I went to the southport hall spa with 3 good friends yesterday for a chance to unwind and catch up. My friend had tried with difficulty and unsuccessfully to book the groupon deal - we ended up paying £40 for three treatments and a light lunch, similar to that deal.
We arrived on time and were told that the arrival time included 30 minutes to get changed, complete paperwork and relax before treatment no 1. We were offered a drink and completed the questionnaire. We waited. And we waited. Then we waited some more. We had not got changed and were sat at the back of reception which was the main access to the restaurant on one side and the stairs to treatment rooms on the other. Therefore, for most of the time people were going from one to the other, not particularly relaxing. We waited for nearly an hour.
We were then told that we could not get changed downstairs so would go up and get changed in the treatment rooms which we did. It turned out that the changing room was one room and when being used was locked to ensure privacy. That's fine except all the lockers were in there so if someone was using the room, you could not access your things in the locker.
We were upstairs for the first treatment - I chose a back massage which was fine, a friend had the same and felt it was a little made up but nice enough none the less.
We were then taken downstairs to relax before lunch. So we waited on the large comfy leather settees in the area next to the restaurant.
Lunch was ok. We were moved tables - I pointed out the tablecloth on the original table was dirty, that table was then re-set but with the same table cloth remaining which had cake squashed onto it.
The new table was situated right by the door to the serving area. Starter was melon and strawberries for 3 of us which was fine. My friend had the pate - fine but unfortunately not enough to stretch the bread that was provided (1 slice), even spread thinly. Main was salmon salad, all four portions were not the same, three of us with fillets and the fourth with what my friend described as something that looked like "road kill", the tail end. To be fair the salmon was cooked very nicely although the tail bit was dry. The dill mayo was good. Small amount of side salad with it were fine. We were then asked if we wanted to opt for different puddings as they had run out of fruit - we could still have fruit skewers but would need to wait while someone went to the shop to get more. My friend was offered a cup of tea which she said would have been nice if it had ever materialised. The fruit skewers were fine when they arrived. The strawberries were very nice.
I was a bit concerned to see the waitress behind the bar area (outside of the door) preparing what looked like ice cream, pushing this off the spoon with her finger into cups and then flattening the top with the spoon while running her finger around the edge of the cup. We later found that these were the cheesecakes, tasted okay, not sure about the consistency though, very creamy. Was just relieved to see that the lady didn't lick her finger! Also it appeared that any used glasses were put into a washing up bowl of soapy water only to be then put on the drainer, not washed or scrubbed in between. This meant that when the lady was drying them, she had to do extra as they actually needed cleaning as well as drying (with the same cloth!).
There was a youngish lad mooching about offering water or drinks, he probably would find it useful to have a tray for such rather than holding a couple of glasses between his arm and torso while having the other in his hand and then having to walk a little oddly so as not to spill anything.
We then had our other treatments by the same therapists who felt the need to again introduce themselves and go through the script ... A little bit robotic, not much flexibility in delivering the treatment to begin with but having said that the mini facial and leg and foot massage were very nice. Treatment rooms were nice enough and there are nice Moroccan and ethnic printed materials throughout.
It would not take very much for this venue to be a really good spa however, some of the staff clearly need some training as were far from professional. The building itself is an old synagogue which has lovely stained glass windows while some areas were nice, the space is really not used as best it could be, it certainly is not a luxury spa - areas such as the toilet were clean enough but not decorated particularly well.
We then had to wait to get changed as someone was using the changing room which meant that we could not access the locker.
At the end of the day we paid £40 and given that we were four friends together having a good laugh (sometimes about the complete oddness of the place) it was fine. If we had paid top whack we would have complained just as others have done and given some of the reviews on here, I can totally see where they are coming from. It was an okay day but none of us will be going back.
We were there for more than the allocated time probably because of all the waiting.
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