Insider's Guide to Spas
Kabuki Springs

Day Spas

Kabuki Springs & Spa

Pamela Redmond Satran


Hard by a busy street corner in Japantown, Kabuki Springs & Spa shares its Asian theme with the Mandarin Oriental, but that’s about all the two spas share. A gathering place for hip young San Franciscans, Kabuki Springs is the place to go when you want to relax and indulge like the natives do. Its most distinctive feature is the capacious communal Japanese baths, candlelit and atmospheric, with hot and cold plunging pools, sauna and Jacuzzi, and steam room complete with little bowls of salt for self-administered scrubs.

Kabuki Springs is the place to go when you want to relax and indulge like the natives do. Its most distinctive feature is the capacious communal Japanese baths, candlelit and atmospheric, with hot and cold plunging pools, sauna and Jacuzzi, and steam room complete with little bowls of salt for self-administered scrubs.

Kabuki Springs alternates women’s and men’s days in the communal baths, with bathing-suit-mandatory coed sessions on Tuesdays. Reservations are essential, perhaps thanks to the affordable price: $25 for a full day in the baths, only $15 if you also book a treatment.

I added the bath visit onto a 25-minute shiatsu massage, which I chose because it wasn’t like any of the other treatments I was getting during my four-day spa marathon. This turned out to be an over-the-sheet fast-paced rubdown, starting out great, thanks to my female therapist’s man-hands, but devolving as the session progressed. Round about Minute 16, it felt like my therapist started focusing on her Valentine’s Day plans rather than on my aching shoulders.

Pamela Redmond Satran

Pamela Redmond Satran

Pamela Redmond Satran is a novelist and an entrepreneur who lives in Los Angeles.