I went to Bliss at the Hotel W in San Francisco because I had won a gift certificate for the Blissage 75 massage. I reserved a time and date a little more than a month ahead of time and was quite satisfied with the no-hassle reservation process over the phone. They provided information and explained anything I didn't understand. They confirm the appointment with an email message.
I showed up and my reservation was found in reasonable time. I was greeted warmly and offered bottled water or lemonade. A person escorted me to the locker room and showed me where to meet the massage therapist. The locker is easy to use, plus it was immaculately clean. I was given flip-flops and a robe. I felt the area to be essentially private from the shower area and entrance area. All the rooms are at a comfortable temperature and I never felt too hot or too cold.
The massage therapist gave me adequate time to prepare for my massage and met me in the lounge within minutes of me taking a seat. I was asked to fill out a form stating any medications, medical information and contact information. I guess they don't want to be sued for allergic reactions to products or any sort of misunderstanding about treatments that may or may not be sensitive to the customer. The form asks for a date of birth, but I did not feel required to include the year. The massage therapist asks questions before she tells you to get on the table, which is a bit redundant though it is probably the responsibility of every technician to do this.
I liked my technician because she listened and asked me questions whenever she was unclear about something I said. She was patient with understanding my needs. There's nothing worse than talking to someone who just is not connecting with you and not understanding what you may be saying; sometimes assuming the wrong thing. Afterall, you are paying a lot of money to feel good.
The room is really nice, lights are dim, there are no particular scents to distract you. It's just the right size. There were no outside noises. I enjoyed the music. It was a mixture of genres -- just as interesting as relaxing. The deep tissue massage was very relaxing and I felt very safe, comfortable and assured that there was no hurry to be anywhere. They use great products and the massage included paraffin wax for the feet as well as an exfoliant. It was the most luxurious massage in my life. The cool cucumber treatment on the eyes took all the stress away and was very refreshing.
Afterwards I enjoyed the dry sauna for a few minutes. There was no one else in there, but I don't feel it would be very comfortable if even two more people would have entered the room. I took advantage of being able to lie down and hoped I would not have to adjust for another guest and I was lucky I didn't.
I took time to also enjoy the private steam/shower. I was a little confused at first about why the steam didn't start right away after switching on the controls so I showered off all the oils and washed my hair with Bliss's complimentary products. I found the products to be mild and not heavily fragranced. Then the steam came on while I was there so I relaxed on the bench.
The surface is the length and width of an average bath towel so this is the perfect size if two people are enjoying a spa day together to share the steam room. Or one person can sit with back to wall and legs outstretched or bent. Though the proximity of the steam spout is right where you rest your feet on the tile if you were to sit upright facing forward, so I don't know if it is all that comfortable for two people to sit side by side.
What's so great about the steam is the temperature regulates to never go above 125 degrees Fahrenheit. The shower controls also reads in temperature Fahrenheit (no Celsius info for the foreign visitors).
I tried to cool down so I opted to sit in the lounge in my robe and hair in a towel. I enjoyed the refreshments -- very high quality, though I didn't realize that I should have gone for some lemonade out by the manicure and pedicure area. There should have been lemonade in the lounges, but perhaps it is too cluttered to have tea, water and lemonade as well as the snacks (high quality cheese and flatbread crackers, brownies that appear to have no oil but still are moist and cucumbers). The magazines were protected by holders -- very clean.
I felt relaxed in the lounge but had to change seats because the lily flowers were so strong that I began to have a headache. It is not clear where dirty dishes should be stored, but there is a person that collects the dishes often and replenishes the water bottles. The same person also maintains the locker area and asks you if everything is great. It's funny, but also nicer than saying nothing.
The signage is practical and not overt. I think people take this for granted, but a spa will be more welcoming with clear instructions that don't reflect that they think the customers are idiots.
At checkout they are very eager to please you and make sure you feel like they appreciate your business. I also received a complimentary bag of samples from my technician who recognized that I was celebrating my birthday. I never saw more than one person needing to be waited on before someone would come over to assist them. It was very 1:1 and immediate service.
It is imperative to sample their products as much as possible while at the spa. I was glad to have a chance to try some of the lightly whipped moisturizer at reception. In the changing area, I sampled their body butter -- it is of excellent quality and it goes to show that you get what you pay for, but unfortunately many of the products are a bit out of my price range. It's nice to feel like a million bucks, but I don't want to have to eat PB&J everyday to afford that feeling.
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