A while back I wrote about Qianshen bathhouse, which is still the luxury bathhouse + hotpot restaurant of choice. But at 78 or 88rmb for entry, New Star is less than half the price, and still decent. Also they have a Korean restaurant! And after too many trips to the Tianshan Lu New Star by Yuyintang, I've realized that the Koreatown New Star aka Minhang New Star is the superior one. Here's why:
1. Koreatown Newstar has a tiny arcade. Each machine has 1000 games. One of those games is Jackie Chan: The Kung-Fu Master. But don't play that. It's horrible. They have about 20 versions of Street Fighter II.
2. There's a co-ed outdoor pool (closes kinda early though).
3. The walking path with qi-correcting stones is twice is long at the Koreatown New Star. Also, four sweat huts instead of three (no cold room though…)
4. Tianshan Lu New Star is full of college kids on phones and families with kids. Koreatown New Star has grown ups talking about business trips.
5. Better vibes in the massage room. Much easier to move around in the dark and not worry about bumping into someone getting a deep ear cleaning.
6. You can get a haircut. The hair salon at Tianshan New Star turned off the lights ages ago.
7. Better stone and design in the wet steam room.
8. You're within a ten minute walk of about 100 Korean restaurants, including some of the best in Shanghai, and several that stay open after 1am when foreigners have to leave the bathhouse.
Bonus: The backscrubs at New Star are better than Qianshen.
Only a few downsides. Like the Tianshan NewStar, they really shut down the bath area at midnight sharp (Qianshen keeps the baths running all night). And if you don't live in Minhang, you're looking at a 20-minute voyage back to downtown Puxi. Golden rule: get in before 10pm and always ask if there's a discount on Koubei or Dianping. It's usually 30rmb off.
Summary: Minhang outpost of popular Korean-style bathhouse chain, NewStar. In addition to the usual wet and dry saunas, baths, sweat rooms (汗蒸), massages and massage chairs, and Korean restaurant, this one also has an outdoor pool, a tiny arcade, and a more grown-up vibe (as in, less kids and college students than the other NewStar in Puxi). Great place to relax, detox, or get over jet lag. Discounts are usually available on Dianping and Koubei so ask before paying.
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