In Korea, jimjilbang are popular places where people gather to hang out while enjoying steam rooms, body scrubs, and massages. Dating back to the 15th century, these public bathhouses are a big part of contemporary Korean culture, serving as both a social meeting spot as well as a place for relaxation. Inspired by this concept, Mei Vieth decided to transform her former tanning salon in South Pasadena into a Korean spa. She had spent years frequenting the spas in Koreatown and was tired of making the monthly trek across town.
“I’m Korean and used to going to Korean spas all the time,” says Vieth. “There were no places nearby in San Gabriel Valley so I had to make the trip to Koreatown all the time. I wanted to have a Korean spa closer to home.”
Vieth hired a contractor from Koreatown’s popular Wi Spa, who helped her design a modern and spacious facility with all the hallmarks of a Korean spa, including a steam sauna room, Himalayan salt cave, red clay detox room, and hot and cold baths. In October 2019, V Spa opened its doors to the public and became an instant hit due to the authentic Korean experience it provided.
The service menu offers an array of affordable and relaxing services such as reflexology, different types of massage including Swedish and Shiatsu, facials, as well as hair services. Guests that have limited time or don’t want a full treatment have the option of paying a flat rate of $25 to receive unlimited access to the spa’s facilities for the day.
“Our most popular treatment is the V Spa Special,” Vieth shares. “It costs $80 and includes a full-body scrub, massage, hair wash, fresh cucumber face mask, and full use of all the facilities.”
In true Korean style, the spa features a communal area where massage therapists rigorously scrub guests from head to toe after they soak in the Jacuzzi tub. “It makes your skin very soft,” Vieth points out. “We use a special salt and cloth to scrub all the dead skin off, which is a traditional Korean skin treatment.”
While many Korean spas are segregated by gender, V Spa caters only to women—although Vieth hopes to expand and add on a men’s section in the future. However, just a few doors down is her other business, Happy Feet Massage, which caters to both genders. Walk-ins are accepted at either location, although Vieth always recommends making a reservation.
Another unique aspect of V Spa is that it stays open until 10 p.m. every day, making it more accessible for those that want to fit in a spa service after work.
“People are very happy that we’re here and I’ve had customers return several times in one week,” Vieth said. “One of the best compliments that I get from people is that we’re better than the spas in Koreatown.”
COVID-19 Pandemic Update: V Spa is currently closed to the public, but please call (626) 799-0118 if you would like to book a private event. Thank you for supporting local businesses.
For more information, visit myvspa.com.
1130 Fair Oaks Ave., South Pasadena, CA
Mon – Sat: 10am – 10pm
Sun: 11am – 9pm
Photos: Courtesy of V Spa