A couple of months back, I was lucky enough to be asked to review a spa for this here magazine, and I thought I’d well and truly made it. Review! A spa! For a magazine! It was going to be epic, and I basically bragged to all and sundry (even though I wasn’t really supposed to) that I was being sent away on this super lush spa day with my best mate, and it was going to be epic.
I even bought a new bikini in preparation (I mean, I totally had to because prior to that I actually didn’t own such a thing). A few weeks passed, and no matter how hard Laura tried to get the spa day locked in, the venue kept pushing back with a myriad of excuses; refurbishment, the dates didn’t work, etc. A month or so of to-ing and fro-ing later, we popped that particular perk atop the No Joy pile and I was assured that the next time a spa-type-thing came up, my name would be atop that particular pile too.
That was fine with me. The Promise of a Massage is almost as good as the Massage Itself, and is not something you question; we left it there and I silently prayed to the Massage Gods that something would happen, and soon, because dammmmmn have I had some stress in my life.
Behold! A few weeks ago The Gods answered my prayers, by way of an invitation from the Marriot London County Town Hall Club and Spa to try their “ideal personal retreat, located over the top two floors of one of London’s prestigious architectural landmarks.” Errr… yes, please, sign us up at once! No spa date would be complete without the obligatory few hundred emails between PR and editor, and in this case, a date and time were agreed – and then again changed – many, many times. In the end, I’d agreed to let Laura book the thing, and I’d just go; a three way email between her and I and them and her and them and the Spa was all too brain-achey for me. Eventually though, it was booked. I was going!
And went I did. All rushed and hurried I barrelled into the hotel mere minutes before my appointment, with thanks – as always, to a slight train delay because of [choose where appropriate: leaves on the tracks/a signal failure/person under a train/adverse weather conditions]. With grateful directions from the doorman up to the fifth floor, I landed at 1pm on the dot – sweaty, but with much excitement, to the lobby of the spa. There, I was greeted by a smiling employee… whose smile began to fade as I explained why I was there.
“You didn’t get my email?”
Errr… no, I have received no emails from your anonymous self today, but do go on.
“I emailed you to tell you that your appointment was cancelled earlier today as…[insert explanation about a broken wrist here]” It’s not that I have no sympathy for the poor woman, but MY LORD imagine how ANNOYED I was at this point.
Look; I will admit that as she went to fetch her manager who then proceeded to show me the email she had sent the agency that morning – who clearly does not work on Saturdays – that I lost my temper and maybe my manners, and did zero work in upholding the reputation of this amazing magazine.
I flew out of there as quick as I’d arrived, all the while texting Laura the extent of my outrage. That certainly wasn’t how I saw my afternoon being spent. While I stood outside the hotel, amongst the many thousands of tourists soaking up the views of Westminster bridge and beyond, I took stock and realised that maybe, just maybe, it could be worse… I could have still been on that train.
So I’ll end with this:
Dear Spa Manager Lady; when you showed me the email you sent, it was evident you had the email address and contact number of the editor who could have put you in touch with me, and saved me a pointless trek to your gorgeous and delightfully-smelling spa. No amount of apologies from you was going to squeeze an ounce of empathy out of me, as, in my opinion, you didn’t “do everything you could think of” to reach me to cancel the appointment..
Add to that the fact that there were three of – what I can only deduce were employees – standing around in that back ’employees only’ room smiling at me while I seethed in anger, please understand I was not being unreasonable, I was being furious at your poor management, and my wasted time and expense.
Editor's Notesix out of ten are impartial when it comes to reviews, treating each and every bar, hotel and restaurant visit as fairly as possible to give you, our reader, the chance to decide whether you'd want to visit yourself. Some reviews don't make it, some reviews don't cut it, some reviews are glowing and if I could, I'd get kittens to repeatedly lick your face to get you to visit.
While we generally try to avoid negative content on this site, preferring to say nothing if we have nothing nice to say, the reason for publishing this feature is as follows: six out of ten was approached by the spa's PR agency to review a solo spa session. After much discussion and failing to come up with a week date that worked, this spa review had been arranged for a Saturday.
The spa's management emailed our PR contact with the cancellation that morning, negating to get in touch with the editorial team despite having our contact details as well as knowing the visit was on behalf of our magazine.
As there is a contact form on the website which could have been used as a last resort, we feel the spa could have done more to get in touch. We see this failure to do so as a case of not being interested in us as a customer.
The account executive emailed Monday morning after checking through her emails and apologised for the unforeseen circumstances - which we completely understand - offering an afternoon tea by way of apology. While we appreciate the gesture, it's in our personal opinion that we experienced a serious lack of customer service by the spa.
While this could be an isolated occurrence and are sure other patrons will have enjoyed their visit, we sadly could not recommend the spa to our readers should the same happen to them. six out of ten declined the offer and chose to post this review as our first-hand experience of the spa.