Technically it’s in the suburbs, and admission costs extra, but I was going there anyway so my extra cost was just $10.
I was in Chicago for 2 nights a few weekends ago. I had one Hyatt category 4 free night from the Chase Hyatt card, so I stayed at Hyatt Recency Chicago River on Saturday. But I needed a place to stay on Friday. None of my Chicago friends were available to host me on Friday, but there were lots of options for hotel redemption near the Hyatt. Just to name a few, I could spend:
- 15,000 Hyatt points to keep same room
- 15,000 Wyndham points for the Wyndham Grand a few blocks from the Hyatt.
- 10,000 Best Western points; there are two locations around downtown. See: Get 5+ Expensive Nights from One Obscure Hotel Card Signup.
This was just an optional weekend trip, so I wanted to minimize points expenditure. I could afford 15,000 Hyatt/Wyndham for one night, but I wanted to save it for something more special. So Best Western was my top pick.
That is, until I found out King Spa is open 24 hours, and they have a rest area with flat beds for $10 extra!
What is King Spa, you ask? Here’s a partial description from its website (emphasis mine):
King Spa & Sauna is a unique Korean inspired spa that is known as “Jjim-Jil Bang”. Jjim-Jil Bang spa is one of the many traditional assets that have coexisted in the Korean community. With its own unique cultural blend, the Korean sauna offers great relaxation to relieve stress from the body and mind… We offer a complete sauna experience with 9 unique healing sauna rooms, acupressure massage for the whole body, a pool to relax in, and a movie theatre for your entertainment. Renowned for being the largest Asian sauna in the United States we provide the ultimate authentic experience that Korean Spa & Sauna has to offer in the country.
Here’s the thing – I was going to visit them anyway on Saturday. If I moved that to Friday evening, I could enjoy the spa, sleep there, and enjoy some more next morning. And save myself some hotel points. Sweet.
Admission is $22 with the e-coupon you request from their website (which I understand is churnable), or you can usually buy a Groupon for $1 less. Since I was going there anyway, this wasn’t an extra expense. You’re allowed 24 hours in the spa, though they charge the $10 overnight fee after 2am.
How was my experience?
King Spa is in Niles, IL. I’m probably the only guest who took public transportation from downtown Chicago. After getting off the Megabus, I took the Blue line to Jefferson Park Transit Center and transferred on a bus, which dropped me off in a residential area 10 minutes from the spa. I felt reasonably safe walking to the spa in the dark.
The Korean food in the onsite restaurant was decent in taste and price – I think I paid $12 for a seafood tofu soup. I won’t detail the whole spa experience – you can read the many reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor. Overall it wasn’t as mind blowing as my first time in the Dallas location (that one felt bigger), but still enjoyable (probably more so if I had company). The temperature was a bit high, including in public areas. The movie theater (which showed one of the Twilight movies) was basically another sauna.
Importantly, I was happy with the flat bed. It’s first come first serve, and there are only about 20 beds. I slipped into mine around 11:30pm, at which time most were taken. It was very quiet, and of course I had my eye mask and ear plugs anyway. The bed itself is probably more comfortable than any international First Class seat/bed I’ve tried. You just don’t get any storage room or privacy. I put my belongings in the locker downstairs and slept reasonably well. The way I look at it, it’s a communal experience like the rest of the spa, and I just imagined I was in a large business class cabin, which I’m very used to. 🙂
There are other rest areas in the spa with mats, and I saw people use multiple chairs as bed, so chances are you won’t have to sleep upright even if you don’t get a flat bed.
I woke up in the morning and enjoyed a bit more of the spa, before hopping on public transportation back to Chicago.
In a nutshell
With a little sense of adventure, I overnighted in a Korean spa near Chicago for $10. The bed exceeded my expectation – I was expecting more of a wooden sun bed, and this was way better. It was fun and I saved money/points. I look forward to taking my friends and family to King Spa, though I won’t force them to sleep there 🙂
Have you slept in a spa before?