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Review: Summer event at Spa Xana(don’t)

Over a week ago, I went to Spa Xanadu‘s first summer event.  They touted raffles and introduction in services like eyelash extensions, nail care, Youngblood, and complimentary mini-facials all for free or at a discount.  How could I not bite?  I’ve gone there about two times before with mixed feelings and it seemed like a good opportunity to set food in the building.  Well, I did, and Youngblood was the only thing that made me happy that I took time out of my day to travel and stay there.  But for the most part, not a lot of good R&R.

Reservations…First off, I saw the email download to my inbox, clicked, read quickly, and immediately called to set up an appointment time.  I was told I was the very first person to call so I could get the first slots at 6p.  Sweet!  (I found out later that they had told SEVERAL people the same thing.  Seriously, why would you lie about that?  People just get annoyed about it later.)  I decided instead of going home and dealing with horrific 210 traffic there, I would go there first, finish up ahead of everyone else, and get home to an only slightly hungry poochie.  I get there (with my husband who I also signed up) and see there are free Guinot baggies and I have to fill out paperwork.  I was asked what I would be doing, which always bothers me since I when to painstaking efforts to sign up for specific things on the phone.  Ok, sure, they’re just double checking.  Then we waited around…for a while.  There were healthy and unhealthy snacks to nosh on but mostly it was sitting around with women a couple decades older than me. I was the least dressed of them all, but that probably has to do with the fact that I was AT WORK before I came by.

Running behind…Now, my husband told me not to get upset with they were 5-10 mins late.  I did get upset at 30 minutes behind schedule.  The poor girl managing the event tried very hard to do a good job, but she was mostly hindered by the incompetence of everyone else.  I guess they were waiting for someone stuck in traffic; it sounds bitchy but I left early enough to get to the location on time.  Someone who’s trying to sell stuff should do the same.  Eventually they started…with the worst presentation from a cosmetic doctor I’ve ever seen.  His name was Dr. Jen Chow (yep, it’s a he), and he proceeded to do a sale job on the level of a 9th grader since he was someone “who isn’t technically savvy” with Powerpoint.  Let me get this straight — you can do Botox and Juvederm and Latisse (and I’m sure he can) but you didn’t think any where in your career you may want to learn how to have a polished presentation with a freaking computer?  I don’t think I’ve ever even had a lab meeting that poorly presented.  DH at one point said, “he’s a doctor, not a salesman” to which I replied “he’s a plastic surgeon, he’s 90% a salesman.”  Disclaimer: I have issues with plastic surgeons in general — sophisticated snake oil salesman tailoring to rich older women.  Some plastic surgeons do amazing things for facial reconstruction for accident victims, but let’s face it, most of them are not.  They are just the highest ranked technicians in a spa to me.  But I think the thing that put me over the top because everything was mounting at that point was when he said how the pharmaceutical companies don’t like him because he tells women how to make Latisse last longer!  As someone who would love to try (afford) Latisse at one point, it took everything not to laugh out loud.  First off, anything he said had been circulating around the Internet for a while — almost as soon as the product hit the market — AND he didn’t bother to say everything that at least *I* had heard of to make the product last longer.  Maybe Dr. Jen Chow is much better in person, I wouldn’t know, but after that pathetic presentation it’s probably for the best his clients are 50+ instead of in their 20s.

Rambling…Honestly, I couldn’t even tell you what they blabbed on about for the next bit.  I believe it was the saleslady from Guinot.  I had gotten a rather important/urgent email on my smartphone and had been furiously typing away on its tiny haptic keypad.  I have used Guinot products before.  They are high quality but it wasn’t anything that blew my mind away (just because its from France means I’m going to fork over the dough).  I was going to get a skin care analysis with her so I figured I’d review her skills then.  The last people to present were Youngblood.  Even though the product redeemed them later, it was a rushed, inexperienced sales job.  I don’t want to criticize her too much because I feel like she was forced to hastily explain her product after everyone was running so far behind at that point.  It was the first time she and her granddaughter did an event like this one so I don’t feel too bad saying it was an inexperienced sales job.  Out of all of them, I have the most promise for them to improve.

Raffles…Then, it was off to the raffle!  I brought my husband for the raffle because I notoriously lose at raffles and he has a habit of winning big.  And history repeated itself.  I had wanted him to win me either Latisse or a Youngblood sampler but he got me a Guinot package.  ::Shrug::  Something’s better than nothing!  But I almost went livid at one point.  Two or three women who I guess are regular buddies with the owner Donna came LATE and Donna let them put their names in the raffle while it had started and was still going.  No one protested.  My husband almost did but at that point I was so annoyed I didn’t care.  Of course they would do something like that.  And of course one of those people added to a late pool of only a couple names won.  And of course I didn’t.  And of course it left a sour taste in my mouth.

Rushing…With the timeshare beauty presentation done, then the services would start.  We were first up for mini-facials; we only had waited 5-10 minutes at that point but we were shuffled into room with women who gave me the worst mini-facial I’ve ever had.  Maybe I’m mistaken, but a good regular facial to me is about 60 minutes and an express facial is about 30-45.  Thus, a mini-facial to me was going to be on the order of 20-30 minutes not 5-10 in rooms with paper thin walls so you can hear everything that is happening in the next room.  No zen, no calm, no tranquility — I felt like she was washing dishes on my face instead of giving me a facial.  Then, we were off to the skin care analysis with the Guinot woman.

Re-evaluate…I mean, we were off the wait for the skin care analysis with the Guinot woman.  Though I was completely and visibly annoyed after the first 2o minutes, I felt bad again for the young lady trying to coordinate all of us.  The lady from Guinot was just having a ball and laughing it up with some metrosexual dude (which I totally respect, wish my own husband was more like that) for almost 20 minutes.  They had left the consultation area so she could point out products she didn’t have in her bag but that apparently takes half an hour.  When I finally got a chance to sit down with her, I think I was out in about 5 minutes which was fine because it was sort of hard to take the woman seriously for beauty needs when you saw her up close.  I’m not sure if it was, “Wow, you spent too much time in the sun most of your life” or “I am so sorry that person botched your lip job” but I really did feel mixed.  I did not want to be around that woman and she didn’t care to put much time into me.  Maybe she felt that I didn’t want to be around her and she responded kindly — I don’t know — but her analysis was for crap.  Her analysis entailed her looking at us in a box where there was a black light to indicate dry and damaged skin.  Big surprise, I have healthy skin.  What was I surprised about?  That she said she and my husband had pretty much the same skin and recommended many (though not all) the same products.  ::ahem:: OMG, that woman is an idiot.  I am of Indian descent with oily/combination skin who suffers from hyperpigmentation.  My husband is from when the Anglos met the Saxons with incredibly dry skin, eczema, dermatits, and keratosis pilaris (or red bumpies as I like to call them).  Does that sound like we should be treated the same?  Even our cleansers act differently on our skin.  Guinot, which had previously had a decent reputation in my mind, dropped significantly in my eyes.  I now have a ton of free samples to play around with so I don’t have to use the impression of a flaky saleswoman to judge them, but I’m even “blech” about trying them.

Redemption…Finally, I was off to Youngblood.  It didn’t start out so great because I had to wait another 30-40 minutes.  I was climbing up the walls a bit at this point.  The grandmonther/grandaughter team though skilled had never done an event like this and did not keep on top of their schedule.  A big problem was that the grandmother was doing the makeup of some older Russian woman who was not in line so that diverted resources.  But when I got to the makeup chair, the fun began.  First off, the woman next to me used to work with the grandmother and I also used to work where they used to work.  So, I got to hear a ton of gossip which was cool.  My own makeup artist was someone my age (ok, probably much younger) that just had a hip energy that I adored (I have a thing for people who do nose rings as well).  I complained to her about my foundation not matching as perfectly anymore as I guess I am tanner now that I was in 5-7 years ago.  She looked at me and said..no, I don’t think any of the liquids are going to be right for you…and then she took out the rice powder and the coffee foundation, mixed dabbed, and voila perfect color consult.  That was fast!!  She then continued to play more with my face with eyeshadow and blush (I’m a sucker for eyeshadow!).  You can see my first introduction to Younblood here; I have since dumped wayyy too much money on buying a bunch of products from them.  I would have been happy to buy from the spa itself except that there was no one trying to service me!  And they had some pretty pathetic sale/promotions.  There were blushes and eyeshadows at 50% off which I was interested in buying, but anything else was only 10%.  No combo packages, nothing.  And that point, I left happy that I found a winner in Youngblood and took the win.

Returning? Maybe.  Honestly, I’m not sure.  I don’t think Spa Xanadu is a great deal.  What’s nice about the spa is that its really big — you never feel cramped in that place, but their services are just so-so and definitely not worth the price.  I have found much better values on the Westside and specifically Beverly Hills.  Now, where I will travel to Beverly Hills for Anush and, to a lesser extent, Vida, I would love to be wowed by someone who was situated slightly closer to me.  I haven’t found it yet, and it definitely isn’t at Spa Xanadu in its present form.  But I’m always open to the idea that establishments improve over time.  Most of the things I am annoyed with can be rectified — time management, organization, and presentation.  But honestly, Arcadia isn’t Beverly Hills or Santa Monica so maybe the establishments shouldn’t try to price like them.  I’m on the email list so I see their promotions and maybe if something hits my fancy, I’m in no rush to go back.

Next upcoming spa review: Spa Chakra at the Ritz Carlton in celebration of my husband’s birthday!  I’m getting a facial while he’s getting a massage for 90 minutes.  *crossing fingers* Let’s hope it’ll be a more relaxing experience!

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