What makes Korean spas different
LA's Korean spas trace their heritage back to Korea's rich bathhouse tradition, which itself dates back to the 15th century (although the practice of bathing in natural hot springs goes back more than a thousand years). Families would travel for weekly scrubs, meet up with their neighbors, and even share eggs boiled in the hot bathing waters. It was seen as a way to prepare for the week to come, and rather than dipping and dashing, interacting with your community was a very important part of that process.
That practical, communal atmosphere is still a big part of what separates Korean spas from their western counterparts. Massages, scrubs, and spa treatments are a bit more vigorous, aimed at getting the blood flowing rather than pure relaxation. There's plenty of space to hang out, both in the gender- and non-gender divided areas -- and most facilities will also feature a full-service restaurant where, in addition to hard-boiled eggs (still a snack staple), you can chow down on generously portioned Korean dishes like bibimbap, galbi-jjim, and bulgogi.
At any given time, a Korean spa can simultaneously serve as a location for family weekends, a respite after a night of heavy drinking, and a hideout for couples looking for the kind of privacy they might not get in multi-generation homes. You'll often notice an influx of people after the bars close at 2am, enjoying the facilities alongside early risers and the select few who use the spa as a de facto hotel for the evening. (Many offer luggage storage surfaces for this very reason.)