I love surprises - but let’s face it - only good ones, of course.
And what's an unofficial review? Read all the way to the end and you'll understand.
So over the weekend, I finally had to use up my Groupon for a massage as it was expiring. And no, I don’t ALWAYS go to nice spas - who can afford it??! I know I can’t. But if you can… read my latest 90-minute Spa series write up. Only a few times a year do I splurge so that I can review some of the nicest spas in the city. The rest of the time, like most of us who live in the real world, I survive off Groupons - and I’m one of those proud beings.
Anywho, I’m headed to Kits Spa - a place I had never heard of. But given it’s ‘Kits Spa’ it’s gotta sound pretty legit, right? I just don’t ever recall seeing it anywhere in my ‘hood. So I’m on the Groupon app to find the address. 4th and Yew. Ok cools.
I get there. It’s not Kits Spa.
It’s some other beauty establishment. It’s now five minutes before my scheduled appointment starts and I’m scratching my head feeling worried. Double-checking the address on my Groupon and it’s correct. I am where it says I’m supposed to be.
Hmm… maybe it’s, um, inside this beauty establishment??
I walk in, and a kind lady greets me.
“May I help you?”
“Hi. Is this Kits Spa?”
“Do you have a Groupon?”
Confused, I give her this look of ‘how did you know?’ and answer, “Uh, yeah.”
“Oh, yeah we get a few a day coming in here. This used to be Kits Spa. But not anymore.”
My heart sinks to the pit of my stomach. I feel like I’ve been had and quietly vow never to buy a massage Groupon ever again.
“Do you know where they’ve moved to?”
“No, but perhaps you should just call them.” Good point.
I call and the cell signal sucks but the lady on the other line is giving me the new address and I remind her that I’m now five minutes late already and I still have to drive there.
The new location is on West 2nd near the entrance to Granville Island, just down from the iconic Waterfall Building. So not too far but I’m now 12 minutes late for my appointment as a result.
I walk to where the new address should be and it’s…. not Kits Spa. It’s Infinity Salon & Spa. I’m now further confused - and at this point, kinda pissed and lost my zen. It’s a beauty salon with a hair salon at the front and what looks like a nail bar at the back and some rooms. As I walk in, there are people getting their hair done but the reception desk is vacant. No one even notices me standing there for nearly 5 minutes looking around for someone to help me.
I finally walk up to one of the hair stylists and ask “Sorry to interrupt you, but is this Kits Spa?” She nods and says “Yeah, have a seat and she’ll be right with you.” I’m like no, no.
“I’m already late for my appointment because the Groupon gave me the wrong address. Can you please find a way to get her attention? No one is at the reception desk.”
“Just walk to the back and someone should be there.”
At this point, I’m just royally pissed, feeling like I’m being dicked around with the worst service possible.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity (but in reality it was only a couple minutes), a lady emerges - who’s not the therapist, mind you - walks out and asks me what I’m there for. I tell her and she knocks on one of the closed doors and out walks my therapist.
To her credit, she does apologize for everything and that usually Groupon does the updates but she’s not sure what’s happened. Anyhow, she assures me that I’ll get my full hour. 57 minutes, she says more precisely just before we begin. Given I’ve already used up 3 minutes to change, I suppose so.
After all that, I get onto the massage table and I’m so confused, because she proceeds to give me an amazing hot stone massage. Like seriously good. Better than any hot stone massage I’ve had at the fancier full day spas. Her strokes are so fluid and deep, the rocks she uses - which are smoking hot by the way - allows the heat to penetrate deep into the aches and pains and I’m just in heaven. But while I’m lying there enjoying the best massage I’ve had in recent memory, I’m like, how is it that this lady who is so talented could run a massage business so poorly? She is in desperate need of PR help - note to all the PR teams out there.
Look, I know that I bought a Groupon massage, so there’s going to be a level setting exercise right up front. You get what you pay for, to an extent. But there are also certain basic expectations - like getting the right address on the Groupon - and having some sort of signage at the front of the shop. I get that rents (even commercial rents) are expensive in this city. And there’s nothing wrong with renting out a room in an existing salon. But basic things like signage right at the door - and actually having someone at reception to greet people as they walk in - would be super helpful. I got a sense that these problems have been going on for a while - I went back to read the online reviews and there they were. Many citing the same experiences that I did.
While this is not a review as part of 90-Minute Spa, my experience was so weird - both awful and yet amazing - that I just had to write about it. It is a blog, after all.
And to this day I’m still scratching my head.