Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Review: River Wellbeing Spa at The Rafayel Hotel, Battersea

Another day, another Wahanda sourced reduced price spa experience.  The River Wellbeing Spa at the Rafayel Hotel were offering a 2-for-1 deal costing £135, which included full use of the spa facilities, mini massage, mini facial, and mini manicure, topped off with a cupcake and tea in the riverside restaurant.  My mum and I were quick to book for a Friday afternoon treat.

Arriving at the hotel, we were met with a beautifully modern, luxurious looking atrium, and were directed to the third floor spa.  A short ride in the lift later, and we emerged into a tranquil, quiet space decorated with a muted, peaceful colour palette and clad in accent wooden panelling.  After filling out the requisite forms, we were given a short tour of the facilities, which included a jacuzzi, sauna, gym, relaxation room... despite being quite small, the spa had plenty to keep you occupied for an afternoon, or even a whole day.

After bundling our belongings into a locker and wrapping ourselves in the white waffle robes and slippers provided, we were shown to our individual treatment rooms for the massage and facial part of the experience.  The treatment rooms were quite spacious for the size of the spa, and the tranquil theme was continued with translucent glass, muted light, and stone mosaics on the walls.  The massage itself was fantastic - my therapist Olga gave a very firm massage which didn't hurt as much as some I've had, whilst still effectively easing my tense mid-back.  Definitely not one of those massages where someone just strokes you for a half hour.  The facial was short but sweet, with the facial massage leading me into a light doze and just a couple of embarrassing snores.

Unfortunately, though, whilst the facial and massage were both technically well carried out, neither lasted the full half hour billed.  My massage came in at 25 minutes, and the facial at around 20 minutes - not a massive amount of time lost on each treatment, but overall the promised hour of treatment was over in just 45 minutes.

The manicure (and pedicure, which we opted for at extra cost) were both basic affairs, with no scrubbing or massage - just a cuticle tidy, file and paint for both feet and hands.  The polishes on offer were from Nubar and OPI, and there was a good selection of both brights and more neutral colours.  Some were fresh, but others looked like they'd seen better days - the brush for the topcoat came out of the bottle carrying a string of gloopy, old polish with it, and I had to request that it wasn't used on my nails.  Instead of finding a new bottle, a base coat was used instead, which I found very strange.

All in all, for the price, we had a relaxing afternoon and felt all the better for a bit of pampering time.  However, with the spa cutting down on promised treatment times and not providing fresh, good quality products for nail work, I'm not entirely sure the deal represents exceptional value for money.  If the spa were to deliver the full time promised, and replaced their ageing bottles of polish with new ones, £135 for two is a very good deal indeed, particularly with the inclusion of the cupcake and tea (both delicious) and use of the facilities.  Thanks to my low expectations, I wasn't all that disappointed - but I did leave feeling a little bit left down.

What do you think?  Visited this spa lately?  Ever had your treatment times cut down?  Let us know in the comments!


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