Japan, Japanese cosmetics, midrange spa, Seoul
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A Cheongdam disappointment – Famed Japanese cosmetics maker’s SK-II spa

The spa environment in Seoul is ultra competitive, as most other things and south of the Han river is no exception.   One unique thing to Korea is that cosmetic brands have also opened their own spas including SK-II and Amore Pacific.

 Here’s a breakdown:

Vibe:  Chic on the outside but lacklustre for the interior.  Shiny red is what SK-II identifies itself with and that’s what they use inside. I just don’t feel very luxurious in there.  The presentation of tea and post-treatment refreshment is also quite poor for the price level.

Intimidation factor:  Heavy.   These staffers have a Cheongdam attitude and that’s not really a good thing.  They behave almost as if they’re better than their clients.

Number of front desk people:  Three.  This means 1 of them always has a chatting partner.

Response time: Immediate. They search your name, welcome you and you go up a floor to the treatment area.   At least they do this fast.

Products: SK-II. Duh.  But, for body treatments, they use a proprietary brand of body oils since SK-II doesn’t have their own line.  A bit of a let down.

Price range:  SK-II charges nearly 5 star Seoul hotel prices.  They undercut them by 50,000 won for some treatments and they’re a popular mid-range option.

Flaws:  Staff – both front end and in the treatment rooms.  They’re just plain rude and don’t really put a lot of effort into serving the customer.  When I raised some concerns about my treatment, they were fake apologetic and didn’t really try to make amends.  Additionally, the therapists clock watch and don’t really put a lot of effort into the treatments.  I’ve always left unsatisfied with their work.

Rating: One SK-II Facial Essence bottle out of four.

In Seoul, it really is hotel spa or bust for Miss Spaist.   A LOT of tourists come to Gangnam and Cheongdam for this spa but I just don’t enjoy their spa-ing experience.

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