It has been cold for the past few days, which is quite unusual to what we are used to here in Manila. This made me want to go to Lasema Korean Spa and Sauna. If you have watched Korean dramas, this is what they refer to as jjim jil bang (찜질방). Jjim jil means “to cure diseases by sweating through immersing oneself in a hot spring or water.”
My friends and I usually go to Lasema during weekends and we often stay here overnight. The rates vary depending on the services that you will avail, what time of the day and what day of the week you will be coming. You can also avail of online vouchers or coupons which feature the full package at half the price (use of sauna and jjim jil bang for 12 hours and a full body massage which last for almost an hour). My friends and I usually purchase the promo package and reserve our slots at least one week ahead. If you used your credit card to purchase online, bring your credit card and ID for verification.
When you check in, you will be handed a locker key that is attached to a numbered electronic bracelet which you will use in purchasing food or drinks from the snack bar or if availing additional services for the whole duration of your stay in the spa. The add-on purchases will need to be paid once you check out.
You will also be provided with a shirt, pair of shorts, two towels and a bathrobe. We often use the first towel to make the sheep’s head hat, which is a unique fashion statement in a Korean spa as usually seen in Korean television dramas.
Lasema is a gender segregated spa so there is a separate entrance to the shower room, locker room, and wet sauna for men and women. You will have to take off your footwear upon entering the facility. Once inside, you will immediately see the powder area, shower area and wet sauna. On the other side is the locker area. Basic toiletries and hair dryer are provided as well as mineral water.
When my friends and I went here for the first time, we were surprised to see completely undressed women in the locker area and wet sauna. Apparently, this is the norm in a Korean spa. My friends and I were not keen on trying the wet sauna yet so we just changed into our spa shirt and shorts and went to the common area where the dry saunas are located.
The dry saunas consist of the oak and clay sauna, salt charcoal sauna, dome clay sauna and ice room. Due to the high temperature of the first three saunas, books and gadgets are not advisable to be brought inside.
The oak and clay sauna has yellow earth mud which when heated neutralizes poisonous effects of metal and stimulates our metabolism. It helps with alleviating symptoms of skin problems such as atopic dermatitis and respiratory problems such as asthma. It is also good for women who have recently given birth.
The salt charcoal sauna is good for relaxation and detoxification. The salt charcoal blocks electromagnetic waves and also stimulates our metabolism. This is my favorite as I can tolerate the temperature which is around 48 to 50 degrees. I usually lie down and place big chunks of salt crystals on my belly or legs. The warmth from the crystals is really soothing and relaxing.
The dome clay sauna contains chungito which is an alkali mineral mud produced by volcanoes, The minerals from the mud stimulates and balances the energy from our body. The temperature in this room is around 65 degrees or sometimes even higher, which I cannot tolerate.
The ice room is around 0 to -10 degrees. After sweating out from the heated sauna, stay here for a few minutes and allow your pores to close after detoxifying. The first few minutes will be refreshing but staying longer than five minutes will be a bit too much since the shirt and shorts are not enough to protect you from the extreme cold
It was not until my fifth visit here that I tried the wet sauna. I have always wanted to try it but I am reluctant to take my clothes off so my friends and I waited until the wet sauna had no other occupants before we entered and tried the herbal pools. After showering, we tried the ginseng pool and the green tea pool. The temperature ranges from 40 degrees to 45 degrees. I only stayed for about three to five minutes then showered again. I am not sure if it is just me, but I noticed my skin texture looked better, so I would probably try this again next time.
After the sauna, we usually avail of the full body massage included in our voucher. So if you plan to do the same, it is advisable to reserve your slot before you start with the dry sauna or hang out in the common area. The massage room is big enough for our group so we always get our massage together.
I always had a pleasant massage experience in Lasema so after having a massage, I am always sleepy. I often prefer to sleep on the elevated area on top of the sleeping caves so my friends and I can sleep together. There are times when the spa will get crowded and will make sleeping a bit harder because of the noise, so select the off peak hours or bring an ear plug.
You can also sleep in the common room in front of the LCD TV or in the entertainment room where there are massage chairs and reading materials (which are all written in Korean). The massage chairs are worn out and the covers look like they have not been replaced for days so I always prefer to use the sleeping mat.
Aside from the entertainment room, common room with TV, smoking room and saunas, Lasema also has a computer area where you can surf the Internet for P50 per hour and there is also a snack bar. We usually eat ramen, hard boiled egg and kimchi combo from the snack bar as it is more affordable and is good for sharing. The eggs are cooked inside the dome clay sauna (I saw a staff getting the eggs here). The items from the snack bar are a bit pricey so I suggest you eat first before coming in. We usually have our dinner at Ara Korean Restaurant, which can be easily seen before you enter the parking area in front of the building where Lasema and Makati Golf Club are located.
My experience with Lasema Korean Spa and Sauna had always been good. I enjoyed the Korean spa experience as it makes me feel a step closer in experiencing Korean culture. The wet and dry sauna are great because they offer various health benefits and the massage experience had always been above average. It is overall a good place to stay and detoxify while enjoying the company of your friends or family.
Address: 7232 Malugay St., Brgy. Bel Air, 1209 Makati City (inside Makati Golf Club).
Landmarks: It is 5 to 10-minute walk from The Columns, RCBC Building, Makati Post Office, FEU Makati. It is within the same area as the Makati Golf Club.
Contact Numbers: 830-2222 / 830-2147 / 830-2148 / 0927-6450531
Operating Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.