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Spa Experience at Ironmonger Row Baths
Verified (?) Visited Jun 2013
The Ironmonger Row Baths refurbishment is impressive,it's great to see this building restored to such a high standard of facility. However the Moroccan Rasul Ritual doesn't quite live up to its billing or match its surroundings. Upon arrival in the spa the receptionist was nowhere near as welcoming and friendly as you'd expect in such an establishment. With barely any effort on the part of the staff, following a very matter of fact process in filling out forms and exchanging shoes for slippers, gowns and towels, we were shown into the Spa area by the treatment specialist, this it seemed was essentially a narrow corridor with a couple of treatment rooms. There my partner and I were introduced to the two person Moroccan spa room and given a very cursory explanation of how to administer the treatment and the process we should follow. We were then shown to the Disabled toilet / changing area to share, I think this was considered to be appropriate so that my partner and I could change together, but actually felt more like we'd been left in a public toilet across the road to get changed ! The thought was there but really it would have been far better to have advised us to use the separate male and female changing areas which were of a better standard and would have felt more luxurious. At that point I would also have expected to be offered at least some water to drink or shown where it was available, neither of which happened, instead our treatment advisor simply disappeared, leaving me to search out a jug of water on a shelf in the corner with one clean glass and a small amount of water remaining, as the spa area was not staffed it was not possible to request a top up of the water.
The treatment itself felt haphazard, the guidelines we had been given should have also been listed on the wall within the Spa area as although we remembered most of what we were told to do we didn't really know what to expect within the room in terms of the order of steam, shower, water sprays ect. It would have been nice to also have a description to follow to get the most from the treatment. A fine mist we'd been told about turned out to be a two second blast we really could not understand, so we followed the process of applying soap, showering, putting on a rather slimy greasy feeling mud that didn't feel nice at all and then waiting to see what would come next from the automated spa system and it's increasingly scary music selection. When it finished we didn't know if that was it or not !?! Having applied the shea butter moisturiser which felt more like a handful of cooking lard we left the Spa room to find that the disabled toilet facility where our clothes were can only be opened by a member of staff who was still nowhere to be seen, it was left to the cleaner to try and decipher why we wanted to get into this room, having eventually realised what we were trying to tell her, she went to get the key from reception so we could retrieve our belongings, hanging around in the corridor covered in lard and wrapped in our dressing gowns was not quite the luxury attention we were hoping for at the end of the treatment.
Overall I have to say that the experience was not as relaxing or as indulgent as you might expect. This was mainly down to a combination of what felt like a lack of attention to customer service and the actual products used within the spa along with the simple absence of written detail regarding what to expect from the treatment and how to get the best from the process. It would also have been nice to be able to use the sauna and steam facilities as part of this offer, but this was subject to an extra charge, which seemed unnecessary. The Spa itself and the changing areas ect are spotlessly clean and of a good standard but I wouldn't return to the Spa based on this experience, there was simply a lack of attention to detail in customer service and a feeling that the experience was not good value for the money. Having said that the actual Baths themselves and the overall level of the rest of the facility look very impressive.