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“Unimpressed with overpricing”

Absolute Spa at Hotel Vancouver
Attraction details
Burnaby, Canada
Level Contributor
61 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Unimpressed with overpricing”
Reviewed April 8, 2012

I decided to treat myself to a spa day for Christmas. I wanted to book with Spa Utopia but was unable to do so in the week before (silly me for leaving it to the week before to book a half-day at the spa at Christmastime, I know). I read mainly positive reviews about Absolute Spa and so booked the 4-hour Absolute Woman spa package (massage, facial, mani, pedi) for $340. RMT was $10 extra. The customer rep suggested to come early to use hotel facilities. She said there would be a snack after my spa services.

On my spa day (yay!), I walked in and was greeted after a few minutes (even though there were 3 staff up front). The hotel is old school fantastic. So it was a pleasant surprise when I walked in to the spa. It was the men's concept spa. It was dark, sleek, modern and absolute-ly beautiful. I did the required paperwork and waited >10 mins for someone to bring me my robe and walk me to the changeroom. I was originally >30 mins early but most of it was wasted on waiting. I was hoping to use the steam room but there was no time. Didn't matter anyways, because no one showed me any of the amenities (steam room, hotel whirlpool, etc). The woman who took me to the changeroom told me there was a waiting room "over there" and waved her hand in the general direction. She was polite and friendly otherwise. I changed and put my clothes in the metal locker. I went to the lounge area and waited for quite a while before my masseuse came to get me. While I waited I had some citrus water and some darn good hot herbal tea. The lounge area was spacious but sparsely furnished (and not in a good way because initially, there wasn't an available spot for me to sit on a sofa). There was a kitchenette area with tables and chairs. Then there were a couple of sofas and arm chairs. There were several papers and magazines, though, to read.

My RMT apologized for being late. We walked for a bit to the room. (That place is bigger than it looks!) "My" room was not pretty but the massage table was luxurious. There was relaxing music piping through the speakers (though the music sporadically stopped). The massage, however, was spectacular! I was VERY impressed. My masseuse was friendly, knowledgeable and respectful. She knew when to chat me up and when to tone it down. She was worth every single penny (including the extra $10).

My facialist came to pick me up afterwards. I walked through the maze, through the lobby (in my robe) and then to the room. It was dark so I couldn't see it very well. But from what I could see, it was the same as the massage room. My "bed" was luxurious and warm (which is most important). The facialist was the woman who walked me to the changeroom. She was a very bubbly and warm person. But she had really bad breath and told me her entire life story. [When people find out that I work in mental health & addictions, they seem to think that I want to hear their entire life stories and/or want me to diagnose them or their wayward family.] I don't mind it when my service providers give me info about their lives. However, there's a point when it is either too much information or just too much talking. My spa day was about relaxation for me... Anyways, the facialist was very gentle and caring in her touch. But she said my skin was very clean and did not do a lot of extractions. (I guess my facial cleanser is doing its job but extractions are the main reason I get facials.) She did do the steam, and a seaweed wrap and a scrub and other nice things. She walked me to my mani-pedi station and said "You must be hungry". I said "Yes". She said that my mani-pedi person would give me snack.

I waited another 15 minutes until my mani-pedi person came. The mani-pedi station is in an open area, just off of the initial spa entrance. The receptionist had a raucously dry cough (& was coughing throughout the mani-pedi). My mani-pedi person did not have my snack with her (it was now almost 19:00 so I was pretty hungry. This also meant that the facialist, who was also a supervisor, didn't communicate it to her.). She was a lovely woman - friendly, respectful and gentle. My pedi was nothing fancy - the water was tepid and the massage was short and too soft. (I could get a way better pedi at my local cheap salon for half the price.) So of course with the mani being last, there was a concern of ruining the nailpolish. She did the massage and the scrub and the cuticle cutting. She then asked if I wanted to pay first and perhaps get redressed before she applied nailpolish. I then realized I wouldn't have time to take a long hot shower after (this is one of my fave things to do at a spa). I asked if it would be okay to take a quick shower, to which she answered "yes" (of course). When I came out, the manicurist still didn't have my snack. But she did a great job on my nails. Again, the manicure was nothing special and it took WAY too long. The coughing receptionist went into the bathroom to vomit twice in this period. The mani-pedi woman though was very thorough and caring.

I didn't end up leaving until after 20:30, though my scheduled time was supposed to end at 20:00. It was a good thing I didn't bring my car (with meter parking, I could only do 2 hours cash then 2 hours of pay-by-phone, which would've meant an hour without paying for parking downtown). The staff were obviously in a rush to close up and get out (which i don't blame them for!) so I was uncomfortable staying in the lounge area waiting for my polish to dry (as per my mani-pedi person). I was incredibly hungry so I scarfed the mini plastic container of yogurt, and the cold store-bought banana bread. But for the price, the snack was disappointing.

I also realized a couple days later that I did not get my RMT receipt to submit to my insurance company. I phoned Ab Spa to ask them about it and the receptionist asked if I could pick it up. I said "no but could you please mail it". It took 2 weeks to get to me.

I put in a lot of details, because this is what I like to read in consumer reviews. I tried to break up the services into paragraphs, though, to make it more reader-friendly.

Overall, my first experience at Absolute Spa was poor. It will be my last paid experience at Absolute Spa. This is the first time that I spent so much time and money in one spa day (with tax and tip, it was well over $400) and I was really disappointed. But the services were not stellar. (I've had better facials and mani-pedis at Sets at Metropolis.) Some of it is my fault: I booked late (and the phone rep said she would have to rearrange the services, out of sequence) and I wasn't assertive. It was a miserably cold rainy day outside, and it was 3 days after Christmas. The positives: My massage was extraordinary and the staff were very kind and respectful. Had I known about all of this, I would have waited a couple weeks to book at Spa Utopia.

Visited December 2011
7 Thank Vanc0uverght
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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44 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
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English first
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
58 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Great for the buisness crowd”
Reviewed March 14, 2012

If you are looking for a full service Spa - check out "Absolute". When you purchase a package you can use it anywhere, including out at the airport which is so nice if you have a few minutes to have a shoulder/back massage.
The Spa at the Hotel Vancouver is full service, from getting your haircut to a swim in the hotel pool before your appointment.
The staff are very professional and will take good care of you.
They sell gift certificates and that's what got me going to this Spa.

Visited March 2012
Thank Barclayboys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Spa is in desperate need of repairs & TLC from OWNERS!!”
Reviewed March 12, 2012

This spa has zero atmosphere & personality. The fact that it is located inside Hotel Vancouver adds to the disappointment when you see the 'ugly lounge' area, shower curtains hanging off missing hooks, bad lighting that hits you in the eye while you are in a massage bed... and a massage that could be barely called a 'lame body rub'
I was really unpleasantly surprised, and felled ashamed for whoever owns this spa. I am a business owner myself & I can tell, the owners of this joint don't give a damn!!!!!!!!!!!! Not worth the time or the money
ps. the ladies at the manicure/pedicure section were nice & friendly...maybe a little too friendly. But it actually confirms to me that Absolute Spa should be just a 'nail salon' bar NONE!

Visited March 2012
3 Thank Denise B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
27 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“A humiliating experience”
Reviewed January 18, 2012

I treated myself to a 90 minute massage and facial at the Century Plaza Absolute Spa before Christmas. My final bill was over $300 , a gift from my husband. I was told I would receive a free makeup application after my services. I had a great massage, but could hear furniture moving above me. It was not as relaxing but I didn't say anything because my masseuse was excellent. When I finished, in my unflattering wrap, with my hair sticking out , my facial lady was waiting for me. She leads me through the lobby and upstairs into a big, chilly room. Outside the room was the pedicure/manicure stations and there was partying and drinking going on. I mentioned it but wasn't taken seriously. She suggested I should ask to have my facial closer to where I had my massage. Ridiculous, that should have happened from the beginning. So, after my facial, hair even worse now, I was marched through the lobby again, very humiliating.
I then sat at a table, ate my salad, got dressed and went upstairs hoping to have a makeup application. We were meeting friends. There did not seem to be anyone in charge. The two young girls at the front did not ask me how my treatments were, did not have cards or messages from my two estheticians or ask me if I wanted makeup. I had to ask for some blush. Then I just walked out, thinking, " Wow, that was humiliating and a waste of money!" I will never go back. I looked online for the owners name so I could write a complaint but couldn't find it. I REALLY hope she, or someone from management level reads my review and comments. There has to someone other that inexperienced young girls in charge.
The downstairs is a little worn, the single shower dated and the restaurant sterile. It sure isn't what it was 20 years ago.
Three weeks later I went to the Spaah at Hotel 1000 in Seattle. That is when I really realized what a rip off Absolute Spa is. Go to Spa Utopia.

Visited December 2011
8 Thank burnabysusan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
41 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Shouldn't be open for business”
Reviewed April 20, 2009

I have been at several of the Absolute Spa's in Vancouver and this was my first time visiting the Hotel Vancouver location. I was indeed disappointed. Although I have to say the staff were wonderful and accomodating considering. The facilities on the other hand are under renovation....and shouldn' t be open during these renovations.

I was asked to change in the single washroom. The robe I was given had been overly used and had huge holes all over it. I have nicer robes at home. I can't even believe I was given one that looked this bad. I literally changed into the display one in the bathroom to prevent the entire spa from seeing my naked body in the one I was given.

There was confusion on my reservation upon arrival, I had booked a 90 minute massage in the couples suite for me and my husband. THey had only booked a 60 minute massage, but we were both okay with that. Both RMT's were nice enough however we both felt that they rushed the session. I was hoping to get a full body and I only received a massage on my back, and my calves. Not arms, thighs, face etc.

Although I'm sure once the reno's have been completed this will be a lovely facility, it really shouldn' t be opened until it has been completed. The rain/steam shower was lovely, although the shampoo and conditioner bottles were empty. You are able to use the hotel's pool facilities however it needs a good reno as well.

The seating area that we waited in for our services was tiny and awkward, and didn't have any reading material other than The Province and the Sun.

4 Thank pfed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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