Monday, 17 May 2010

Review: Filiz Aveda Lifestyle Salon & Spa, Kingston Upon Thames

Last week I dropped into the Filiz Aveda Lifestyle Spa, located at Bentalls department store in Kingston, my nearest decent-shopping town on the south-west London / Surrey borders.  After a lovely day of floating around doing some light shopping and lunching in celebration of my birthday, I was hoping that a indulgent Aveda facial would relaxing finish to my day.

The Filiz spa is absolutely beautiful - the photo on the left shows the waiting area, which consists of a comfy sofa set in a sunken area bordered with softly glowing lighting.  The overall vibe is mood-lit, deeply tranquil, and very exclusive feeling; quite a feat when you remember that you're actually on the top floor of a department store, opposite the toy section.  I'd booked myself in for an Elemental Nature facial, which was rather expensive at £75 for an hour.  I was assured that while the facial treatment itself was an hour long, the usual consultation and form filling bit incorporated a foot soak and scrub, which took the total pampering time up to an hour and a quarter.

Unfortunately, things got off to a bad start when I was left in the waiting area for about half an hour prior to my treatment beginning, having arrived about ten minutes early.  As I sat, awaiting the arrival of my therapist, I found that the tranquil atmosphere was quite frequently disrupted.  A good spa is a good spa because of the little touches that enhance your experience; at Filiz, the staff moved around the area noisily, wrenching doors open and letting them bang shut behind them, not only punctuating the quiet with bangs, but allowing the noise from the shop floor to filter through into the spa.

My therapist eventually arrived fifteen minutes after the treatment was supposed to begin.  Although apologetic, she rushed me into the treatment room and through the foot soak / consultation.  When she began the facial, I was surprised that no music was played - everything was conducted in silence.  I've never really thought about the role of music in a treatment; it's usually simply a background thing.  Not having any music though was very disconcerting; all I could hear were the squishing noises of creams and oils being massaged into my face.  The strangeness of the senses continued as I realised that my therapist had eaten something very heavy on onions for lunch.  Not particularly relaxing.

As the facial continued I eventually relaxed more and did nod off as I usually do during a good facial.  Afterwards, the therapist explained what products she'd used, highlighting the ones whose scent really stood out during the treatment, and I was left to wake up properly and get dressed in my own time.  As I left the spa, my face felt perfectly clean, moisturised but not coated with heavy product.  Outside of the spa, I checked my watch.  I'd been in the therapy room for a total of an hour, including the foot soak and scrub, despite having been assured that the facial was an hour on its own.

Overall, I wasn't particularly impressed with Filiz spa.  While both the luxe decor and the treatment itself were lovely, and my skin did indeed glow for several days afterwards, the little touches that make a spa visit so truly relaxing were not there.  Instead of feeling tranquil and pampered, I left feeling slightly cheated.  I won't be going back.


  1. Oh no! For me the treatment itself comes in second to the feeling of being pampered. I had a massage recently with no plinky-plonky music and unscented oils, and although it was a fab massage I left feeling a bit cheated too.

  2. awe no, the place looks gorgeous but bad the relaxing spa atmosphere was missing:(

  3. Dude, not cool! That's £25 worth of tongue-lolling relaxation that you didn't get to enjoy. Will steer clear of this one.

  4. Bums. I think I might have bought one of these.

  5. Laura, it wasn't a Wahanda voucher - I paid the full price (mores the pity!)

  6. DOH! I just assumed... Cripes I'm annoyed on your behalf. It's frustrating when spas and salons ruin a perfectly good treatment through lack of attention to detail.

  7. Both, me and a friend of mine were given dirty and already used towels full of someone's hair. The sheet on which I was supposed to lay on was also dirty and full of somebody's hair. When I complained about it they tried to persuade me that the towels were clean and the yellow staines were wax staines and that's completely normal, and having hair on towels and sheets was also usual as you cannot get rid of these by washing. I've been to many spas and have never seen and experienced anything similar.

  8. Thats Such a shame,
    i recently visited the same salon for a half day spa, which consisted off
    1 hour facial, 1 hour massage, manicure&pedicure, blowdry, make-up and a light Lunch.
    i thought the service was absolutley fantastic and everything was at the great standard i expected.
    since the last comment i have seen on here regarding the dirtyness, i visited the salon since then, and thought the cleaningness was at the standard i expect for a 5* spa.
    i will definetly be going back there.

  9. Having used this spa before it became a Filiz franchise I have to say that standards have slipped... A recent visit for a facial was particularly disappointing (albeit the treatment was ok), my list of gripes included.... and sorry, bear with me... deep breath... The background music of tranquil water & birdsong was far too loud. The staff stomped around slamming doors. The refreshments menu resembled something from a greasy spoon (leatherette with gold letters, you know the type I mean)... the once calming "lounge" was anything but, I just want a soothing aveda tea or refreshing water before my treatment not a latte and biscuits, or a doctors surgery selection of mags or to hear the latest staff gossip!! There was a total lack of foot soak and consultation at the start of my facial, no chakra ritual, no robe, no aromatherapy oil ritual, no hot towels to remove each element of treatment and instead of being swaddled in fresh smelling towels I was draped in a slightly greying baby pink faux fur blanket.... Aveda your brand is being diluted here for sure! END OF RANT!

  10. i recently went for a massage and i thought the treatment and service were brilliant.the beautician i had was polite and knew exactly what she was doing. i was relaxed and enjoyed myself. i will be going back there very soon


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