Note: The spa was closed for renovations in early 2011; it is now open again.
Address: 1070 E. Sahara Avenue (The spa is located about 500 feet north of Sahara Avenue on a private driveway and does not front directly on the street; look for the signs posted on Sahara)
Hours: Open 8am - 11:30pm, 7 days a week
Cost: $25 admission fee ($20 for locals, free admission with any service. Additional facility charge may apply to those entering the spa between midnight and 6am.)
Amenities: 1 whirlpool, 1 cold plunge, salt steam room, herbal steam room, sauna, dry salt sauna
Cruising activity: Low (but has potential)
- The towels provided here are no bigger than a hand towel - so give up on the notion that you're ever going to be able to wrap something around you during your spa experience here, and get used to the fact that you and everybody else is going to be buck naked for the next several hours. (See why this place has potential?)
- As you're sitting in the whirlpool, there are only two things to look at - the flat screen TV on the opposite wall, and the open showers - and neither is a bad view. (Did I mention already that this place has potential??)
- Since this spa is open 24 hours, it's a more convenient weekday option for a little relaxation and nudity for the 8-5 crowd (as all of the Strip spas close between 7 and 8pm).
- The sauna and steam rooms all have clear glass windows and doors, making it a little difficult to play if there are more than a few guys in the wet area. The dry salt sauna is virtually unused, as it's in a remote area of the men's spa - and may be appropriate for a little one-on-one time if you're cautious.
Review: If you've never been to a Korean spa, you're in for a treat. In addition to the standard amenities found at the Strip spas (whirlpool, steam, sauna), Imperial Spa has a unisex area on the 2nd floor with a cafe, unisex sauna rooms, and a theater lounge among other things. In the middle of the men's locker room, there's a group of La-Z-Boys oriented towards a flat screen playing Korean-language programs, and a "sleeping room" off to the side of the grooming area filled with La-Z-Boys in a darkened room. So, to paraphrase Dorothy - it's readily apparent you're not in Kansas anymore.
Upon checking in at the front desk, you'll be issued a locker key, 2 towels, and a pair of shorts and a T-shirt for wearing in the unisex areas. Strip down at your locker - and head naked over to the wet area. The wet area includes both Western (standing) and Eastern (seated) shower facilities. The Western showers have no partitions, putting you in full view of the other patrons - combine this with the fact that the steam and sauna rooms have clear glass windows and doors, and you'll find that the spa layout lends itself to voyeuristic tendencies. The one downfall of this facility is the lack of patrons - but if the word were to get out, this place could be very fun.
PS: While I'm no expert at Asian culture and customs by any stretch of the imagination, the following pointers may help you avoid the scorn of other patrons:
- Take your street shoes off immediately after entering the men's locker room - there are cubicles for shoes inside the locker room entrance with numbers that correspond to the locker number for your clothing.
- Don't wear the spa robes or clothing into the wet area (an elderly man yelled at me in Korean as I was entering the wet area in a robe, so I'm assuming that was the topic of his rant).
- Always rinse off before entering the whirlpool or cold plunge - especially when coming from the steam rooms or sauna (actually, a practice that I'm sure is appreciated at any spa).