Let me start by saying I love Groupon**. It's really taken off in the past 6 months, offering everything from restaurants to cruises! Back in December, my local area was having a 1-Hour Swedish Massage to the Island Day Spa for $35 ($70 value) as well as a 1-Hour Microdermabrasion with Facial for $60 ($125 value). Over 122 of them were purchased - three by me (2 of the massages, 1 for the microdermabrasion).
Because this location is over 60 miles northeast of where I live, I've put off using them until the last moment. I was going to use one of the massages for myself and the other massage and microdermabrasion for my Mom. With the expiration date fast approaching, I decided to call last week to see if we could schedule all 3 services for one day and was told we could (great!). Wednesday, I called again to see when we could get all 3 services scheduled and surprisingly their schedule was pretty open. It took a total of 3 phone calls before I finally got everything scheduled because I had to coordinate with my Mom but finally it was done. I was semi-interested in having an extra service done because my Mom was scheduled for 2 hours, and I was only scheduled for 1, but I couldn't make up my mind on what I wanted, so I just said I'd pass on anything extra.
Now, by no fault of their own, the Island Day Spa is showing up in the wrong location on Google Maps and on the Groupon iPhone app itself. I'm glad I left early because where the map said this location was and where the spa actually was were a few miles apart from each other (it's located OVER the JK Causeway, but the maps had you take a turnaround before getting on the bridge). I do wish their website had some kind of map or directions on it.
When we got there, we walked into a naturally lit front area that had AVEDA products on the left with their receptionist table and two chairs to wait in, and their manicure & pedicure stations on the right which were richly draped in red and black fabrics and did look very luxurious. They had the OPI Texas Collection out and I snuck a look at some of their other polishes - a few CNDs (old design) and a bottle of FingerPaints and even a couple of Essies in the background. Colors were all fairly new and recent collections. The back half of the spa was sectioned off by partitions with fabric and pretty dimly lit. I did visit the restroom which had slightly damp toilet paper (which was kind of weird - still not sure why), and an area to get spa sandals and they had one white robe hanging up.
We were given forms to fill out and offered something to drink. They ask that you speak quietly and turn off your cell phones. The place had a neutral fresh smell (remember, AVEDA products) and was playing vocal New Age/World music. We were asked who was getting what service and if we'd like to add any services today but we both declined.
Here where things got a little... uncomfortable. While my Mom's massage therapist was there on time (and we were 10 minutes early ourselves), my massage therapist was over 15 minutes late. Instead of starting my Mom's service, they had us both wait until my MT showed up. When she did, I was taken into a room with a door, but my Mom was taken into one of the sectioned off areas in the back that is only covered by a curtain. I changed and was told there was a place to hang my clothes behind the door but it was actually an oversized beach bag that was hanging from an over-the-door hanger. I folded my clothes and put them inside, but it would have been nice to have a hanger available. I laid under the linens and waited another 6+ minutes for my MT to come back in. The music was being piped directly in the room so I went through 2 songs (which is where I'm getting my 6 minutes from). I would have preferred something less vocal and more organic in the music, but that's a personal preference for all.
My MT came in and started the massage. The lotion that was used was not very thick or moisturizing for me - it was almost like a dry oil that was completely dry on my skin by the time we left the spa. I had listed on my form that I wanted a firm massage with some focus on my hurt right shoulder and hurt left ankle. I need to mention that within the first 5 minutes, her cell phone started vibrating. It was quite loud and ON her physically, so I had to endure that for a good 30 seconds. She started with my back and sides, then moved to the shoulders and arms, down to the legs and then asked me to turn over. No special attention was placed on either my right shoulder or left ankle and while the pressure was okay, it would definitely not be called "firm", especially for a Swedish massage. Once turned over, my shoulders again were massaged, then moved into the aromatherapy lotion on the face (which did smell good) and scalp massage where I actually fell asleep. I woke when she moved to my arms and then my legs and finally the feet where I fell asleep again. The one thing that was uncomfortable for me here was that while she was massaging my legs, she would put the bottle of lotion between my legs over the sheet, weighing down the sheet. It was just a bit uncomfortable - most MTs I've been to wear a belt that allows them to have their lotion attached at all times.
The massage felt entirely too short when she covered my feet back with the sheet, but I always say that. I was asked again if I'd like a facial, manicure or pedicure but declined again. While I did feel better, I still had some ankle pain and some shoulder pain - but since no extra time was dedicated to either, I expected that.
I got dressed and walked to the front, hearing my Mom's voice from another sectioned off area where she was getting her facial. Because the Groupon did not cover any tax or gratuity, I wanted to make sure I took care of that before she was finished. I tipped 20% on the original price of my massage (not what I paid for it), 20% on the original price of my Mom's massage and 12% on her microdermabrasion original cost (a math error on my part because I forgot how much it cost). In all, I paid an extra 35% on what the Groupons cost - more than I normally tip but what I felt should be fair for spa services. I wasn't even through an entire magazine before my Mom was already done. We were thanked for our time and walked out. I hadn't looked at the time at this point and my Mom asked me if they offered me a discount or rebate. She HAD been watching the time, and her massage didn't start until after 1:25 (because my MT was late), and it was stopped at 1:55 because her esthetician was "ready". My Mom didn't receive a scalp, hand or foot massage which she really likes those three. This means that my massage was also approximately 30 minutes long instead of the hour that was scheduled. In addition, we left the location before 3 p.m., so she did not get an hour long facial/microdermabrasion either. Now, that may just be the alloted time in case of any problems, and not the actual procedure time but I don't have the answer for that.
At this point, I was ready to walk back in there and ask to see the manager but we were both tired and wanted to drive home. Plus based on this experience, neither one of us wanted to make the drive again to this location. While I mostly enjoyed the massage, I'm extremely disappointed in the actual execution, especially not being given our entire time for the massages. I spent more time on the road than I did on the table (which was going to happen anyway), but knowing that I only got half my services was frustrating.
Would I go again? Probably not. The drive alone was a bit much when I can go somewhere closer in the city and there is one MT in my town that always pays close attention to what you say is ailing you at the time. I almost want to go again to check it out, possibly using a Groupon and NOT tipping so much (I need to watch the time, etc) but at this point, I'm left with a sour taste in my mouth.
Disclosure: The services in this post were purchased by me through Groupon. The spa did not know I would be blogging about my experience but will receive a copy of this blog posting via US Mail. For more information, please read this post.
**The above following link is a referral link. I will receive $10 if you sign up for Groupon using my unique link.