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Heat Things Up With a Spa Day

Friday, February 4, 2011; 2:07 AM

You first felt sparks over long dinners of Ethiopian and Indian cuisine and bonded over stories from your Peace Corps days. You're travelers, adventurers.

Luckily, you don't need a passport for a day of couples' indulgence at Spa World, which brings a bit of Korea to a Centreville strip mall. For the mani-pedi set, Spa World's half-dozen heated "poultice" rooms - each of which promises to cure what ails you with quartz, oak, salt or hot clay - aren't exactly a day at Bliss. But for you, is anything more romantic than a quiet day holding hands, sweating out toxins together in a fragrant room heated to 163 degrees?

Go in for access to all the amenities for $35 per person, and you can spend time in the co-ed heated rooms, the gym and in the separate men's and women's pools - where Korean tradition requires you shed the pajamas and go au naturel. Since a Spa World stay can last several hours (the spa is open 24 hours a day), take breaks to cool off over a shared bowl of red bean shaved ice dotted with fresh kiwi and pineapple ($7), or icy mango smoothies ($4).

If you can break with your long-held "no public nudity, ever" rule, it's so worth it to treat yourself to one of the incredible Korean-style body scrubs ($50-$120; sign up in the locker room as soon as you arrive in case appointments fill up). Masseuses who administer the hour-long Scrub Special (male masseuses in the men's pool, women in the women's area), for example, will handily slough months of wintertime neglect from your skin, slather your face in fresh cucumber, then douse you in warmed oil before spending a half-hour kneading out all your stresses - all of which can only leave you relaxed and perfectly smooth for more togetherness in the night ahead.

- Lavanya Ramanathan

Spa World, 13830 Braddock Rd., Centreville. 703-815-8959 or www.spaworldusa.com. Always open.

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