Beginners Guide to the Spa – feat. Shangpree Spa

This past week I was lucky enough to visit renowned beauty spa – Shangpree Spa in Seoul. They have a few locations around Seoul and beyond and the one I went to was in Apgujeong.

Shangpree has been around since 1990 and have built a quality beauty destination and brand. They are dedicated to the education and development of beauty and have many experts working to perfect their products. Shangpree staff are rigorously trained in their methods to ensure customers receive top quality treatment. Their dedication and thoroughness is reflected in the numerous awards they have won over the years.

As a spa novice I thought I might tailor this post towards people who have never been to a spa and might be a bit nervous about what to expect. I know that for myself as an introvert I find going to new places always brings a certain amount of anxiety. So this post will tell you what to expect from start to finish so that if you do choose to pamper yourself there won’t be anything holding you back.

First off you will need to book an appointment. One of the pluses for Shangpree Spa is that they have a full English service which makes it more accessible to foreign visitors. You can find booking information on their website and you can either ring for an appointment or just email them. They are open Monday through Friday from 1pm to 10pm with the last appointment time at 8:30pm.

Once you are booked in make sure to find out where you are going. If you are unfamiliar with the area you are going to then just let them know and they can help you out. They also have maps to all their locations on the website and links to google maps as well. I got a bit lost as I mixed up the subway exits in my head but they were nice enough to guide me through it via txt message and sent me a little map to follow so I could find my way.

The spa in Apgujeong is a lovely chic building with a tranquil vibe. They also have a nail salon at this branch too which is nice if you are out for a day of pampering.


When you go inside you go up the stairs and turn left. Straight ahead is the nail salon. Through the door to the left you will come to some little square lockers. These are situated before you get to the main desk but you will be able to see that now. Before you go over to the main desk you must remember to exchange your shoes. This is what the lockers are for and inside each locker are some cute little sandals. The locker is very small so it’s just for your shoes; you can take the rest of your belongings through with you as they have a cupboard for that in the rooms. Once you have changed your shoes you can proceed to the counter to check in. There is also small waiting area with a sofa and a big stone fountain in the middle of the room.

When they are ready for you you will be shown to a small room.The rooms are very cozy and peaceful. They have a noise machine playing sounds of nature very unobtrusively. There is a bed and my room also had a vanity where you could fix your hair if you needed to after your treatment.

They will leave you alone for a few minutes for you to change out of your clothes into the wrap that is provided. There is a little wardrobe that has hangers and that is where the wrap is found also. You can hang up your clothes and put your bag in here.

The wrap a stretchy rectangle of fabric; according to the sign it is 100% natural dyed cotton. It has a gathered elastic at the top with Velcro. You just wrap it around yourself like a towel and join the Velcro at the back to secure it. Because it has elastic it is able to be expanded and so it does not matter what size you are. I am plus size and it fit me, it was a bit gapey at the back but you are lying down on the table so it does not actually matter. You take off all your clothes including your bra, just leaving your panties on. Your beauty technician will knock on the door to check if you are ready.

You then lie down on the bed, you can remove your slippers now too. Direct your head towards whichever end has the chair as this is where the esthetician sits while looking after you. They will cover your lower body with towels. I was really hot from walking around to get there so they also turned up the air con for me.

If you have makeup on the first step is to remove that. I didn’t wear any as I knew I would be pushing it for time; I had the last appointment at 8:30 pm and I live just outside of Seoul. She did cleanse and tone my face first. I was very hot and sweaty from getting lost so I did need it. While she was doing this another girl came in and gave me a bit of a leg massage, pressing down on my calves, loosening my ankles and giving them a nice cooling spray.

My esthetician then put a lovely thick gel mask all over my face for moisturizing, she painted it on with a brush which I have to say felt delightful. The gel was very cooling. Then she left this one for about 10 minutes and told me to take a rest, she dimmed the lights and left me alone. It was lovely and peaceful and I really needed the break after rushing around to get there. This made the next part much nicer as I was cooled down and rested by the time she came back.

The treatment I received was the S-energy treatment. This is their signature treatment but they have a whole range of others to choose from. They also have body treatments which sound heavenly. You can find out all about the different options on the website.


The S-energy Complex improves skin cell physiology in order to facilitate regeneration and anti-aging. It contains natural ingredients such as Baikal Skullcap Stem Cell Callus Culture, Violet Herbal Complex and Oxygen.

After she removed the gel moisturizing mask the next step was the S-Energy Healing Ampoule using a weird looking machine that kind-of reminded me of electric shock treatment. Lucky for us this one is much more pleasant. This is an Ionic Machine and the lovely assistant manager Celia, actually came in and talked me through the process and told me all about it.

This device works to improve the way the product is absorbed into the skin. It allows the product to deeply penetrate the skin where it can provide moisture and strengthen skin cells. It helps to remove all the impurities and improves circulation. You don’t actually feel anything electrical on your skin or anything so don’t worry about that.

Before she started the esthetician put tissue around my head and in my ears (just placed at the entrance). I was not sure why but it became apparent quickly as the ampoule she used next was extremely thin. It ran down the sides of my face and would most certainly have ended up dripping into my ears. They think of everything. The esthetician dips the forks into the liquid and lightly brushes that in short strokes all over your face. It felt very gentle and she had complete control over the instruments using a deft and obviously skilled touch.

After that has soaked in she scraped off the gunk in my face. This was non invasive and she was not pushing very hard at all, just a firm pressure to get rid of excess sebum. Afterwards she showed me the results in a little bowl. You can see all the gunk floating around in the clear liquid she was using. It’s gross but oddly satisfying and of course it’s better out than in your skin.

Next it was time to repeat the ampoule process with the Ion Machine. Now the skin is all clean it can absorb the ampoule, this was again a pleasant experience due to the technicians obviously skilled hands.

She finished off with a short facial massage where she worked a thick moisturizer into my skin. The moisturizer was soft and creamy and felt glorious.

While she was doing all of these treatments the other girl came back and asked if I wanted a leg massage. I said sure. She proceeded to put some long tubes on my legs. These fill up with air and massage you automatically. They are just like giant blood pressure machines and they did squeeze quite tight on my feet I have to say. It was a bit weird but I got used to it. I’m not sure if it was completely enjoyable as it was strange but it was not bad either.

After the Ion Machine and moisturizing it was time for the final step – the rubber mask. My esthetician went out and quickly mixed it up. Once she got back she was quick in applying it with a spatula. It was very cooling when she put it on my face and she asked if I was okay to cover my mouth and eyes. I did not really have time to think about it so I said yes. I would say to you, if you are a novice like me, to think about this beforehand and if you can handle it. If it is your first time I would just go for maybe one or the other.

I must confess I freaked out a bit; I guess I’m a tiny bit claustrophobic. And as she had covered my mouth I could not talk. I waved at my eyes and made distressed whimpers and luckily she understood. As soon as she scraped it off my eyes and I could see the light again I relaxed. Lesson learned, and no more covering the eyes for me.

This is left on for a short while and it hardens completely, when the esthetician comes back she just peels it off quickly and easily. She then used a toner to cleanse my skin one more time to make sure everything was clean. Sadly it is all over and they will leave you alone to get dressed.

The results were amazing. My skin felt light and clear and looked all glowey. The glow lasted for a couple of days and I have to say my skin has never felt better. I was very happy with the service and results. Although I was provided this service for review purposes I would definitely go back myself and I’m already thinking about my next trip.

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One of the great things about Shangpree is their commitment to quality. That and their dedication to bringing the spa quality treatments to a wider range of people than are able to visit their locations in person. This is why they have a huge range of products both skincare and makeup available to purchase. You can get the whole range of S-energy products (among others) and you can even buy your own handheld Ion Therapy system. Their products are available all over the world and will soon be available in Harrods for any of you that are UK based.

 Additional pictures courtesy of the Shangpree Official Website.

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