Wednesday, 19 March 2014

spa at the yawnastery

I’ve decided to go in another direction for a change.

This will be my first review.

Last New Year’s Eve in an effort to avoid the inevitable disappointment of an overhyped party, my boyfriend and I wanted to do something different.  We were just looking to relax in a Jacuzzi with some champagne and have a low-key but romantic evening.

Everybody and their mother seem to rave about Spa at the Monastery so we settled on a one-night stay in one of their “luxurious” suites – at $269 a night, it had better be luxurious.

The room that we booked promised the following:

King size bed
Air massage tub
Free Wi-Fi
Room service until 10pm
Continental breakfast
Spa Vitality level access

The amenities we actually got to take advantage of were:

King size bed
Air massage tub

Here’s a brief summary of our experience.

Since it was New Year’s Eve, we had expected the place to be busy, but we also expected them to be well-staffed in anticipation.  Not so.  We arrived to a dozen or so guests lined up outside the door, a handful of the housekeeping staff swearing and carrying on quite loudly in the hallway (in front of children), and only one staff member behind the desk to provide check-in for the guests and to man the phones.

After a 25-minute wait, we got to our room (which was no bigger than any average-sized hotel room; it was not a suite by any means) to find flickering ceiling lights, cupboard doors falling off their hinges, and no cable TV.  Rather than calling the undoubtedly stressed woman at the front desk – who probably didn’t know much about fixing the cable to begin with – we decided to be proactive and make the best of a semi-crummy situation.  My boyfriend drove home to get his laptop and an HDMI cable so that we could connect the laptop to the television and watch Netflix while I called down to the front desk for the Wi-Fi password.  After two of my calls went unanswered, the woman at the front desk finally picked up only to bark the Wi-Fi password at me.  Okay, she’s busy, I get it.

They decided to change my name for me.  How thoughtful.

Around 6:30 we perused the room service menu but found nothing particularly appetizing — especially not at the prices they were charging.  We were going to venture to Tim Horton’s to grab some bagels when we realized it was New Year’s Eve and everything in the city had been closed since 6:00.  No big deal, room service is open until 10pm; we would not go unfed!

My boyfriend called down to the front desk to place an order for room service and found out that the café had been closed all day.  Really?  During one of the busiest times of the year? When the entire city shuts down at supper time.  Really??

We managed to find an open gas station and had to resort to boiling Mr. Noodles in the coffee pot in our “suite”.  I wish I was kidding.

We never did receive any information about the continental breakfast nor access to the Spa Vitality room that we were supposedly entitled to, but we weren’t about to bother the woman at the front desk again.

After a few stern e-mails to the manager a few days later, I did manage to get a partial refund, but I still don’t believe the stay was worth the amount of money I ended up paying.

The moral of the story is: if you’re looking for a stress-free night out, stay away from Spa at the Monastery and Suites.  They’re overpriced, unprofessional, and they do not put their guests’ interests first.   

I know it sounds like this is maybe only a one time deal and perhaps I’m overreacting.  After all, if it hadn’t been New Year’s Eve and we were able to go out and get something to eat, it wouldn’t have mattered if room service had been open or not; and we probably would have been able to access the Spa Vitality room if we had just asked about it.  But after explaining my ordeal to a handful of friends and coworkers, I’ve learned that I’m not the only one who has been less than impressed with their experience at Spa at the Monastery

A co-worker of mine took her mother there for a massage, hoping for a relaxing experience to melt some stress away.  Upon arrival, they were handed worn-out robes that were stippled with tiny holes and then spent the hour being massaged in a frosty room because the masseuse didn’t know how to work the thermostat. 

The Spa has also been sued by a woman who sustained chlorine burns in one of the hot tubs in the Vitality room, to which the owner replied “I'm the owner, I'm not a chemical expert.”

Again, if you’re looking for a night out, steer clear of Spa at the Monastery and Suites.  Your money would be better spent on bottled air.

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