Facials & Spas
09 January 2024
Continuing my reviews of beauty experiences in Seoul, with my review of a facial at the Sulwhasoo Spa Seoul’s flagship in Gangnam. In a highly competitive market, Sulwhasoo stands out as one of Korea’s most well established brands locally, with a strong global presence. When I asked my friends for recommendations on beauty experiences that I had to try out in Korea; a facial and massage at the Sulwhasoo Spa and Flagship in Gangnam, Seoul was among the top recommendations.
I’ve heard good reviews about Sulwhasoo’s skincare and makeup from friends; so I did not hesitate in making my reservation at the Sulwhasoo Spa and Flagship in Gangnam, Seoul. So here’s my review of my facial and massage at at the Sulwhasoo Spa and Flagship in Gangnam, Seoul. For the rest of my must visit beauty stores and experiences in Seoul, please head to For the rest of my must visit beauty stores and experiences in Seoul, please head to Best Korean Beauty Stores & Experiences in Seoul. You can also learn about the latest K-beauty trends in this post K-beauty Skincare Trends for 2024.
Sulwhasoo is a luxury, South Korean cosmetics brand founded in 1966 by entrepreneur, Suh Sung-whan. Suh Sung-whan also founded the Amore-Pacific conglomerate and the Osulloc tea farms.
In September 20222, Sulwhasoo launched a marketing campaign named “Sulwha, blooms again.” Sulwhasoo replaced its long time ambassador, popular K-drama actress, Song Hye Kyo with Rose from K-pop group, Blackpink. Tilda Swinton, a British actress and Chinese actress Songjia were also named as Sulwhasoo’s ambassadors.
Together with advertising agency Jung von Matt, Sulwhasoo also held a star studded launch of this campaign at the Metropolitan Museum in New York in March 2023. AmorePacific also unveiled a new flagship for Sulwhasoo at Bukchon, a historic neighbourhood in Seoul. The Sulwhasoo Bukchon flagship store is housed in a restored hanok with a contemporary open air Western design. This was also the site of a commercial starring Rose of Blackpink and Tilda Swinton. I visited the Sulwhasoo flagship in Bukchon; and it was a beautifully designed gallery and boutique that I highly recommend visiting. Check out my video of the Sulwhasoo flagship in Bukchon here.
The Sulwhasoo Flagship and Spa in Gangnam, Seoul, is one of the two locations that offer Sulwhasoo facials and massages (the other location is in Lotte Hotel). Located in Dosan neighbourhood of Gangnam, the Sulwhasoo Flagship and Spa in Gangnam is a 6 storey flagship that houses the brand’s spa and massage facilities, boutique and exhibition gallery. When I visited the Sulwhasoo Flagship and Spa in Dosan in August 2023, only the basement and first two storeys were open to visitors. The other floors and the acclaimed rooftop were closed to visitors.
I tried the Signature Ginseng Treatment at the Sulwhasoo Flagship and Spa in Dosan, Gangnam in August 2023 with my best friend Tiffany. We booked the facial one month ahead of our appointment via Sulwhasoo’s website.
When we arrived at the Sulwhasoo Spa Gangnam, we were ushered to a private room to enjoy chilled ginseng tea as we filled up a registration form that asked about our skin type and concerns. Then, we were asked to choose our preferred scent from four of Sulwhasoo’s signature scents such that would be used to perfume our respective spa rooms. I chose Sulwhasoo’s First Care Activating scent.
Sulwhasoo’s First Care filled the room as my spa session began. The Signature Ginseng Treatment began with a foot scrub and massage for about 5 to 10 minutes. Next, a sound bowl was placed on my abdomen. The bowl was struck by my therapist and according to her, the vibrations were supposed to relax and calm me.
The next steps in the Sulwhasoo Signature Ginseng Treatment was a showcase of Sulwhasoo’s ginseng products. Sulwhasoo’s First Care Activating serum, toner, ampoule, essence, cream, oil and face mask were applied to my face by my therapist. Her touch was light, purposeful and trained- just the right amount of force to massage my face. I almost drifted into sleep if not for having to stay awake to remember all the steps of this facial.
tHE Sulwhasoo Signature Ginseng Treatment also included a massage of my upper shoulders and hand in between the steps of the facial. A jade applicator was used to spread the Sulwhasoo essence, and it provided a cooling and refreshing feel. The facial ended with my therapist applying Sulwhasoo’s skincare (First Care Activating serum, toner, serum, eye cream, face cream and sunscreen).
After the Signature Ginseng Treatment, I was guided back to a private room for another cup of ginseng tea and snack. My therapist shared her thoughts about my skin (she said I had dry skin); and recommended that I purchase the Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Serum EX set.
You can also apply your makeup or try some of Sulwhasoo’s makeup products in the spa in a private room with a vanity counter.
The cost of the Sulwhasoo Signature Ginseng Treatment at was 280, 000 Korean won (approximately SGD$290) for 80 minutes.
THE GOOD ABOUT SULWHASOO SPA SEOUL:What I liked at the Sulwhasoo Flagship and Spa in Gangnam, Seoul
My facial at the Sulwhasoo Flagship and Spa in Gangnam, Seoul was a luxurious experience from the get go- the interiors, staff and spa treatment.
To call the Sulwhasoo Flagship and Spa in Dosan gorgeous is an understatement. The interiors are opulent and thoughtfully designed for users. The staff were attentive, discreet and patient with me. I enjoyed the Signature Ginseng Treatment and found it to be a blissful, relaxing experience.
THE BAD: What I did not like about the Sulwhasoo Flagship and Spa in Gangnam, Seoul
The Sulwhasoo Signature Ginseng Treatment is essentially, a showcase of Sulwhasoo’s ginseng containing skin care products together with an upper body massage. For what it is- massage and application of Sulwhasoo skincare- it is an expensive 80 minute massage/ facial. This is a very traditional facial and massage- no high tech tools like microdermabrasion, LED light therapy…etc. No extractions are provided too. If you’re expecting these devices or tools, then the Sulwhasoo Signature Ginseng Treatment might disappoint you.
My skin was looking very dewy and luminous after finishing the Sulwhasoo Signature Ginseng Treatment. However, this “chok-chok” look was due to piling of skincare on my skin; rather than a true radiance. My face felt oily and sticky for the rest of the day.
I did not notice any visible improvement in my skin complexion or texture in the days after the Sulwhasoo Signature Ginseng Treatment.
Coming to the Sulwhasoo Flagship and Spa in Gangnam, Seoul is an expensive, pampering experience and Sulwhasoo makes not qualms about this. The opulent design of the spa, pampering experience and attentive service will have you feeling restored when you leave.
It is costly for what it boiled down to- a good massage and application of Sulwhasoo skincare. If you’re expecting anything more such as high tech tools or extraction, you’ll be disappointed. But that’s not why you would come to the Sulwhasoo Flagship and Spa in Gangnam, Seoul. The Sulwhasoo Flagship and Spa in Gangnam, Seoul is all about experiencing an extravagant and luxurious time.
All in all, I enjoyed my experience and I would come back again to the Sulwhasoo Flagship and Spa in Gangnam, Seoul . If you enjoyed this blogpost, you might also enjoy this blogpost Review: Personal Colour Analysis in Seoul, Korea.