Elwood 5566

Wonderful Spaland – A Little Less Wonderful. Update (1)

Posted in Bathhouse, bathhouses and jjimjilbang reviews, Daegu, services and facilities by 노강호 on October 26, 2011

For most of this year, Wonderful Spaland has remained my favourite bathhouse in the west side of Daegu. The allure lay in the heady scents emitted in the Roman Mosaic Steam Room, and the smoky smell of the oak charcoal bath the essences extracted by a process of condensation. Other attractions included a large massage pool, the semi-exposed no-ch’eon (노천) as well as the fact the facilities were impeccably clean and comfortable.

Wonderful Spaland

Last weekend was a bad time to visit. With a major baseball quarter-final in play the baths were packed and at one point I estimated about two hundred people in the pool and shower area. However, most bathers weren’t watching the game but enjoying the massage pool. To compound matters, Saturday had been a ‘play Saturday’ (놀토) and as the majority of students had finished their mid-term exams, there were plenty of kids splashing about and making a noise.

Unfortunately, several changes have occurred in the arrangement of pools which has slightly downgraded my rating of Wonderful Spaland. I know from comments by other readers that the women’s section had the same structure as the men’s area but currently, don’t know if the changes have been applied to one area or both. In my opinion, the changes have removed facilities that gave the establishment  a clear lead over other luxury bathhouses.

The ‘Roman Sauna,’ which formerly had a large structure in the center of the circular room which hissed out the most intoxicating aromas,  has been removed and the floor underneath replaced with mosaic. This was the central feature of the sauna and it felt quite natural to be seated around this, on solid mosaic seats. With the structure removed, and no central focus, it now feels a little odd sitting in a circle. A TV screen now occupies the wall but the circular seating isn’t practical and effectively retires the seating under the TV. I can’t remember if the screen was there before; if it was, its presence was insignificant as one’s interest was dominated by the hissing of the ‘cauldron’ in the center of the room. This sauna has gone from balanced and enjoyable to clumsy and pointless but the mosaic decoration, if any consolation is attractive.

Wonderful Spaland’s luxurious ‘milky bubble tang’

The oak charcoal bath (짬나무/목초탕), the scent of which permeated the entire bathhouse, was formerly in the no’ch’eon area, next to the salt sauna but this has now been replaced by a mud bath. The current charcoal bath is now located in the center of the complex alongside  the ‘event-bath‘ (이벤트탕) and the unique ‘milky bubble bath.’  The charcoal pool is no longer as intense as it was and though its scent is still noticeable as you approach the changing rooms, it no longer lingers on your skin for several days.

The mud bath is nothing to get too excited about and whatever mud is present merely dirties the water.  Perhaps mud baths don’t need to be sloppy and dirty and in all fairness, the only suitable place to locate this facility is by the salt sauna as these also have a shower outside them to hose off excess salt.

In my opinion, while Wonderful Spaland still remains one of the best Saunas in the area though the restructuring knocks it down a notch making it directly comparable to other ‘quality’ bathhouses.

Creative Commons License

© 林東哲 2011 Creative Commons Licence.

Advertisements

Eat Like a Dinosaur in Daegu

Posted in Comparative, Food and Drink by 노강호 on July 21, 2011

Dinosaur Buffet - a meat eaters heaven

Sometimes, I just want to indulge in some ‘western style eating’ – a euphemism for eating unhealthily. Korea has plenty of unhealthy western-style junk foods, most commonly fried chicken and pizza, but it’s never quite right and has been Korianised to make it more appealing to the home market. While the fried chicken often comes very close to satisfying my British taste-buds, I have never really taken to the way the bird is chopped up. That leaves the nastiest junk food of all, indeed the King of Junk, the Burger! Let’s face it, a real burger is vastly superior to corporate anatomical slurry patties containing up to one thousand different cows per burger, a claim made in the documentary movie, Food Inc.  And while corporate burgers can be ‘okay,’ they’re not that great unless of course, you’ve had your taste buds seriously dumbed down.

And the thing I miss most about western eating is a good plateful of meat. Most Korean meals contain much smaller portions of than we would eat back in the UK and I reckon that with a meaty breakfast and evening meal, I can consume more meat in one day, than I do in a week in Korea.  However, I recently discovered the ideal place to eat as much meat as you want; a carnivore’s paradise; Dinosaur Grill Meat Buffet. Here, salad, rice, and side dishes are minimal but the meat comes by the carcass. For 15.000 Won (£7) per person, you can just help yourself to the meat at the ‘in-house’ butcher’s counter and barbecue it at your table. There are burgers, real ones and not the pallid, dry one found in Mac D’s, great, spicy sausages, various cuts of sam-kyeop, pork steaks, and even cuts of beef.

a wide choice of meat

A few Koreans I recommended this establishment to ask me about the quality. I have to remind them I’m from Britain where the majority of pork has been bloated with water so that the moment you start cooking, it pisses all over the charcoal. Most British pork or bacon can no longer be fried because by the time the pan has heated, the meat is floating in a puddle of additional water, thereafter it simply boils. And then there is the pork from Poland, wadges of fat with the occasional slither of meat.  In Britain, meat has been adulterated forcing you to pay extra for what it should have been in the first place. Naturally, I find Korean meat of superior quality and after a bottle of makgeolli, it tastes even better.

Last week, the buffet bill for 3 adults plus 4 beers and 2 bottles of makgeoli amounted to a little over 60.000 Won (£30). The restaurant has both traditional floor seating and tables.

5 minutes walk from Wonderful Spa Land Bathhouse

Dinosaur Grill Buffet is very close to Wonderful Spa Land and indeed you can walk between them in around 5 minutes. For the Wikimapia link click here. Both Jincheon and Wolbae subway stations are nearby.

Jincheon and Wolbae subway stations lie this side of the restaurant

Creative Commons License

© 林東哲 2011 Creative Commons Licence

The Secret World of Bathhouse Interiors

Posted in Bathhouse, bathhouses and jjimjilbang reviews by 노강호 on June 19, 2011

It’s always difficult finding photos of bathhouse interiors; the reasons being obvious. However, I have recently discovered how to capture photographs and render them into the correct format. The photographs have been placed in their respective locations but I thought it useful to post them here as they provide a much clearer insight into bathhouse interiors. The additions are for Goong Cheon Lavender, Migwang Spolex and Wonderful Spa Land.

the unique Dead Sea bath at Goong Cheon Lavender

the ice sauna (Goong Cheon Lavender)

Lavender’s cold water cave

Large and spacious changing facilities (Lavender)

Migwang’s sit down shower units

The warm pool with the pine, steam and ice room in the background. A large TV sits above the central circular window (Migwang Spolex)

Wonderful Spaland’s luxurious ‘milky bubble tang’ with two ‘event’ pools in the background

The tiered yellow clay room – for sleeping (Wonderful Spaland)

Wonderful Spaland’s warm pool

Creative Commons License

© 林東哲 2011 Creative Commons Licence.

Wonderful Spaland – Where Heaven Comes Cheap (원드풀 스파낸드)

Posted in Bathhouse, bathhouses and jjimjilbang reviews, Daegu, Sport by 노강호 on June 12, 2011

on the opposite side of the roof are the large golfing nets – visible from quite a distance

 (First visited on May 20th 2011. Last visited on 15th September 2012) You know  a bathhouse can be designated ‘luxury’ when you visit on consecutive days,  even when you are impeccably clean, and during your stay spend substantially more time in the pools and saunas than engaged in ablutive processes.  It’s my opinion, but currently,  I consider Wonderful Spaland,  Wol-Seong-Dong, as one of the best bathhouses in Daegu, and certainly what I would rank as a’ luxury bathhouse’ where one goes to relax, spend time with friends and do more than simply get clean. It’s failing are few and trivial. First, it isn’t a 24 hour establishment and second, it has no jjimjilbang. I can live with that! However, it does have several floors dedicated to golf, a large fitness center and besides being impeccably clean, is fairly new.

entrance

I often joke about how bathhouse ‘event pools’ are event-less. Personally, pretty coloured water, even with a few bubbles gurgled through it, doesn’t constitute much of an event. And so often, the added aromas  are scent-free. In Wonderful Spaland you can expect a surprise and on my last visit the scent of one pool lingered on my skin for a few days.

Wonderful Spaland’s luxurious ‘milky bubble tang’ – the yellow clay sauna is on the left and the Roman mosaic sauna to the right

The tiered yellow clay room – for sleeping

The Wonderful complex is slightly on the edge of the built up area of Wol-Seong-Dong and noticeable by the green golfing nets on its roof. A large foyer on the ground floor, next to a Paris Baguette, welcomes visitors. The changing area (male) is bright and very spacious with decent size lockers, barbers and shoe shine. This is probably one of the largest bathhouses I’ve been to and there are plenty of areas to enjoy. The event pool was a ruby-red brew of intense red ginseng opposite which was ‘milky bubble bath’ with beautifully silky soft water. The bath really does look like a vat of milk. Other pools included hot (열), warm (온) and a second event pool, which on various visits has included lavender and mugwort additives.  The largest pool (안마) comprises about 25 massage facilities with 6 different types of massage. Next is the cold pool (냉), significantly colder than many other establishments and very bracing. In another corner is a partitioned area where slatted wooden panels provide privacy so that large sliding doors can be opened reducing the temperature to that of the outside. Though not strictly a no-ch’eon (노천), which is usually fully outside, this is what it is often called.  Nearby is a salt sauna (소금 사우나), small sleeping area and a fantastically intense oak charcoal bath (짬나무 / 목초탕).

The warm pool with a large overhead TV screen beyond which is the milky bubble tang (left) and two ‘event’ pool on the right

information brochure side 1

Alongside the pools are 4 large saunas: a three leveled yellow mud sleeping sauna (황토), a steam sauna (안개) and a pine sauna (핀란드). However, the most enjoyable was the Roman sauna (로만 사우나), a large circular room with a conical ceiling. The entire room, a large mosaic at the center of which is a boxed-in steam vent. The entire room and conical ceiling where either covered in mosaic or various ‘jewels.’ However, the crowning feature was the heady scent of cinnamon and what might possibly have been aniseed. The humid aroma, blasted intermittently out of the large steam chamber seemed to shift and shade between the two key notes with spells when they seemed to blend equally.

information Brochure side 2

the massage benches, one of a battery of 6 different massages facilities with 26 individual massage stations

I have to say, I have a sensitive nose and there was something almost ‘trippy’ in the Wonderful Spa Land olfactory experience so much so that I feel disappointed by its absence in other bathhouses. If you’re only going to visit one bathhouse during your stay in Daegu, this is at the top of my recommendations and while you body relaxes, you can guarantee your nose will be subject to a comprehensive and pleasurable workout.

warm pool, milky bubble tang (left) and ‘event’ pool (right) The fourth pool, of which only the edge is in sight

The warm pool with the Roman (mosaic) sauna on the left and the pine (Finland) sauna on the right

Location – Daegu, Wol-Seong-Dong (Wikimapia  link ) near Wolbae Subway. It is within easy walking distance of Wolbae subway and by taxi from Lotte Cinema in Song-so, it is 5000 Won. A taxi from Wolbae subway will be little more than 2500 Won. It is also on the route of the 655 bus (Daegu Metropolitan City Bus Guide). (The brochure  above  has a small map).

click to enlarge. Wolbae – line 1

Rating – Luxury

Times – 0500=2300

Facilities – car parking, screen golf, golf driving area, fitness training, first floor Paris Baguette, coffee shop, small restaurant.

Jjimjilbang – No jjimjilbang

Bathhouse (men) – around 65 sitting down and twenty standing up

Cost – Bathhouse  – 5500 Won

Others – hairdressers, shoe shine, massage and rub downs, various seasonal discounts, numerous televisions.  About a five minute walk  from the ‘meat fest’ barbecued buffet restaurant, Gong-Ryong (공룡 – ‘Dinosaur.).

Ambiance – new, impeccably clean, busy at peak times, wonderful aromas permeating the whole complex, comfortably bright but with darkened yellow mud sauna and quieter, exposed to outside, no-ch’eon (노천)

Waygukin – none

Address – Wol-Seong-Dong, Tel: 053-565-7000

WebsiteWonderful Spaland Website Link

Layout (Male Bathhouse)

Coming!

Updates

Wonderful Spaland – a Little Less Wonderful. Update 1 (October 2011. Bathhouse Ballads)

Creative Commons License

© 林東哲 2011 Creative Commons Licence.

Collected Bathhouse Designs

Posted in bathhouses and jjimjilbang reviews, Uncategorized by 노강호 on May 29, 2011

(Originally published in September 2010) A collection of bathhouse designs that can be used for contrasting design and facility. Some plans are being added to and they are not to scale – they are very rudimentary but will give those with no knowledge of bathhouses an idea of their layout, approximate dimensions and the amenities available. Click plans for establishment reviews.

DAEGU

Daegu subway map (click for legible resolution)

LINE 1

WOLBAE 월배 SUBWAY, LINE 1,

BANWOLDANG (반월당) LINE 1 AND 2.  WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE OF SUBWAY

Greenvill Sauna in the Greenvill Apartments, Banwoldang

Greenvill Sauna bathhouse design. Male

DONG DAEGU STATION (동대구) LINE 1. WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE OF MAIN RAILWAY STATION

GOONG JEONG LAVENDER

Goong Jeong Lavender bathhouse design (male)

LINE 2

DASA (다사) LINE 2.  WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE OF DAESHIL OR DASA SUBWAYS

Hyu Lim Won JJimjilbang. Dasa (Closest subway Daeshil)

Hyu Lim Won, Dasa. Bathhouse design (male)

SONG SEO (성서) LINE 2. WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE OF SEONGSEO INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX SUBWAY

Migwang, Song So, Close to E Mart

Migwang Spolex. Bathhouse Design (male)

Hwang So. Next to Mega Town and Lotte Cinema Complex

Hwang So, Song So, Bathhouse Design (Male)

Han Song Bathhouse, Song-So. Near MacDonalds

Han Song, Song So. Bathhouse Design (male)


YONGSANDONG (용산동) LINE 2.  WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE OF YONGSAN SUBWAY

Dream Sauna, next to Home Plus

Dream Sauna. Bathhouse design (male)

Sam Jeong Oasis Sauna. Behind Lotte Castle

Sam Jeong Oasis. Yong San Dong.Bathhouse design. May 2011

Jade Sauna in Yongsandong

Jade Sauna bathhouse design. Male


WOLBAE (월배) LINE 1. WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE OF WOLBAE SUBWAY.

Wonderful Spa Land. Wolbae - awesome!

Wonderful Spa Land. Bathhouse design (male)

Creative Commons License© Nick Elwood 2010 Creative Commons Licence.