“Buyer beware. Fantastic one day, not even good the next.”
After a very traumatic last couple of weeks, my husband and I flew to Scottsdale to just chill out.
Now I first wrote a review and gave this spa a top rating. But I have had to remove it and rewrite it to add the second day I spent there with half bottom-of-the-barrel ratings,
The first day of treatments, I had described as follows:
"This review is for the spa at the resort which i visited today for an 80-minute therapeutic massage with Cleveland (I hope I got the name right) and an 80-minute oxygen infusion facial with Tammy.
Even before my treatments, I fell in love with this spa. I loved the aroma permeating the premises and I actually went to sleep on the couch in the room where you wait.
The massage was what I wanted today. I usually want a very firm massage but I asked for something a bit more restorative, which was delivered. He was very quiet, which I like.
The facial was nice as well. The one thing she did not do which I sort of expected because I guess I usually get it is the foot massage. We will see if I notice "skin tightening for 24 hours"! But I take all that with a grain of salt. It was relaxing and I got what I wanted -- I left feeling emotionally better than I had in weeks. (Added: I saw no tightening or brightening but my skin did feel less dry from the Arizona lack of humidity. But I like facials more for the clean feeling I get and the relaxation.)
A tad bit expensive for what you get here but not unreasonable and I will still give it five stars."
BUT then I visited it a second time and would never be willing to give it a five-star rating. I will preface this by saying that I have been to Golden Door in California five times, Cal-a-vie five times, The Ashram 14 times, the spa at Palmetto Bluffs for full weeks and then MANY other spas for just one-day visits plus have had regular massages and facials at home as well.
I think that I am very knowledgeable and know what to expect and not to expect. Plus I am a professional writer and have written reviews of many such businesses.
I had scheduled an aromatherapy massage (50 minutes) and a 25-minute scalp massage on the second day (along with the "Desert Journey" and a manicure and a pedicure but these massages were the real problem.)
The first problem started when we got the confirmation call on Sunday and my husband, who answered the phone because I was away, was told my appointments were to start at 2:30. Now if you read their brochure, it is very clear that if you are late at all, you lose that time. I understand this and I am never late (for anything, it is just my personality). So I was confused as I knew I had four separate treatments and I knew the guy who set them up even told me I would be through at 5:30. It did not compute. I double-checked with my husband. He is an attorney and he does not make mistakes misunderstanding these types of things. So I knew I had better check on this and I did and called and found out the person calling to confirm had made an error. This could have been a serious issue because I would doubt they would have believed me -- or if they said they did, I would have been concerned that they did not. So this, fortunately, turned out okay but I think it is a serious problem with their front-desk staff.
I got to the appointments on time and was actually awaiting the clinician five minutes prior to my scheduled time.
The masseuse (Marsha Rodriguez) called for me at 1:35 for my 1:30 appointment which was okay, I suppose, had she extended the time to compensate for being late. She did not. The overall time which I should have received from her was 75 minutes and she actually stopped at exactly 2:43.
The massage was one of the worst I have ever had. First, when I scheduled my treatments, I was asked if I preferred male or female and I told them, unequivocally, male and I explained that it was because I preferred a very firm massage. So this is a second mistake made by the spa itself. And the third would have been if only females perform the aromatherapy massages (which I was not told if that is so, allowing me to schedule another treatment which had men available), then they should have ensured I get a therapist known for firm pressure. I did not make an issue about this as she was already five minutes late and I sure did not wish to cause a commotion with the rest of my day. Some women do firm massages so I was hoping for the best.
Between all the time she spent NOT massaging me, I finally stopped asking her to give me a firmer massage after the FIFTH time. It becomes unpleasant (for me) after the first time to have to complain. For about one minute, she did a firm massage and I praised her effusively hoping the rest would be that way. No way. The scalp massage was not a scalp massage. She never touched my scalp at all. And this was after spending about ten minutes mixing the peppermint lotion, I guess, which was used in the process. In the past, these things are already done by the therapist, not during the time you are supposed to be massaged. I asked once if she could do it firmer and she said sure, but, as with the massage, no. Again, she never touched my scalp. She ran the lotion through my hair. Period. She did not even firmly pull my hair, which could have perhaps been considered some type of scalp therapy, even if it was not a massage.
Now the massage which was to be 50 minutes started more than 15 minutes late. She brought me back five minutes after the scheduled time. She spent several minutes asking me which of about six aromas I wanted and I had no hesitation telling her but she dillydallied here. She left me to get on the table (normal) but when she finally came back and finally began the massage, I glanced over and it was 1:45.
During the lightest massage I have ever had after asking for a firm massage, she spent more than half the time (absolutely) not even touching me. I looked up several times to see what she was doing. Guess? Massaging her own hands and wrists. If someone is unable to perform their duties because they have pain issues, this is NOT the job for them.
I could go into more detail about the problems with this massage but I will not. Poorly performed in every way imaginable. Just be certain you do not get Marsha if you want a massage at this spa. You will not get what you want even if you just ask that someone lightly run their hands over you for 50 minutes because half of the time is spent massaging her own hands. And the scalp massage was nonexistent.
The Desert Journey was really nice, relaxing and was delivered by a delightful girl named Mary Jefferson who I would highly recommend. There are only good things I can say about this, beginning with the moment she got me from the waiting area. When she asked me how the previous treatments were and I told her terrible, she told me that she would make up for it. which she did. Totally relaxing and a treatment which leaves you feeling completely good, from the top of your head to your tiptoes.
Kim, who did my pedi/mani also was a delight and I could not say anything but nice things about her. As with Mary, she had a delightful, easygoing personality and my day ended much better than it started.
So how do you give a rating to a spa which one day would get all five stars and the next day, the spa itself would get two zeroes from me (one for messing up the time when calling to confirm and two giving me a masseuse that was the opposite gender than requested and then one who does not give firm pressure), two of the clinicians would get fives and one for two separate services would get zero.
Oh, and Marsha is very fortunate that the spa adds in a 20 percent tip because she deserved none and would have gotten none from me.
So buyer beware, as they say.
I am not writing about the hotel, only the spa. We stayed in the villas and I will do a review of t...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
December 20, 2012
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The holidays are a very special time of year and we want to thank you for spending some time with us. We also appreciate your candid comments on your experience with us and can assure you that is not indicative of the level of service we are known for at Agave, the Arizona Spa. I have also shared your comments with the appropriate associates, both positive and constructive, as a learning tool for improvement.
I apologize for not exceeding your needs while visiting us, but thank you again for giving us an opportunity to serve you. If you find yourself in the area once again, I invite you to come back and see us. Please ask for me and I would be happy to personally assist you with your Spa reservation needs.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.