A variation originally posted on Mommy Nearest
Jacuzzis, saunas, pools—always a good time but not really anything extraordinary, right? But did you know there’s a place up in Queens that has taken these water elements to a whole other level. Meet Spa Castle. Not only will you be blown away with all of the cool things to do there, but you’ll also feel like you’ve been transported directly to Korea. Talk about an exciting family adventure! Here are some features of Spa Castle I found especially noteworthy:
Uniforms and Bracelet Charge Cards
After admission, men and women are sent to opposite locker rooms to change into uniforms; you'll be given a bracelet to wear that acts as a key to your locker and also your account for charging food, drinks and treatments. (It kind of made me feel like I was in a sci-fi movie like The Island, but it’s really nice not to have to carry around your wallet—or worry about your kids getting food on their clothes during lunch.) While they stored our stroller in the back employees-only room, keep in mind that children over 3 feet are required to go to their respective locker rooms, and no shoes are permitted past the locker room.
Yep, the hot baths on the first floor do not allow the use of bathing suits or towels. Buck naked, wash off, and in you go. Many Americans may not be quite up for this, but don’t worry, there’s plenty else to do if you decide to skip it!
There are seven themed saunas on the second floor—and they're all pretty darn amazing. You’ll find six hot ones (LED/Color Therapy, Gold, Jade, Far-infrared, Loess/Yellow Stone & Mud, and Mineral Salt) and one cold one (Ice Land). Each one conveniently lists the current temperature on the outside of the door—temps ranged from 48°F to 187°F when we visited. You'll probably want to avoid taking small children in to most of the saunas, with the exception of the Ice Room which my little guy loved. He got to touch snow… INSIDE! How fun is that!? I lasted all of five minutes in most of them (I'm a wimp when it comes to heat), but it was really cool to jump in and out and try them all. My favorite was the gold sauna—it really makes you feel like royalty—in a room surrounded by gold.
Don't get confused—these are not swimming pools. The tubs are full of imported jets from Korea and Japan, combining the health benefits of hot water immersion with Asian acupressure. There are tons of spots to sit, stand, or lay down in and get various parts of your body massaged by jets of water, which range from firm to feeling like you’re getting hosed down by a fire fighter. (I kid you not!)
You shouldn’t have too much of a problem finding food to please every palette—they have everything from a huge salad bar and American staples (think chicken fingers and hamburgers) to Korean food. There's even a Starbucks and a frozen yogurt stand. There were no children's menus, but they did have high chairs.
If you’re really looking to go all out, there are a bunch of extra treatments you can shell out for, such as body scrubs, massages, and facials. Click here for a full list of services.
Some Things to Consider If You Bring a Baby or Toddler
Children under 4.5 feet are not permitted in outdoor pools on the top deck (except for the small kiddy pool). This was hugely disappointing to me, but I understand. The pools aren't for swimming—they are filled with powerful massaging jets, currents, steps and built in chairs. It’s not the place for a small child, even if you’re carrying them (one small misstep and you’d both be underwater). That said, I definitely saw some smaller children in there, so I’m not sure how strict they are about it.
I’m not saying don’t take a baby or toddler to Spa Castle, I’m just saying it will restrict you a wee bit. My 18-monther certainly didn't have a lack of action. He had a blast in the kiddy pool and play room while my husband and I took turns watching him and visiting the other pools individually.
During my son's nap (they actually have a sleeping area, with heated flooring and mats, where he took an amazing one hour snooze), my husband and I took turns visiting all of the saunas. Imagine my surprise when I came back from my free time to find both of my boys snoozing away...
Spa Castle has changing tables and a play room (both great!), but I would have loved if they had some child care services. My husband and I will probably consider leaving our son with a sitter for our next visit, so we can experience the spa as a couple rather than tag teaming a majority of the time. Maybe next time we'll check out their newest Manhattan premier location, expected to open in September or October 2014. It'll be on the 8th-10th floors of 115 East 57th, and for ages 16+ only!
*Disclaimer: Although I did receive tickets, food, and drink free of charge, I was not compensated in any other way to do this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1), focusing on fun and honest product and travel reviews, saving moms time finding the best for their families! Find what you need in the menu bar or search section above!