from your body and you come out feeling really rejuvenated, so it's a feel-good experience all together," said Billie Oh, King Spa.

There are a total of nine rooms in all - ranging from Death Valley-level heat to a chilly "Ice Room" to keep you body temp balanced. No need to make a massage appointment, they only take walk-ups, and you can always relax in the lounge or nap while you wait. You can also do a fair amount of eating here.

"You have a food court here with a variety of, you know, items on the menu to choose from and, you know, eat a little, sauna a little, enjoy you know. Whichever order you want to do it in," said Oh.

All of the Korean bases are covered here: marinated, thinly-sliced kalbi - or beef shortribs - plus hae mul pajun, a seafood pancake embedded with scallions. The bibimbop is a classic: mounds of vegetables surround white rice, all of which is crowned by a fried egg; you add the mildy sweet-hot Korean chili paste called gojujang to bump up the flavors a bit. All orders come with panchan, the ubiquitous free vegetarian side dishes. There's also sushi available, if you just want to stick to fish and rice. A couple could spend the entire day here, just lounging and eating, with the occasional spa service.

"A little time to yourself, telling the person, you know like, enjoy yourself, you know. I see that as romantic," said Oh.

Admission to King Spa is $25. Massages and meals are extra. No need to make a reservation, you can simply walk in while you're there to book an appointment.

Chicago King Spa and Sauna
809 Civic Center Drive
Niles, IL 60714
(847) 972-2540
www.kingspa.com