One of my friends had booked us a Spa Day experience through Groupon a couple of months ago for this Sunday. This would be my first Groupon experience, this was meant to be my Magic Moment post of the week, sadly that wasn’t to be. Being a stay at home Mum with a husband who works ridiculously long hours I rarely get to treat myself with a bit of luxury. But my friend N had found a great deal on Groupon for a Spa Day experience, that wasn’t too far from home and we could use it on a Sunday (the only day I can get Daddy P to look after my son). We booked it, there was an offer of 20% off treatments so we went for that too – early Christmas present! I put the date in my diary and have been counting down the days since July.
So I arrived at the Oxford Belfry Hotel this morning just before 9 am full of expectation. A day away from being Mum, no children in sight, a bit of peace and quiet, relaxation, pampering, a bit of heaven. I arrived before N and waited in the Spa lobby. Looking at the pool, which had a baby swimming class going on – lots of noise, not quite what I’d expected. When N arrived and commented about the swimming classes, we were told there would be classes going on until 10 am – maybe 11 am. So can we actually use the pool during that time? Oh yes, they’ll move out of your way. Uum, our treatment was booked for 11 am, so potentially we had 2 hours of babies and children in the pool. Bang went the peaceful start to the day. (I’ve just looked on the website this evening and it does actually mention this), but sadly, not on the Groupon deal information that my friend looked at. Not really an ideal scenario for a Spa Day experience.
Never mind, we were handed one towel each and shown the way to the changing rooms. No dressing gowns in sight – ok we’ll sort that out later when we want to go for our coffee and pastries that were included in the package.
We found loungers as far away from the pool as possible and settled down to relax. There were a couple of heated loungers which were lovely, we then hit the steam room – lush. No children in sight and we had it to ourselves. Now I was beginning to chill out.
As our treatments were booked for 11 am we thought it would be nice to have coffee and pastries at 10 am. N went off to find our dressing gowns and where we could get our refreshments. She came back looking rather frustrated. Ok, we don’t get dressing gowns; our option is to sit in a public bar with our damp towels wrapped around us or we got dressed. Well, that’s the strangest arrangement I’ve ever heard of for a Spa Day experience. We decided to save the refreshments for later in the afternoon.
We had been asked to be in the Spa lounge (outside of the pool/sauna/steam room area) 5 minutes before our treatment was due to start. Fair enough. So the dilemma was – we don’t want to go to our treatment in a damp swimsuit, we shouldn’t need to go to our treatment fully dressed surely? We were on a Spa Day after all. So our only other option, swimsuits off, knickers on and wrap our towels around us. We left our loungers with 10 minutes to spare and were just about to leave the changing room when a therapist came in asking for N, yes that’s me my friend said. You are 10 minutes late for your treatments. No, we’re not – look at your pool clock. No, you are 10 minutes late, the pool clock must be wrong. Being a Spa Day experience I don’t want to have my phone in the pool area, any more than I want to wear my Gucci watch there. There’s a clock in the area – problem solved – obviously not!
So, we get taken into the Spa Lounge, wrapped in our damp towels, which we had to hitch up when we sat down so we didn’t get wet knickers!! This was not the ‘experience’ I was expecting. Anyway, we were called into our treatment rooms. My Therapist told me I was now 15 minutes late for my treatment therefore my treatment time would be reduced. What did I want to do? Well, your clock is telling the wrong time and I want my treatment. This was supposed to be my treat, a bit of pampering time. What would you like to get from this treatment, I’d like to leave relaxed. It was a lovely treatment, I’d booked a back, neck and shoulder massage with hot stones, but got a full body massage with the stones, which did confuse me slightly. It was lovely, but all the time I was thinking how disappointing the day had become, and that the treatment I had so been looking forward to was being cut short.
After the treatment, I was shown back to the Spa Lounge wrapped in my damp towel – not a great look. It then became apparent that N’s treatment hadn’t been cut short. Um, good for her, but I just wanted to cry. I’d looked forward to this day for so long, and I was sat there in a damp towel trying to stop my knickers from getting wet. How classy!! N said she was confused – she’d also booked the head, neck and shoulder and ended up with a full body massage. What was going on? The treatments were lovely, but not what we’d booked. We went back to the changing room and N checked her emails on her phone, which clearly showed the treatments we’d booked.
My friend was annoyed, I was upset. It was now lunchtime, we were hungry, and covered in treatment oil. To have lunch, we either sat in our damp towels or got dressed. We obviously got dressed, although one of the Therapists had said to leave the treatment oil on for an hour for full effect – great, that was a waste then!
My friend asked for the Duty Manager, I suggested that while they found her we go and order our lunch. We ordered and paid, I did think mine was a bit expensive but was fed up anyway so just wanted to eat. The Duty Manager was found and N went to talk to her. I stayed with our drinks, I just knew I’d burst into tears.
N came back, the Duty Manager was shocked that we weren’t given dressing gowns as standard for a Spa Day experience, apologised for the other issues and offered us the chance to come back again for free. Unfortunately, it is such a nightmare for me to get help with Monkey that N explained that this wasn’t really an option. So instead, the Duty Manager gave us our treatments for free. A nice gesture, but sadly the ‘experience’ had not lived up to expectation.
Anyway, never mind. Lunch arrived, mine was wrong. Uum could that be why it was more expensive than I thought it should have been? Yes, overcharged and wrong lunch ordered. The barman didn’t seem to actually know what food was on the menu, perhaps he was very new to the job. Anyway, I explained the error and another member of staff sorted out the error, gave me a 20% discount on the bill and a free drink for the inconvenience. That was appreciated and I hadn’t asked for it.
We decided to have our coffee and pastries after lunch. By which time it was nearly 2 pm, our Spa Day Experience ended at 2 pm. We went back to the changing room and picked up the rest of our stuff.
We left, deflated, not particularly relaxed. Oh well, never mind, not the Spa Day experience either of us had expected. Such a shame as we’d both looked forward to our day so much.
Were my expectations too high? Were we asking too much?