Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spa Time

I'd come to the conclusion that perhaps I needed to relax a bit, slow things down somewhat; life's little trials had begun to take their toll. I hadn't exactly led a wholesome lifestyle up to this point and with the added stresses, the bills, the insane traffic, career uncertainty, gas prices and such, a mental breakdown probably wasn't too far away.

Relaxation and stress relief normally comes for me in the form of a PlayStation controller. But as I've been repeatedly reminded recently, I am in fact an adult and should start acting as such....sigh. So with a little bit of urging and begging (and finally a big stick), a friend convinced me to spend some time at a spa.

Jeju Sauna, quite literally a mile from my apartment, housed rather conspicuously in a large white building, stands barely a block north of Pleasant Hill Road in Gwinnett Place. Their website uses fanciful descriptions, "ritual cleansing," "home of well being," "relaxation for the mind and soul" and "fun for the whole family."

Upon getting there however, my immediate impression was just a little different.

I wish I'd been properly prepared for this. There's no warning of course; one minute, plush, opulence, next minute, ballsville. O_O

I must have looked a little odd during the initial tour, I think I must have done the entire thing with my eyes closed. You see, these folks actively encourage open-nudity throughout the mens-only and womens-only areas. So when I walked in, the room was chuck full of men just free-balling (for lack of a better expression).

The gender specific regions feature amenities that are unfortunately nude-mandatory, amenities mind you which aren't found anywhere in the common area safe zone (which is clothing mandatory thank God).

Let's say you wanted to relax a bit in the hot tub......BALLS. Ice bath maybe? BALLS.....oh wow, a lounge with deck chairs and flat screen tvs......oh wait, BALLS.

Trinbagonians in general, despite what some folks may think,  are actually a very modest people when it comes to nudity. I still find it difficult to adjust at the gym where it occurs on a small scale, so you could imagine my discomfort at Jeju where it's not just one or two deviants doing it, it's everyone.

Any aspirations I had for transcending nirvana that evening, evaporated rather quickly. I think what bothered me the most was that for all the exciting amenities available in the mens-only and womens-only sections, you couldn't enter any of them while having clothes on.

I tried to imagine what that conversation was going to be like when someone caught me in the nudie pool with my pants on....."Sir sir, please don't let me have to tell you again, pants off!!!"

Thankfully, even though the common areas don't come with hot tubs, there are seven dry saunas, a Korean restaurant, a heated, saltwater pool, plus private rooms for foot and body massages as well as various types of body scrubs. The pool and the saunas of course are all included with the cost of entry (a mere $25 per day) but the massages and body scrubs are extra.

Jeju is a 24 hour establishment mind you and many people often spend the night there much like we did. The tiled floors are heated and the staff provide blankets, pillows and bedding which you can lay out anywhere on the common area floor anytime after 1 am. Not wanting to be facetious, but the whole thing felt vaguely like a homeless shelter to me, just without the smell.

I think I was able to relax a bit and honestly the time spent in the various dry saunas reminded me of home. My issue is just that, as a man, I don't see the real appeal of going to a spa in order to relax. Arguably, I could save myself the $25 and lay in bed at home with a good book and a heater. But, just because it does precious little for me, doesn't mean you should skip out on such an experience.

If you can get past the nudity aspect (which honestly is still a deal breaker for me), spending time at a spa is a must-have experience, at least once in your lifetime. Truth be told, I probably won't be going back personally but I still would recommend the Jeju experience to anyone.

Jeju Sauna
3555 Gwinnett Place Drive NW
Duluth, GA 30096