Vegas Bright massage pundit Iun Hockley warns us to stay away from Serenity Spa by Westgate
For some, the label “Off-Strip” brings up images of pure terror: dingy hotels frequented by unsavoury types; foul unidentifiable odours that emanate from dark corners; rooms with threadbare carpets and coin-operated television sets from the late 1980s.
On the other hand, “Off-Strip” can mean great locals casinos like The Cannery and The Eastside Cannery, the Station casinos or the Silverton. It can mean fascinating little strip malls with great hidden eateries, or well-run spas that don’t cost as much as a night in the Wynn for an hour’s treatment. Off-Strip is not necessarily a bad thing.
Except, in the case of the Spa at The Westgate, it is. The Westgate hotel is not quite as “Off-Strip” as some of the aforementioned hotels, and it’s accessible via the Las Vegas Monorail and the SDX bus. So the hotel certainly has that in its favour. The staff in the lobby were also extremely courteous in pointing out where to access the spa elevator. pa staff too were also extremely welcoming.
The relaxation areas are not co-ed, which seems to be the norm everywhere except The Platinum Hotel and spa. The relaxation area boasts a hot pool, cold pool and Jacuzzi, as well as fruit, ice water, steam room and sauna. However, it’s a little difficult to relax with the staff constantly stomping by muttering angrily to themselves. Also there TVs everywhere, loud TVs. Loud TVs set to sports channels. Now, I’m a fan of The Sports and I enjoy watching other people Sportsing, but in a “relaxation area” loud noise seems out of place. The fact that the only beds and sofas were directly facing the TVs compounded the problem. There was no mini-fridge with self-serve drinks. No trail mix.
The massage we booked was a couples “Muscle Melt”, which sounded promising after our 11-hour flight the previous day, and we were definitely looking forward to using the gym and pool. Regrettably, my muscles were anything but “melted” during the treatment. Before the treatment and upon arriving at the spa, we were asked to fill out standard medical forms and to indicate particular areas of focus for the masseuses. I can only imagine that these forms are filled out and then immediately filed under G for “Garbage” as the masseuses completely ignored both our requirements.
What proceeded during the treatment was the most run-of- the-mill, garden variety, dull, mundane and ineffective massages I have ever had. The masseuse was clearly running through a checklist of basic steps, not paying any particular attention to areas that were suffering from knots or any clear discomfort. There was no melting of the muscles as advertised. The scents were nice, but limited to one rather than a combination of two or three, and the base oil was not particularly moisturising.
That, however, was not the worst of it. We waited fifteen minutes after treatment for someone to appear at the front desk, we looked all over, but found no-one. Frankly, we were going to complain and dispute the mandatory $25 per person tip, and maybe the staff felt this and decided to remain hidden rather than face the displeasure of a disappointed guest. Fair enough: we were prepared to leave
a $10 per masseuse “Thanks for Trying” tip, but seeing as we had booked tickets elsewhere and time was tight, we decided to just leave. Ignore us: we ignore you. I thought that was the end of it.
I was wrong. When booking the massage, I was asked for a credit card and assured that it would not be charged without my express approval.
….well, they charged it anyway. I entered no PIN, signed no receipt and absolutely did not give verbal agreement to be charged $50. Yet still, it was charged. I have emailed the spa several times, attempted to catch someone on the phone for an explanation, but the time difference from where I live to the US makes it extremely difficult to catch these places during opening hours – it seems no-one picks up any calls in the last hour of opening. I can only assume that $50 in the pocket and a thoroughly dissatisfied pair of customers is an even trade for the Westgate.
[Photo Cred. Serenity Spa by Westgate]