Recently the wife and I took a break from parent duty and spent an afternoon at Spa Castle in Queens. To put it bluntly, this place is great!
Nestled in the somewhat remote neighborhood of College Point, from the outside Spa Castle looks like nothing more than your usual nothing special building. But inside is an amazing world. You walk in the door and pay your $35 daily fee (it's more on weekends) and are given a small watch like thing to put around your wrist. Then you go into the locker room, put your shoes in a small locker and your regular clothes in a bigger locker. Then you changed into a uniform, basically a pair of shorts and a Spa Castle t-shirt. If you want to swim (and, trust me, you want to swim), you wear your swimsuit underneath your uniform. T
hen you ascend the stairs into the spa, and you come into Nirvana.
Spa Castle has three stories: a main level with a Sauna Alley (there's like seven or eight different saunas you can visit), a sleeping area (I kid you not!), as well as a small food court and the massage stations (you have schedule one if you want one, and they cost extra). Then there's another small level that has places where you can rest as well as get foot massages (again, costs extra). Then, above this level, is the level where you can swim. Well, not swim exactly -- wade. There are indoor and outdoor pools that have all sorts of jacuzzi jets and handle bars so you can wade, get pelted with hot water, and just sit around. Best of all, there's one pool where you can sit on chairs in front of tables and order drinks!.
If you or some friends or a loved one would like a fun day to relax, refresh and enjoy yourselves, Spa Castle is definitely worth the money. Some suggestions: you don't really need to spend more than about four hours there to get the full benefits. Also, the food is very expensive so, if you can eat before or afterwards, I'd suggest that. Also, the massages and extra services are costly as well but they are really good and worth getting.
We went on a Friday during the regular work week and it was pretty crowded so I would imagine that the weekends are insane (plus more expensive). I'd advise going on a day off work with your friends. Also, while Spa Castle is technically a Korean place, there's a nice balance of Asian, white, black and Hispanic people there -- it's practically like a Benetton ad.
So Spa Castle gets a big thumbs up from Mr NYC!
In last 2010, on the now cancelled show "Bored to Death," there was an episode set at Spa Castle. It was called "Escape from the Castle" -- but, believe me, if you go, you won't want to escape.