Inquirer Super

7 Super ‘onsen’ tips

By: Irene C. Perez

Do I really have to get naked? Can I go even if I have a tattoo? Those are just some of the concerns first-time guests at I’M Onsen spa at I’M Hotel have but might be too shy to ask. Super asked the questions for you.

Can I wear a swimsuit?

No. Not even bikinis, trunks or disposable undies. Onsen is the traditional Japanese hot spring bath. It’s a communal way of relaxing in nature, and is a common Japanese health practice. The man-made onsen we have in Manila are like super jacuzzis, and, yes, you have to be butt naked. Hubaderas will have an easier time, but timid people may feel exposed and anxious. The spa is meant to de-stress, and the earlier you DGAF, the more comfortable you will be. Ideally, you start stripping by the locker area before showering and putting on the yukata provided by I’M Onsen. Take it from Elsa and let it go.

Is it OK if I have a tattoo?

Yes, as long as they’re not fresh. Take note of the gender-specific onsen areas, unless you’re in a couple’s suite.

What is the order of going around?

First, deposit your stuff in the lockers. Shower. Go to the Wellness Suites aka wet floor. Sweat it out at the sauna done in Finnish wood, then have a steam bath. I’M Onsen has two pools that mimics the swirling hot spring where you can chill. The recommended stay is 15 minutes in each stop, and it can be done in any order till you’re satisfied. Take a nice shower before going to the massage area. Stay at the Relaxation Area with recliners for tea or a nap. Dress up and hit the buffet.

Are photos allowed? Can I take a selfie?

If you really want to relax, mute the phone and leave it in the locker. Photos and videos are allowed only in the Relaxation Lounge where tea is served.

Yukata robe

Should I bring personal products?

I’M Onsen provides basic toiletries, you may bring your own travel kit and skincare stuff. Colored hair may be protected with a swim cap. Long hair must be bundled up.

How long can I stay?

I’M Onsen is open from 12 noon to 12 midnight, so set the massage time and work around that schedule. The buffet at The Common Good Food Playground is from 4 p.m.-10 p.m.

The hotel looks so fancy, how much is it?

The bestselling package is the 60-minute Signature Massage with buffet for P1,950—this is sulit since you can spend the day at the spa and eat a good spread in the evening. Four Hands Massage featuring two synchronized therapist is the latest treatment for ultra pampering.

I’m Hotel, Makati City; Tel. 77557888; email;

READ: Your Super Guide to the Year of the Golden Rat