Prior to arriving in PyeongChang, I took the opportunity to visit an authentic Korean spa – Dragon Hill Resort & Spa. Dragon Hill is located in the heart of Seoul and boasts a reputation as one of Seoul’s top tourist attractions; ranking in the top 5 for Korean spa experiences on several tourism blogs.
Arriving at the spa was an experience alone. The building is beautifully decorated with elaborate chandeliers and carved molding. In keeping with Korean culture, the first stop is a small locker to secure your shoes before proceeding through the spa.
Believe it or not, on the other side of those doors you are greeted with an arcade filled with games, air hockey and virtual reality rides. It is from this floor the host escorts you to the elevator that takes you to the changing room; where the spa provides a uniform for use during your stay. The spa is 24/7 and you are permitted to stay for 12 hours with each entrance to the spa.
There are multiple areas and spa rooms throughout Dragon Hill; my first stop was with the masseuse for a traditional Korean massage. There is certainly a difference between the experience of an American massage and that of a traditional Korean massage, which is much more aggressive. They work every kink of your muscles to a point that leaves you sore for a couple of days but in the best possible way.
Post massage, the next stop was in two of Dragon Hill’s spa rooms – the pyramids. The first pyramid is heated and filled with a mixed of Korean herbs, which are burned to fill the air with their medicinal benefits. The second pyramid is heated a few degrees above the other and elaborately decorated with jade for energy. Patrons of the spa use these rooms for rest, mediation and warmth.
In addition to the pyramid spa rooms, Dragon Hill also offers a Hinoki Woodland room – build to simulate the relaxation of resting in the forest. As well as, an ice room and a Pine Tree Fire Wood Sauna, which is constructed as a clay cave and heated even hotter than the pyramid spa rooms.
My last stop was in the Chrystal Sun Salt room. Which is a beautiful stone sauna filled with crystals and dimly lit by salt crystal lamps, which are said the energize your body and boost your bio-energy.
Outside Dragon Hill also offers a heated pool that adds to their offering of places for patrons to escape the harsh Korean winters and rest and restore within Dragon Hill’s serene landscape.
The experience was a true cultural emersion and a step outside of my American comfort zone. It was out of the norm to see people lying along the heated floors of the Dragon Hill spa rooms as they relaxed with their friends – not a sight you would expect to see within an American spa.
However, I could feel the excitement amongst my Korean host and fellow patrons at sharing this experience with me. I would highly recommend a visit to any and all that will be traveling to Seoul!