Your guide to de-stressing on a budget at Jeju and Gangnam Sauna

Soak, steam, and relax at these all-day Korean spas

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Korean Spas: Jeju Sauna
Jeju Sauna

Photograph by Stephen Payne

Need to de-stress on a budget? Look no further than the Korean bathhouse, or jjimjilbangs, of Gwinnett County. Offering everything from steam rooms, saunas, and hot pools to services like body scrubs and massages, to sleeping areas and even on-site restaurants, these facilities are part community gathering place, part traditional spa. Even better? They’re open 24/7, meaning you can get your zen on any time, day or night, 365 days a year. From location to vibe, etiquette, amenities, and insider tips, here’s your guide to navigating two of the area’s best.

Jeju Sauna

Cost: $30 (adults); $25 (kids); $20 (seniors)
Vibe: Bustling and cavernous at more than 35,000 square feet
Crowd: A mix of tourists and traditional spa-goers
Amenities: Nine saunas of varying temperatures, set up in the co-ed area like little gem- and mineral-encrusted huts of jade, gold and silver, charcoal, and more, each with purported health benefits. There’s also a fitness center, jade saltwater swimming pool, and an infrared light center said to increase blood flow. The body scrubs ($50) are notoriously rough and effective. An hour-long massage is $100.
Food: A full food court with options like dumplings, bibimbap, and Korean BBQ
Insider tip: Go during the week—and later at night—when it’s less crowded.
3555 Gwinnett Place Drive, Duluth

Gangnam Sauna

Cost: $20
Vibe: Much smaller than Jeju, Gangnam is cozier and quieter.
Crowd: Older and predominantly Korean
Amenities: Three co-ed specialty saunas: clay for detoxing and muscle relaxation, salt for improved circulation, and jade for stress relief. There’s also a sleeping area with mats and blankets and free Wi-Fi. The service menu includes body scrubs ($50) and massages ($80 for 60 minutes). There is even a “kids zone.”
Food: A small restaurant serves coffee, juices, gimpap (seaweed rice rolls), and bibim guksu (spicy noodles).
Insider tip: Opt for the $110 combination scrub, massage, and facial, and they’ll waive the admission fee.
6005 Buford Highway, Norcross

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

1. Check your modesty at the door. Upon arrival, you’ll be given a utilitarian uniform akin to short scrubs. You’ll wear this shapeless outfit in co-ed areas—and go nude in the same-sex spas.

2. Maximize the entrance fee. You get 24 hours! Services like massages, scrubs, and hip baths (a steam for women down there) cost extra, but pools, saunas, and more are included.

3. Clean up your act. These spas are scrubbed around the clock. You’ll need to shower before entering the wet rooms. If you want a towel larger than a dish cloth, bring your own.

This article appears in our September 2019 issue.

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