Freelance writer with a BA double majoring in Literature and Australian History who loves finding random places of social or historical treasure whilst travelling around visiting festivals, markets and quaint cafes with my husband and baby
Published July 25th 2014
Clothes are optional when you cleanse mind body and soul
The Apollo Day Spa is located in an unassuming part of Woolloongabba underneath the Diana Hotel. It is a Korean Day Spa and I would venture to say that there's not another one like it in Brisbane - if there is, I'd love to try it.
For anyone who has been to a traditional Japanese or Korean bath house and wants to continue the experience back here in Australia, this is the place to come. But I must stress at the outset, the beauty and uniqueness of this place, is that it is a traditional bath house. If you've been to one, you'll be understanding my meaning already. This place is not for the shy or reserved.
When using the bath house it is normal to be fully naked. Swimsuits are allowed (but underwear is not allowed) in the baths. However, it is customary to wear nothing. As with traditional Asian bathhouses, the areas are segregated to male only and female only. So nobody of the opposite sex is able to see you.
While the Apollo Day Spa is similar to Japanese or Korean bathhouses, if you are looking for a Japanese Ryokan, you won't find it here as obviously mineral underground hot springs are not available.
The Day Spa offers massage, facials, body treatments, nails, ear candling and beauty regimes as well as the bathhouse and sauna.
When you walk into the ladies bathhouse area, you are greeted by a beauty room where the consultants can conduct treatments. Beside that area are the lockers and change room, complete with a large basin area and complimentary use of hair products for when you've completed your treatment.
Before you enter the spa or sauna area, you must shower first. When you have undressed or dressed into swimming togs, move into the bathhouse area. The bathhouse is an open plan room with showers, seated wash sink/showers (like a traditional wash area), two spa pools and a sauna. Photos of the spa area were not possible due to privacy of patrons.
Lotions and hair products are complimentary for use after spa
The spa pools are temperature controlled. One is hot and the other quite cold. The cold is bearable, but not that pleasant until you get used to it. The idea of the hot and cold spas is that the temperature difference allows for good circulation. Spend 5 minutes in each alternately and the change in body temperature increases your circulation allowing for weight loss, more oxygen in the blood and better health. Or you could do what I did and spend 10 minutes in the hot one, and 2 in the cold alternately - the hot spa is so good...
Time in the sauna purifies the toxins out of the body so the whole experience cleanses the circulatory stream and promotes better health.
The bath house and sauna can be used on their own or as an add on to a massage, facial or other treatment. Hydro massages are also available inside the bathhouse. Etiquette must be observed in the bathhouse.
The mens area is similar to the womens', although they don't have the treatment room.
Between the male/female bathhouse areas is the reception area, treatment rooms and a nail bar area. The massages are fantastic and combined with the bathhouse, leave one feeling light and totally cleansed.
Now back to the nudity part. While my husband and I were in Japan we went to traditional Japanese Ryokan and hot springs, and we also tried the bathhouses. While we were there we did the traditional thing and went naked. Again, the areas were segregated and towels are a blessing. We figured we were overseas, nobody would know us, and what happens on tour stays on tour.
However, back in Brisbane it was a little different. I was nervous. I imagined that out of the over 1 million people in Brisbane, and the approximately 10 people in the bathhouse area at the same time as me, I had 1 in 100,000 chance of seeing someone I knew while I was in my birthday suit. The odds seemed to be against me. So I had full intentions of wearing my bathers. However, when I got to Apollos all of the women in the bathhouse were going naked, and nobody seemed to even bath an eyelid at each other, intent on their own relaxation. So yes, I did end up going naked and I have to say that although my towel was my friend, it did feel natural and nobody even glanced at me.