Both Pat and I recently took trips to Spa Ja ( http://spaja.com/index.htm )on the corner of 8th avenue and 56th street, courtesy of Groupon. There, I had the worst massage of my life. I didn't write about it until Pat had his massage, so I could include both of our experiences there. He came home from his massage and, when I asked about it, he simply replied with a word he learned from our son: "meh".
At first blush, I thought the spa nice. The decor, the little free snacks on the table in the lounge, the massage room overstuffed with lots of health and beauty equipment... But I had a bad feeling about the massage, inherently, from before I was even on the table.
MY massage, you see, had to be rescheduled one week. That was the first red flag. The spa called me to say that my scheduled massage therapist had been called for jury duty and there was nobody to take her place with me. Tch. No way to run a business, if you ask me. I wanted to be accommodating, so I said ok and allowed them to put me off a week. When I arrived, my massage therapist did not come out to get me until 2 minutes after my scheduled arrival time. It took 2 minutes to traverse the stairs and hallway into the room and another 3 minutes for me to undress and get on the table. Then there was the 1 minute I spent trying to communicate with my massage therapist - or perhaps I should call her masseuse, since I got no therapy. I told her that I needed work done on my head, neck, entire back, especially the lower back and shoulders. I asked her not to touch my legs or chest, though the glutes and feet were fine. She did not appear to understand, nor did she appear to care.
Once on the table (ten minutes into my SIXTY minutes massage), I awaited her return, whereupon she began the massage and CHASTISED me for not relaxing. Repeatedly, she demanded that I try to relax, stating that she didn't want to hurt her hands by massaging an unrelaxed body.
I felt nothing. Nothing, that is, except her FINGERNAILS. It was the worst massage I have ever had in my life - and I have had some really bad massages. I paid $89.00 for a Groupon that granted me two 60 minute massages; and a choice of massage styles - and I asked for DEEP TISSUE. This woman didn't do deep tissue on me, she didn't listen to me when I told her what I wanted (made clear by the fact that she massaged my legs and my chest), and she stopped promptly, PROMPTLY, after 50 minutes. What is more, when I got to the reception desk and turned in my Groupon, they charged me 11 dollars in taxes that would have been charged on the original price of the massage, $130.00; all this after I tipped the woman on a $130 massage (I have worked in the service industry - I always tip, even on bad service). When I used my Groupon at the Jeunesse Spa and Enliven Body Works, I was not charged tax.
I am ashamed of the Spa Ja for the shitty service (yes, I chose to say shitty instead of a less vulgar word) I received at their hands. And even though I should not have sent my husband there, having gotten such God-awful service, I did; I did because I wanted to hear what it was like for him. He didn't have the horrible service I got - but he didn't get good service.
If you are in New York City and looking for a good spa, note the address:
300 W 56th St
I don't care how long they have been in business; they don't deserve yours.