My friend and I booked a voucher for an Arbonne facial, hot-stone massage, manicure and pedicure through Groupon, a mob-deal provider, for only £33 at the Clifton Therapy Centre in Bristol, a salon which neither of us had been to before. Considering that the massage itself costs £45, we thought we really had bagged a bargain. All the treatments were supposed to take 2 hours, so we booked in an early afternoon slot, thinking we could go for tea afterwards.
|What it should have been like - from Google Images|
Our first impressions were a bit odd - we entered a very dark hallway, where a lady barked at us to remove our shoes (which we did) before entering the salon proper, trying not to trip over all the other pairs of shoes that were there. We weren't offered any slippers to wear, so had to parade around in bare feet all afternoon. We then were led into a bright and airy reception area, with a very efficient receptionist but extremely cluttered reception desk. However, it transpired that despite us having booked in, and there being at least 4 members of staff there and no other customers, only one therapist was on hand to do our manis, pedis and massages, whilst another member of staff (who was the salon owner) was very tired so she was only going to do our facials... It looked like it was going to be a long afternoon.
My friend and I were taken into a large room which had a manicure table, pedicure area and tanning pod, and the therapist got started on my friend's pedicure. The salon owner was apparently getting a room ready for my facial. Over an hour later, my friend's pedicure was just about finished, and I was led away to another room for my facial. The room was small, dark and very cluttered with mis-matching towels, cardboard boxes and random paperwork on a set of shelves. After about 15 minutes lying half naked under a manky, grey, fraying towel, the owner came in, gave me a broken (also grey) turban to keep my hair out of my face and proceeded to start my facial. Firstly, she put the massage table to the upright position, so I wasn't lying down, she asked me nothing about my skin before she started, and the products she used certainly weren't Arbonne (although they did smell and feel lovely). Once the face pack was applied, I was left alone in the room for over 20 minutes, with the table still upright - not very relaxing. When the lady came back to remove my facial, she used sponges and then a manky old flannel to get of the residue! I was even more worried about hygeine when she said she was just going to wash the sponges after she'd finished!!!
|This was nice for me - but not for my friend - Images from Google Images|
I then had a hot-stone massage from the other therapist which was lovely. Afterwards, I had to wait in the reception area whilst she did my friend's hot stone massage. The owner, another therapist and the receptionist were all in there chatting away whilst I waited for over half an hour (in fairness to them, they did offer me a drink). I used the toilet at this point, and didn't like the fact I had to do this with bare feet (at least I hadn't had my pedicure yet)!
I had picked up from the chatter in reception that the therapist treating me and my friend was supposed to be off at 5. Still, no one offerred to step in and help out, and by the time I was led into the manicure room, it was about 20 past 5. The girl treating us was very good and didn't rush my manicure or pedicure, which I would have been tempted to do if I was supposed to have finished work already! As I was pretty fed up by this point, and just wanted to get out of there, I just opted for the quickest options in terms of my manicure, just to get it finished quicker. The manicure seat I was sitting in was broken and quite frankly, dangerous! It was nearly half past 6 by the time we were finished - four hours since we had entered the salon!
On the way out, the salon owner tried to sell us tickets to an 'Angel' themed night, which we first thought was a beauty evening, but in actual fact, was a clairvoyant evening. It wasn't really our type of thing, so we politely declined. However, there were very few products on display and they didn't try to sell us anything else whilst we were there.
My friend later told me that her massage was a bit of a disaster - a hot stone was accidentally dropped on her back, and the therapist didn't dry the stones properly and they made her (also manky) towel quite wet, which wasn't pleasant. She also had to put up with someone moving furniture around and setting up a massage table whilst she was having her manicure.
I know we had got a good deal on our treatments, and I shouldn't really be complaining too much for £33 for all that. But, I expect the whole point of offering these discounted deals is as a loss-leader so that we go back for more treatments - as we were the only customers there, I would think they need more customers! Considering I work very close to the salon, if they had been any good, I might have been tempted to go back for more. But after the dreadful customer service, and somewhat sloppy treatments, coupled with the general cluttered and untidyness of the salon, I definitely wouldn't go there again, and I wouldn't recommend anyone else go either. Had we paid full price, we would have made a complaint, but as it was, we just wanted to get out of there.
A cheap deal is no excuse for poor service and sloppiness in my opinion. In future, I will stick to the slick, professional therapists and clinical decor at Beautology, my regular salon.
Thanks for reading! xx