As recommended by the likes of Vogue, Conde Nast, Forbes and The New York Times, and as an official sponsor of Alexander Wang, Shangpree Spa’s reputation precedes it.
The spa is the preferred choice for Seoul’s elite and has a cult following of exclusive clientele that includes K-Pop stars and celebrities from around the globe. As you can imagine, when the spa invited me to review one of their facial treatments, I jumped at the opportunity to do so.
Shangpree has three spa locations throughout Seoul: these are located in Cheongdam, Gangnam and Myeongdong respectively.
I visited the spa’s Cheongdam branch; nestled between the designer boutiques and quirky coffee bars of this glamorous Seoul neighbourhood, this acted as the perfect location to enjoy a facial as part of a girly day out in Seoul.
From the moment I stepped into the spa lobby I was met with luxury – beautiful wooden flooring and a sculpted wooden back wall, a water feature in the center of the room, golden lockers for your shoes and an elegant sofa area with refreshments prepared ready for my arrival.
The two ladies that greeted me were extremely friendly and spoke a good level of English; they explained the process to me and I was then whisked away to my private room to change. The room had all the amenities that you could ask for – a wardobe to hang your clothes, and a vanity table with a number of products available for your use after the treatment to make sure that you are in pristine condition for the rest of your day.
Soft, traditional music played in the background creating a very relaxing environment.
Once I was changed, the esthetician entered the room to assess my skin and determine the best treatment option for me. Throughout this procedure, and the treatment itself, a high level of professionalism and expertise was evident. In order to work at Shangpree spa, experienced estheticians must be trained for three years before they are even allowed to touch a client’s skin. To me, this reassured me that I was in good hands. As someone who has always struggled with acne breakouts, I really appreciated the time that she took to assess my skin and choose a tailored treatment for me as I find that all too often, many spas just provide you with a generic package.
The esthetician spoke English, which I wasn’t expecting, but was definitely a welcome benefit as she explained each step of the procedure to me.
Firstly, she removed all of my makeup and cleansed and toned my face. I have recently started having laser treatments here in Seoul to even out my skin tone so a combination of this, and the extremely cold temperatures in Korea recently have left my skin very dry and sensitive.
After cleansing, she applied some soothing cream to my face, and then a moisturizing sheet mask which she left on for ten minutes to begin to combat some of this dryness.
Whilst all of this was taking place, another lady entered and cleansed my feet, massaging them with hot towels which was a nice touch. She asked if I would like to have a leg massage which I agreed to. To my surprise, this turned out to be an air compression massager which I had never experienced before – it reminded me a little of the machine that takes your blood pressure at the GP. Essentially, it was like putting your legs into long plastic socks which filled with air of varying pressure at different points around your leg to encourage better circulation. I was a little uncertain about this at first, but it did feel quite pleasant.
With the sheet mask removed, the esthetician used an ionic device to remove excess sebum from my skin, and massaged my face before moving on to the main aspect of the facial: the modelling mask. The treatment option that she selected for me was Shangpree’s popular ‘S-Energy’ treatment. Made from a combination of natural herbal ingredients, and containing no artificial fragrances or preservatives, this particular treatment is very popular as it is suitable for even the most sensitive of skin types. The esthetician blended all of the ingredients together there and then and applied the mask to my face. The mask was extremely thick in texture, and she asked if it was okay to cover my eyes and mouth with the formula which I agreed to (I had to keep my eyes tightly closed throughout the rest of the facial for this – if you don’t like the idea of that, then it is possible to have the mask applied avoiding these areas.)
As I was plunged into darkness, I was left for 20 minutes to relax before the esthetician re-entered once more. She gave me a chest and shoulder massage before removing the mask which, whilst firm, felt very effective in relieving some of the tension in my upper body. She peeled off the mask in one movement, and patted the remaining product into my skin, before applying a day moisturizer and an SPF treatment.
The entire process at Shangpree was very enjoyable and relaxing – from the initial cleansing, to the massages, to the facial treatment itself. My skin felt so refreshed after the experience, and it actually had a shiny, healthy glow to it for a couple of days afterwards that is so typically Korean.
The staff were eager to catch up with me after the facial, and offered me suggestions for the best ways of caring for my skin type. Though Shangpree is arguably the leading spa in Seoul, often scooping up awards at international and Korean beauty expos, I was really impressed by how down to earth and friendly all of the staff on site were; the customers were treated extremely well, and the staff were on hand to answer any question or query. I would definitely like to return in the future.
Cheongdam address: 32, Dosan-daero 51-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Cheongdam contact number: 02 511 2951
Shangpree Website: click here
Shangpree e-mail reservations: click here
Prices: A facial treatment at Shangpree spa is priced at ₩130,000 (approximately £90 or $111 USD).
Skincare range: Shangpree’s range of products are available at the spas, and in Galleria retail stores in Korea. Excitingly for my fellow Brits, their products are now also available from Harrods – making Shangpree the first Korean brand to grace their shelves.
Disclaimer: As always, High Heels & A Backpack believes in total transparency when it comes to reviewing products and services. I received a complimentary facial treatment in exchange for this review, however all opinions expressed throughout this article are my own, and completely honest.
Have you visited Shangpree? What are your favorite places for beauty treatments in Seoul?
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