Review: Ace — Seoul, South Korea
Ace is a foreigner-friendly anma in the Gangnam section of Seoul. Anma is a version of anmo which is a Chinese word for massage. In Japan it typically means just that. When affixed to a building in South Korea however anma typically means that more than massages are available though that is certainly not always the case. The Korean alphabet is fairly simple and the letters that spell out “anma” are not difficult to recognize at all. This could lead many foreigners to the doors of such facilities though in many cases they would be refused.
Ace anma warmly accepts foreigners and has for some time. If some people from other countries start showing up and acting rudely that could change as stereotypes are easy to form but tough to break.
Ace is located just outside of the Gangnam-gu Office train station. It is so close in fact that it is visible from exit 3 of the station. This is especially true at night when the signs that say anma in Korean and massage in English are illuminated.
Customers enter through a door in the parking area adjacent to the street. There is usually a red carpet laid out leading to the door but it is fairly obvious even when the rug is missing. Just inside the door a male security guard greets customers and asks them to take off their shoes and slip into a pair of small leather slippers.
Customers are then led to the front desk just inside where female staff members collect the house fee of 230,000 Won ($193 USD). To make things clear for foreigners the women display the price on a calculator. After the money is collected customers are led by another male attendant into a waiting room that looks something like a Korean guy’s bedroom. There is a flat screen television on the wall, some drinks and some bedding and pillows to sit or lay on. Slippers must be taken off before entering the waiting room.
Customers are told how long they will have to wait. Typically it is no longer than a few minutes though on busy nights it could of course be much longer.
After waiting the required amount of time male attendants lead customers to what has to be the smallest lift in the world. It can fit two adults but it is snug. This is used to transport customers to one of several upper levels where they are led into numbered rooms that look like college dorms in the United States.
Male attendants knock on doors to make sure that the service providers are empty before entering. Whichever woman is available comes out and welcomes the next customer inside. Things are done so that customers usually don’t cross each other while inside which is probably why Korean massage parlors in the US are run in a similar fashion.
Inside the rooms customers find a bed, a dresser with cosmetics and a large mirror, mirrored walls and ceilings and a wash room with a table shower and sink.
Although women who work in Korean anmas have what is undoubtedly a tough job they typically provide the high level of customer service that much of Asia is known for. Once in the room customers usually have their jackets taken by the service attendant. They are then offered a cigarette and a drink. After a little small talk they are undressed and asked to rest while the table shower is prepared.
Next they are asked to brush their teeth in the sink which is to be expected though it is a little odd that the sink drains directly next to the feet of the person using it so that one could end up with a set of minty fresh toes if not careful.
Once their mouths are cleaned up customers are led to the table shower where they are fully washed on both sides with an antibacterial soap. This is followed by a nude body to body nuru style slide and kissing all over the body including the most intimate of areas. This can go on for quite a while. Up to three sets of full body slurping, sucking and rimming is even possible with some providers.
After being rinsed off customers are dried off and then led back to the bed where they again rest while the service provider cleans herself and the shower room. When the service provider finishes with that maintenance she returns to the bed area. There she gets on her knees and provides oral with antiseptic in her mouth. This is followed by covered full service which is typically available in all standard positions.
A phone in the room rings once when time is almost up. Because so much effort is given to preparation there often isn’t much time for the full service though I would imagine that most customers finish in the time provided.
When the phone rings a second time the session is approaching its end. Customers are then led back to the wash room where they are given a standing shower. They are then helped to dress. The provider then picks up the phone and calls the management who send a male attendant. These attendants lead customers down the stairs and into the lobby where they are bid farewell by the entire front staff before changing back into their street shoes and heading out the door.
The level of service provided at Ace is top notch though the women working are for the most part only average in looks when compared with some of the lovely ladies walking around Seoul every day. The facilities are basic but well kept. The fact that the place is totally open to foreigners says something about the management. All considered I give it three-and-a-half stars.
Ace. Gangnam, Seoul, South Korea. Open every day from 9:00 am to 5:00 am. Click here for a map.