I haven’t been to many spas. It’s not that I think they’re some kind of attack on my manhood, it’s just they aren’t something I think about. The only time I’ve done some “spa-ing” was during an all-inclusive stay at a resort in the Dominican Republic where a 4’11 woman beat the crap out of me (in a good way) before making my feet look pretty (in a manly way). Jen Spencer, Spa Director at Sante Spa Victoria, heard that I do a blog on customer service and figured she’d put her spa to my challenge with a complimentary experience. It’s on, Jen!
Full disclosure: I know Jen personally and she knew I wouldn’t be nice even if she offered me a massage for the low, low price of free.
I made the appointment for an earlyish Sunday morning for what Sante Spa describes as a “Relaxation Massage.” Being a bit of a spa novice, I thought all massages were relaxing but that shows you what I know. I made my way into the swanky foyer where I was quickly greeted by one of the front desk staff. She smiled, took my jacket and handed me a medical checklist to fill out…a pretty extensive medical checklist. Well, probably best to know everything so there’s no surprises. I was given a quick tour and led to the change room to get “robe ready”…I just came up with that (this phrase is not endorsed by Sante Spa). As soon as I was ready, I was greeted by Dana who told me she’d be my masseuse for the hour and then asked me where she should focus: full body or back/shoulders. Stress has made my back/shoulders hate me so I asked her to give them a beating. I slipped under the covers and Dana went to work. After 60 minutes, I was a relaxed “muscle puddle” (also not endorsed by Sante Spa) that spilled out into a relaxation room and finally into a mineral pool. Unfortunately, eventually my brain had to switch back to “errands to do” mode, but really, not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning.
The engagement and service can be split into three parts: front staff, tour and masseuse.
Episode 1: The Front Counter Staff – Clear, friendly, to the point. Beyond the medical checklist, I didn’t really talk much with the front counter. Their roles seemed far more as facilitators than anything else. They made eye contact, they smiled, they answered any questions I had…plainly, they got me closer to the service I was there for. Beyond a little small talk (which may or may not be necessary, and it wasn’t for me), they were grand.
Episode 2: The Tour – Got me where I need to go. I’m not sure if they do the quick tour for everyone but let’s assume they do. After taking my coat, the staff member walked me to where I was going, a waiting room and the change room. She did point to other rooms but really didn’t go far in explaining them. Having never been there before, it would have been nice to know if there were any facilities beyond the 4-5 rooms (massage, changing, sauna, waiting room and mineral pool) I was directed to. If that’s it, then that’s fine but it wasn’t much of a tour. More of a: that’s that, that’s this and you go in there.
Episode 3: The Massage. Dana was fantastic. As soon as I was changed, she was waiting for me to take me to my room and proceeded to be with me every step of the way without feeling intrusive. During the massage, she asked every once in a while how I was doing…which is great for someone with as little experience as myself. How do I know what I like? What’s too much? Too little? When I told her she was “adequately kicking my ass”, she laughed. Apparently she was giving light to medium pressure. I’m a wuss. But you know what, it was a good place to start and I’ll have a baseline for next time. She was friendly, engaging and I’d highly recommend her.
THE CONCLUSION: Going steady – This could be the beginning of something major. Our date started off pretty formal and matter-of-fact but when we finally connected…damn. You were there for me, talked enough to keep me engaged but not so much as to ruin our time together. I didn’t have a lot of experience on these kind of dates but I’m definitely up for another.
Service Rating System:
Friend Zone – I just don’t like you in “that way.”
Booty Call – If I don’t have anything else better going on, I’ll stop by.
2nd Date – I’ll give you a second chance.
Going steady – This could be the beginning of something major.