Once a year, on December 31st…
Okay, usually it’s more than once a year, and thus not always on 12/31; we make a 3.5 hour drive from Houston to Koreatown, i.e. Dallas Koreatown with the best Korean Spa, a Korean market, and a Korean cafe – Caffe Bene.
Yes, we have Korean town in Houston, but we don’t have the amazing awesome huge spa like the King Spa & Sauna in Dallas. Besides, a short road trip and a night at a hotel is always a fun getaway!
The usual admission to King Spa is $45 a person, but there are often Groupon and Living Social deals for $25. The admission gets you a 24 hour pass into the facility. There are separate steam and bath areas for females and males, and yes, you have to strip completely naked to enjoy those, or you can wear one of the provided uniforms and enjoy co-ed steam rooms with different themes.
In addition, there is a movie room with huge lounge chairs, perfect for napping between spa rooms.
And, although we skipped this time, I highly recommend the full body scrub. It might be a bit awkward for like 5 seconds to have someone scrub your naked body, but once you start seeing your dead skin flying off, you’ll feel like it’s a natural peeling process all humans should go through, like snakes.
There is also a pool area, fun for kids, or those who like swimming in chlorine water, but we usually just stay in the sauna part.
Being hungry is also not an issue, there are several restaurants on premises, a couple in the pool area, and a more authentic in the spa area. We always stick with the authentic side and my favorite is the Spicy Mushroom Soft Tofu Soup. Dmitry usually goes for the Spicy Beef Broth Soup.
After the spa, we are so relaxed, but we manage to make our way to the Komart down the road for some Orion ChocoPie (seriously, best marshmallow-chocolate-covered-cookie ever!) and Dmtiry’s favorite Korean drink ever – Milkis.
For the hotel I get an express deal from Priceline in the Galleria area. Four star hotel is usually in the $60-70 range. We’ve stayed at Le Meridien, Westin, and Hilton before (you don’t choose the hotel when you use the Express Deal). My favorite in terms of comfort has been the Hilton, but they do charge $25/night for parking. The decor was favorite in Le Meridien, but ask for a room away from the elevators (too noisy). And the Westin, which is what we got this time, has an awesome window seat and my favorite Kohler shower. And if you’d like to do a little shopping, it has direct access into the Galleria.
The following morning before we head home, we make it a point to stop at Caffe Bene, a Korean cafe with insanely huge parfaits (which we are yet to try), and the best waffles I’ve ever had. We now have a Caffe Bene in Houston, but they don’t nearly have the same selection as the one in Dallas. Although this time I was a bit disappointed, they discontinued my favorite waffle with goat cheese and peach jam, but it was still good!
Caffe Bene is the perfect place to have some coffee, read a paper, and do some homework, wish the one in Houston was a bit bigger.
And after that we say, “Bye, Dallas!” and hit the road home.
Bonus: When we first get into Dallas, we also stop at In-n-Out Burgers for a “snack,” since we don’t have one in Houston, makes it feel more vacationy. 🙂