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Review: Ascend Day Spa

January 10, 2009
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I think I may start reviewing products, services and customer experiences I have. This was prompted by a Swedish massage I just had at Ascend Day Spa.

I have been into the idea of massages and pampering treatments lately. I think I have only had two massages in my life – one at Whitestone’s Body and Mind Day Spa, and the other at a resort spa that I loved called Buttermilk Falls. Both massages made me feel pampered, comfortable and relaxed. Not so at Ascend.

My mom got my a gift certificate to Spa Wish, and when I looked at the local spas that accepted the certificate. Ascend Day Spa would, and their website was nice. And because I am insane, their street address also appealed to my historical/macabre sense. So, I made an appointment for a massage and let them know I had a gift certificate. The only person available was a man, and my previous two masseurs were female, but I am not really a shy person. No biggie.

I received a call yesterday, asking me if I would mind moving my appointment to an hour earlier or an hour later in order to accomodate a couples massage. No problem, I had nothing else planned. Then I was kept on the phone for a bit while they looked up my account. Apparently, I had no credit card on the account – I wasn’t asked for one. They requested my credit card to hold my appointment. I thought it was a little irritating that they called me to ask me to move my appointment, and then requested info in order to hold it.

I arrived a few minutes early to my appointment (good spa etiquette!). The place was pretty, and I had magazines to read – but despite a few people walking by  – no one greeted me for a few minutes. There was no place to hang my coat or scarf or even anyone to tell I was there. The music was kind of Lite AM office music. Finally, someone came by and asked my name. They then walked out. Then someone else came in and asked if I was checked in. Then, my masseur (masseuse?) came out and shook my hand. Great. Then he led me to a room.

The room was nice, but the same music was playing, loudly. All of a sudden I realized how appropriate, though silly, the ambient music was in my previous two massages. I miss bird sounds or harps or whatever. He briefly points to the table, tells me where to put my head and then points to a spot on the floor by the sliding doors and tells me to put my stuff there.

Weird. No changing table or even a shelf to put my stuff. And instead of some complicated sheet thing on the bed, it appears to be just a bath towel. I dump all my stuff on the floor (bag, coat, scarf, shirt, bra, pants, socks) and then go to the table. I lay there, and cover myself horizontally with the bath towel, and leave my glasses on – I wasn’t going to put them on the floor. It’s a little cold in the room. I am lying there for about 3 minutes waiting for someone to come back. I realize how loud it is in this spa. First, there’s the awful music. Then I realize that even though the walls are soundproofed, the sliding doors aren’t, and there is a nail salon next door that belongs to the spa. People are walking up and down the halls, making no effort to keep their voices down. Ducky.

Pablo comes into the room and I say that I wasn’t sure if I was draped correctly and he laughs at me. He laughs at me! Apparently, I was draped correctly – but my head was too far up on the table. Really -is that laugh worthy? Whatever. So, he dims the light, I give him my glasses and he starts the massage after asking if I have any injuries.

The massage is okay, but I just feel so exposed. With the other massages I have had, the person made sure that whatever wasn’t being worked on was covered and asked about the volume, the temperature, the pressure, etc. Nothing from Pablo.

Then, it came time to flip from my back to my front. And Pablo? He just lifts up my mini towel. I am now lying there, totally naked and pretty freaked out.  His eyes are covered, but I feel super exposed. It may be because it was a guy that I felt so naked, but I think my male gynecologist does a better job of making me feel comfortable. I can’t wait to pay attention at my next massage somewhere else to see how they handle the draping.

The massage continues. It’s good. Not great, but hey – someone is rubbing me. Except, I am a little distracted because “Me and Mrs. Jones” is playing. Then Alicia Keyes. And people are talking in the hallway. It was just odd. Then I realize, my face is kind of smushed into a bar. Massage tables have this oval shaped opening for your face. This one had a metal bar right where your nose hits, which kind of defeats the purpose.

And then, the massage was over. He announces that, and says to get dressed and he will be back in a few minutes with some water (which is the first time I am offered anything). I stand up, and not 20 seconds later, he knocks on the door. I grab the same stupid towel because I am now naked and accept the water. Thirty seconds later, he is back and gives me his business card. Thanks.

I feel around for wherever he put my glasses, pick my clothing up off the floor and go outside to pay. I give the girl my gift certificate and I ask what happens to the balance. She says it will stay on my account and I ask if she means the account at this spa. She says yes, and then says “What? You don’t want to come back?” and pouts. I was kind of taken aback and explained that I would come back, but I was surprised about the volume in the hallways. She tells me about the soundproofing thing and says she is working on it, this section is new, to let my masseuse know next time, etc.

I have a good amount left in my account, and the spa is really convenient. It’s not worth fighting for the balance back, but once its gone, I wouldn’t come back. Next time I will either have a facial or give the massage another shot with someone else.  For me, the whole experiences was ruined due to the total lack of attention to detail.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 10, 2009 6:29 pm

    You absolutely should start reviewing products! That was an excellent read. seriously. At least see if your area has some kind of website like yelp dot com or i think on google you can write reviews for places!

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