My husband and I visited this day spa in May 2007, as part of our stay in Airlie Beach. It was Mothers' Day weekend, raining, and the numerous day spas in town were all booked out - bar one, the Airlie Beauty & Tanning Centre in the main street. Despite being cautioned by another operator to avoid this particular day spa, we were left with no choice and decided to risk it. Oh, how I wish we hadn't! We had booked in for the Dreamtime "signature package" - a sea salt body buff, followed by an organic clay body mask, finished with a full body massage. We arrived 15 mins early (good day spa ettiquette) to be faced with a 40 min wait. Apparently, another client was still using the room we were to be allocated. The "couples room" we waited so long for turned out to be a small, mezzanine area with two massage tables jammed into it. I suspect the real delay was that they had to rearrange the room to fit in two tables. My husband, at 6'4" tall, was left with his feet dangling over the end of his table - not so unusual at that height - what was unusual was that the therapist had so little room she kept running into him. An on-wall air conditioner, which serviced the entire day spa, was positioned right over the top of the massage tables, blasting the area with icy cold air - not particularly pleasant when you are draped in nothing but a thin towel! The sea salt body buff began well enough, until it became apparent that it was not to be fully removed before application of the clay body mask. There we were, still lying in a bed of chunky salt crystals, when they began to slap on the clay mask. And I do mean, "slap on". It was applied to the front portion of the body only, the exception being that we were asked to sit up for it to be applied to our backs. No turning over, no application to any other rear surface. And it was cold. Never before have I been coated in a cold mask. Some time later, the therapists returned to remove the mask. This was when the real nightmare began. Instead of being taken to a shower facility to wash the clay off (which, as a day spa devotee, I know very well to be the usual routine), the therapists began wiping the clay off with wet towels. The towels were initially heated, however, cooled rapidly under the blast of the air conditioner. After consistent wipings with a cold, wet towel, I had to insist that a fresh, hot one be applied. All the time, I was dreading what my husband was thinking, given he is not the sort of guy who regularly tags along to be coated in a mix of salt and clay. After the rather inefficient removal of clay, the torturous "full body" massage began. It is the only time I have had a full body massage which involved massaging the shoulders, back and legs only, whle lying in a bed of left-over salt crystals. No massaging of the feet or head! The technique used by my therapist was so amateur, I can only think she was roped in as a friend-of-a-friend to fill a void. Despite my requests for a fairly firm massage, she was unable to provide any pressure as part of her technique (the poor girl tried, but she had no idea - and it's not as if I'm overweight or overly muscular). My husband's therapist did know how to massage, so that was one consolation. Another interesting technique - the therapist kept the massage oil in a bowl between my feet. I can only assume the small room meant there was no other place to put it! One false move and the whole thing would have been upended on the floor. The whole experience was so upsetting, I had a massive headache at the end of it, a blocked nose from the air conditioner, and a complete inability to respond to the receptionist when asked, twice, if I had enjoyed it. I just stared at her, dumbfounded, then commented on the fact that I was freezing, due to the positioning of the air conditioner throughout the treatment. The receptionist looked at me in mock suprise and commented that she didn't think the air conditioner still worked! I'm not usually one to tolerate bad service, but given we had been warned, the professionalism of the place was clearly suspect, and my husband was well and truly over the whole thing, I just wanted to get out of there. Oh, and a final insult - after we left, my husband pointed out that the "2-hour experience" had been barely 1 1/2 hours - they didn't even extend the treatment to factor in our long wait in the waiting room, which had been due to their delay! Unlike me, heed the warning - if you are looking for a day spa experience in Airlie, try the Endota Day Spa at the Pinnacles Resort & Spa, the newly opened Spa Allure in the main street or (what we even tried to do) book a day trip to Daydream Island and use their day spa facilities.
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