For our belated Valentine’s weekend getaway, we opted for a hot springs spa hotel in Asan – Onyang Grand Hotel. The hotel boasts hot spring spas and saunas, indoor swimming pools, a bowling alley, and screen golf. Well, it sounds like the perfect resort!
In reality, though, the place is quite dilapidated – almost depressing. We knew the rooms were going to be old-fashioned, so we didn’t mind that. The swimming pools were actually pretty nice, but it was still a little too cold for us to enjoy. The bowling alley is hidden on the 3F, and isn’t the treasure the hunt made it out to be. The spa we were told “both men and women could go into” turned out to be a segregated Jjimjilbang – Korean bath house. As Clint and I had never been to one of these before, the idea of undressing completely in front of strangers was unheard of. Not to mention, we came to enjoy a weekend together. It’d be moot point to separate.
So we decided to leave the hotel and wander the streets of Onyang to see what we’d find.
The evening turned out to be a fun-filled date night. We perused the Onyang Market at night, and ran into a Japanese restaurant called Misoya. They had great sushi rolls for a fair price, my favorite udon soup, and crispy shrimp tempura. Then we checked out the local Coffee Factory, where Clint got the “best caramel macchiato” he’s ever tasted. (I don’t know what it was about Asan, but Clint used a lot of superlatives for their foods/drinks that weekend.) Upstairs was a billiards hall called Billy. The owner was very congenial, and gave us free sodas while we played. After an hour and beating Clint by some stroke of luck, we headed off to Wa Bar. Clint got to reminisce on an old beer he used to drink with his friends back home, and then tried some new ones.
The next morning, I decided, “What the heck. I’m already here, might as well check out this hot spring spa.” So I grabbed my coupon, and headed downstairs. I went in, undressed, turned on my tunnel vision and willed myself to enjoy the baths. American-bred fear of public nudity and my own awkwardness aside, the baths were really enjoyable. I soaked in the indoor pool for a good while, then finally worked up the nerves to walk outdoors. That one was even better! The cold air dissipated as I immersed myself in the water. There were a couple of other ladies in there, and everyone pretty much minded their own business. It was truly an odd experience for me, but I’m glad I did it.
Note: We also ate at a galbi restaurant, Hobak Chon (호박촌), and a western restaurant, Arman, that weekend. Both places were pretty good. Hobak Chon had cream corn! It was a delightful surprise to add to the tasty galbi.
Korean Name: 온양그랜드호텔 (Onyang Grand Hotel)
Address: 300-28, Onyang 1(il)-dong, Asan