Lush Korean Spa with stunning views of New York City anyone? If you are looking for a little escape from The City and some serious relaxation then you need to make a trip to SoJo spa club in New Jersey.
Whether you are living in NYC or vacationing there, we all deserve a little luxury from time to time. When I discovered SoJo Spa Club just over the water from Manhattan in New Jersey, I felt like I had won the lotto. It’s a spa I return to every time I’m in New York.
Here is my SoJo Spa Club Review.
How to Get To SoJo Spa
First off don’t let the fact it is in NJ put you off. You can easily take the 156 NJ Transit public bus from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Mid Town.
If you decide to drive there is a free public parking lot or they have a $12 USD valet parking service.
You can also easily use Uber or Lyft to get here.
Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you need to be prepared for anything! Travel insurance has always been high my list of things to get before I travel but now more than ever its at the top of my list.
I’m pretty sure we have all had travel plans messed up because of COVID and not all insurers covered this. So when looking for travel insurance it’s important to check it covers travel disruption due to COVID-19, Hey Mondo, Passport Nomads, Safety Wing, and Travel Insurance Master all provide cover for this.
Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single trip cover, annual multi trip cover, and long term travel cover. You even have the option to start the cover when you are already on your trip, although you won’t be covered for the first 72 hours. For me my favourite feature is their app which offers you a 24/7 Dr chat and the ability to file a claim direct in the app.
Passport Nomads provides the most comprehensive cover for Digital Nomads. The game changer with them is that you have a red card and if you find yourself in need of medical care you just contact them and they will pre load your card with the funds to cover your treatment, meaning you won’t need to pay out of pocket and then put in a claim later.
Safety Wing is great value with monthly cover starting at $39. It’s super easy to use and it just renews each month. They have an excess of $250 and it’s simple to make a claim through their website. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy and I like that it renews on a monthly basis, so I don’t have to pay out a big lump sum up front.
I also use Travel Insurance Master for some short vacation type trips.
If you are doing shorter trips or an extended backpacking trip then Hey Mondo or Travel Insurance Master are the best option. If you are a digital nomad or planning travel of at least 6 months then go for Passport Nomads or SafetyWing.
My SoJo Spa Club Review
SoJo Spa Club is spread out over five floors. That’s right five floors of pools, saunas, steam rooms, treatment rooms, and restaurants. Oh, and did I mention the infinity pool with a killer view of Manhattan?
Word of warning, do not underestimate this place. It is enormous and it isn’t somewhere you want to just come for a few hours – you will need it all day. So plan accordingly. It does get busier in the late afternoons so come early if you can to avoid the crowds.
When you pay the entrance fee (don’t forget to bring your ID with you) you will need to give them a credit card to add to your account. Then you will be given a wristband that you use to open your locker and charge any food, drinks, or treatments you decide to get.
This means you can safely lock everything away and you don’t have to worry about keeping money on you in the spa. They have a no footwear policy, so you have to leave your shoes in a shoe locker before going to the spa. If you happen to be one of those ‘I hate my feet’ people then bring some socks to wear as you will not be allowed to wear shoes at all inside.
How does it work
Once you enter the spa, you enter the female (or male) bathhouse. Here they will give you a robe and towel. You lock your clothes away and put on your bathing suit and dressing gown and then it’s time to explore. Thanks to your bracelet you won’t need any cash, as everything is electronic. If you want to bring your phone with you then you can. They actually have little phone lockers spotted around everywhere so you can lock your phone away while you are bathing or in the sauna.
I would also recommend taking a water bottle with you. There are water fountains all over and it’s important to stay hydrated!
Within the male and female bathhouses, clothes are optional. So if you are on the shy side, you have been warned. Cameras are not allowed in these areas, for obvious reasons.
The 4th floor
This is where the bathhouses and changing rooms are. Then outside there are several different pools including a HINOKI bath and a hydrotherapy pool. Or as I like to call it my budget-friendly massage therapist.
Don’t miss out on the Ganbanyoku Sauna – I took a little nap here after my lunch – bliss.
In the bathhouse, you can book a Korean scrub, and if you can spare the money, I urge you to book it. I have never felt so relaxed and clean as I have after that scrub. My elbows felt like a newborn baby’s. If you are a bit modest though it may be best to give this a miss. The scrub involves being butt naked and scrubbed within an inch of your life while having warm water thrown all over you by a tiny (but very mighty) Korean woman.
I think my favorite moment of the day was hearing my mum reply in a startled voice “What you want me to take off everything?”. Oops! Sorry, Mum probably should have pre-warned you that would happen. Anyway, you have been warned!
The 5th floor
If the Korean scrub is a bit too much nudity and scrubbing for your liking, you will find the treatment rooms up here. If you know you want something done, I recommend coming straight here as they do get booked up quickly. Check SoJo’s website for prices and special offers.
They also have an array of different saunas and chill-out areas here.
The 6th floor
Here you will find two dining options. A more formal restaurant with a view of Manhattan or a more casual cafeteria. Both are very reasonable prices, and the portions are enormous. Being in Manhattan everything is overpriced. I found eating here a bargain in comparison.
There is also a volcanic sand bath where they will cover you under the sand and you can relax! Believe it or not this is the ONLY spa outside of Japan to offer this treatment with the traditional volcanic sand from Ibusuki.
The treatment itself is located right by the main restaurant over a 1,200 square feet open-air space. As it’s fully enclosed that means the treatment is available all year round.
So how does this treatment work? Well, first you are given a Japanese yukata (cotton robe) to wear. You can choose to keep your swimwear on under it or take everything off. Don’t worry, there is a changing room.
Once you are dressed in your Yukata you will be invited to step down into the sand, and place your head on a wooden block (to keep the sand out of your ears). Once comfortable they will begin placing the sand onto you.
Now I wasn’t sure how I would feel being buried in sand, but it was actually really (really) relaxing and the time went far quicker than I imagined it would. It felt so warm, and the weight felt really good, like a weighted blanket, but so much better.
So what are the benefits? Well, this ancient tradition is believed to help relieve musculoskeletal pain and stiffness, as well as benefiting to your skin and assisting your metabolism. It works in the same way that a sauna or steam room does. The sweating in the heat detoxifies the body, while the alkalinity of the mineral-rich volcanic sand itself amplifies the cleansing properties.
I’m not sure how much benefit I got from one session of this, but what I can say was that I was feeling super relaxed. I could hardly keep my eyes open after.
The 7th and 8th floor
These two upper floors are outside, and this is where you can relax in the sun if the weather is on your side. You could also work out in the fitness center or enjoy the view from the infinity pool (now we’re talking).
If you prefer to eat alfresco, you can also dine at the outdoor grill during the summer. I probably spent the least amount of time up here and the most time down on the 4th floor in the different pools.
Outfit ideas for SoJo Spa Club
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Final thoughts on SoJo Spa Club
As you can see from this post, I’m a HUGE fan of SoJo. I think it is fantastic value for money. The food is excellent and even if you are on a budget, $100 for a full day in a Spa with food and drink is a pretty good price to pay. Although after visiting this place, all the best quality massage chairs in the world and spas out there will have tough competition to come close to here.
I hope you have found this useful. Don’t forget to download these travel apps and check out my other NYC guides.
This post was proofread by Grammarly