Spa Castle: A Guided Tour

"Is everyone NAKED??”

No. You do NOT HAVE TO BE NAKED IF YOU DON’T WANT!

Ok, now that that’s out of the way, I’d like to introduce you to one of the coolest places in Dallas. A place that I don’t go often enough, but when I do I spend 6-8 hours there at a time.

SPA CASTLE!

And because it’s a traditional Asian bath house, the first question I get is always about nudity. It’s ok, I get it…the idea of being nude around strangers feels uncomfortable. But I promise you, this place is NOT uncomfortable. But it CAN be a little intimidating your first time. So I want to walk you through exactly my experience so you know what to expect when you go.

Here we go!

Egyptian Pharoah? Sure, ok, why not.

Egyptian Pharoah? Sure, ok, why not.

First of all, walking up to Spa Castle is an experience in itself. The building is massive and is flanked by 2 giant Egyptian pharaoh statues. As soon as you walk in, however, you feel a little like your at Disney World. Upon paying admission at the check-in counter, you receive your electronic bracelet. This bracelet not only opens your lockers, but also tracks all your transactions- instead of paying with credit card or cash, you simply wave your watch and pay your tab when you leave. So far, already feeling like I’m on vacation ;)

I’ve got my electronic watch, I’ve got my OVER 21 wristband, and I’m off to the locker room. Immediately men and women are separated, because the only way to enter Spa Castle is through gender-separated locker rooms that are right off the main lobby.

I head into the first of two locker rooms, and use the number on my watch to identify my first locker which is just for your shoes, because the entire place is barefoot. So I find my tiny shoe locker, wave my watch, and in my shoes go. I don’t recommend bringing tall boots cause these lockers are pretty tiny! Just enough room for sandals.

I then head through the next door into the main women’s locker room. On the way in, you grab your uniform from the little desk. An over-sized pink V-neck t-shirt and gym shorts that will give you 6th grade flashbacks. Not gonna lie, they’re pretty damn comfortable.

Once I’ve got my uniform in hand, I’m off to find my second locker, same number as on my watch, like before. This is a bigger locker for all your stuff and clothes.

Locker room

Locker room

Here’s where things get a little tricky! You see people in all states of dress- some in uniforms, some in bathing suits, some totally nude. And there’s a lot of signs on the walls telling you things like “No cameras allowed” and “Dry off before coming back into the locker room”, but there’s no real direction for what you should do next.

So here’s my suggestion. Do the nude part first. Just go for it, because it’s really not as bad as you think.

PSA!! You must bring your own towel!! They only offer tiny hand towels, so bring your own beach towel!

Ok, so now I’ve stripped down to my birthday suit, got my towel and am heading to the bath house section, which is through a set of double doors from the locker room. Still gender separated.

YES it feels weird to be naked in front of so many people, at first. YES, you get used to it! (PS, I went on Mother’s Day so it was a bit more crowded).

Here’s where I really want to walk you through what to do- from your locker, head straight to the entrance to the hot tub area. When you walk through the double doors, you will see a whole room of hot tubs at different temperatures and with different types of hydrotherapy stations (basically high-pressure fountains for massaging your shoulders, back, neck, etc.) This indoor hot tub area is nude, it’s required. Take a quick rinse-off shower, and then enjoy all the different hot tubs with the other women who are also a little uncomfortable with being naked.

PS- You can totally skip this part if you want! Keep reading, because if you do not feel comfortable being nude, you can go straight to the bathing suit area.

Hydrotherapy in the nude area

Hydrotherapy in the nude area

When you first walk into the hot tub area, you will also notice a small sign that directs you to the OUTSIDE pool area. This is where you must wear a bathing suit, because as soon as you step outside, it is co-ed. Don’t worry, there are a few signs between you and the outside that remind you to put your clothes back on!

After about 30 minutes enjoying the hydrotherapy tubs, I went back into the locker room to put my bathing suit on, then I head out to that co-ed area. There’s another indoor section that has more hot tubs, a bigger pool with swim-up tables, and a poolside cantina. This bar has alcohol and typical bar food like burgers, hot dogs, and chips & queso.

Meander all the way outside, and all of a sudden I feel like I’m at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. 2 giant pools with all kinds of hydrotherapy stations, a huge hot tub in the middle called a Hinoki Bath, and then even a little grotto off to the side- another hot tub enclosed in a fake cave.

Hinoki Bath

Hinoki Bath

It’s mid-day, and I’m sans sunscreen so I head to the cave. It’s only about 2 feet deep and there are several hydrotherapy stations. I sit down at the first one, push the button, and experience bubbles under my legs. It was nice! Felt like a gentle massage for my calves. I head to the next one, a large metal pipe mounted on the side of the pool, going straight up about 4 feet, and then curves at the top to point back downward to the pool. Turn this one on and make sure you are standing off to the side because it will KNOCK YOU OUT! Like a fire hose coming down. I was able to handle a few seconds of this beating on my shoulders before I developed bruises. JK…kinda.

Mystic Pool and those killer jets!

Mystic Pool and those killer jets!

It’s been at least an hour exploring hot tubs now and I’m hungry so I decide to dry off and move on. Head back to the locker room to change into the pink uniform, and then make my way from the locker room up the stairs to the second floor.

Walking up the stairs, you emerge into the main hall of Spa Castle.. It’s a large rectangular room with tables and chairs everywhere for sitting, eating, lounging, reading…..and people are doing all of those things. Women in pink uniforms and men in blue- the guys are emerging from downstairs as well, just on the other side of the main hall. There’s a sushi restaurant at the top of the stairs, and that’s where I head first. I order the pink lady roll: crab and avocado wrapped in salmon. SO FREAKING GOOD!

When my sushi is ready, I take it out to a small table where I can sit on a mat on the floor, Korean style. I set up my laptop, my notebook and enjoy my lunch while I get some work done.

The Ondol Room, right in the middle of the main hall. A place to hang out, rest or read.

The Ondol Room, right in the middle of the main hall. A place to hang out, rest or read.

After about 2 hours of working, I’m ready for more relaxation! Back down to the locker room to put my laptop away, and back upstairs to hit the saunas.

On the same floor as the main hall, you find Sauna Valley as well as the rooms where all the massages are done- those cost extra (and don’t worry, it’s not SO private that you think something weird is going on…just a separate quiet place for massage) . I’m heading to the saunas, which are all included in the price of admission.

The door of each sauna has a little more information about the benefits of the particular room, as well as the current temperature. I started in the Charcoal Tower; activated charcoal superheated with steam. Then spent a few minutes in the Far Infrared Room. It gets hot fast! So there’s also Ice Land, kept at about 60 degrees so you can quickly cool down in between. I also tried Gold Pyramid, a room with plates of 98% real gold, and the traditional Roman Bath. The other saunas are the Loess Tower with yellow soil of Korea, the Color Therapy Room, the Himalayan Salt Room, and Bul Gama- with the EXTRA hot clay oven.

After plenty of sauna-time, I decided I wanted one more dip in the hot tubs before taking a shower and heading out. Back down to the locker room to undress, and I discovered that there was a steam room in the hot tub area so I popped in for a minute. Then a full shower- each shower stall has shampoo, conditioner and body wash, so you don’t have to leave feeling sweaty!

Back in my clothes, I headed out the way I came in and paid my tab at the front desk-. my tab was pretty small because I only had the sushi, but it’s pretty fun to know you could come here and have some drinks by the pool if you wanted. In addition to the sushi place there is also Korean food up on the third floor, and a juice bar- but don’t be fooled by the name, it’s not really a juice bar; it’s basically an ice cream shop.

Overall, it’s amazing how relaxing it is. There is no agenda, you can just wander around the place as you wish- check out a sauna, eat some food, find a lounge chair and read a book, get a massage, sunbathe by the pool with a cocktail, eat again. Do whatever you want on your own time! You can see how it’s easy to pass 6+ hours without even really thinking about it. I do wish there were more healthy food options. The Korean food upstairs looked great, with options like bibimbap and bento boxes, but definitely not allergen-friendly.

I highly recommend checking this place out! The first time I went was with my mom and sister and we loved the chance to spend time together while exploring the whole place. The second time was by myself, and it was wonderful as a solo trip too. I would love to take my husband- we could easily skip the gender-separated area and still have plenty to do together.

I hope this guide was helpful! I’d love to hear about your experiences with Spa Castle or any other bath house, like King Spa! Did you love it, or maybe it isn’t your thing? Tell me in the comments!