Korean Spa 'Pearl' Debuts Saturday In Historic Uoki Sakai Market Building

Two years ago, Tracy Lee and her husband, Ray Giron, were driving through Japantown when they noted a vacant building on Post Street. At the time, the veteran Bay Area business owners thought it would make a great location for a new endeavor. Today, they're realizing Lee’s dream of opening her own spa.

Pearl, a two-story spa and sauna, debuts this Saturday, November 12th, at 1656 Post St. The facility will cater to women, combining “Korean beauty style and American relaxation,” as cited in their brochure.

In the traditional Korean style, the facility ($30 general admission) features a shared bathing space with one hot and one cold jacuzzi tub, as well as separate dry and steam saunas. Lee says she worked hard to ensure the purity of the air within the building and that she and her husband contracted a water company to test and ensure the quality of the water feeding the tubs.

Owner Tracy Lee (left) and manager Hyeyeung Yoon in the shared bathing facility.

Within the bathing space, tables are positioned for exfoliating body scrub treatments ($60-$150) that include an option to incorporate essential oils and finish with a brush of fresh eucalyptus. The indulgent Pearl Special body treatment ($150) incorporates a body scrub, massage and a dusting of 24-karat gold to promote skin moisture. Space in the facility is also reserved for massage treatments ($60-$110) and a small snack bar will serve fresh juice.

Visitors to the spa will be given comfortable garments and a robe with admission which they may wear after bathing to relax in the upstairs Red Clay and Himalayan Salt Rooms. Ultimately, the new facility is designed as a destination for relaxation.

The Himalayan Salt Room touts a myriad of health benefits from acting as a natural antihistamine to enhancing blood flow to the heart, which reduces heart rate.

The building was formerly home to the landmark Uoki Sakai Market for over a century until closed in 2011. The Sakai family retained ownership of the building, which they have now leased to Pearl. Renovations of the building have took almost two years, slowed by the logistics of working in a historical neighborhood.

A vanity space fills an area which was once the fish department of Uoki Sakai Market.

Lee hopes Pearl will appeal not only to the Asian community familiar with their concept, but to all populations. Lee says she intends to continually refine their business model, taking into account that “whatever feedback customers give, we will try to address.”

In the meantime, she will uphold what she sees as a pillar of success in the facility, “Clean once, clean twice and clean three times.”

Pearl Spa is located at 1656 Post St. As of this Saturday, November 12th, hours will be 8am-10pm daily. The spa can be reached at 415-580-7142, and more details will soon be available at pearlspasf.com.

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Korean spa pearl debuts saturday in historic uoki sakai market building