A Less than Stellar Experience with Yoga Thai Massage
I first saw Yoga Thai Massage in the early 90s whenever I would pass by A.C. Cortez Ave. or what we Cebuanos stereotypically call ‘Hi-way’, from home en route to the main thoroughfares of Mandaue City.
When they first launched their spa, they were abuzz with loyal patronage from their middle class clientele, earning them a place in Cebu’s booming, albeit unpredictable, spa circle.
I actually never got to try Yoga Thai Massage until today. It was just aptly so because I am writing this review about them.
Their affordable rate is too tempting
Stepping into their small courtyard, I think that this spa has seen better days. It looks a bit archaic and washed out compared to the other small spas I’ve been to. It makes me wonder of the last time they thought of renovating the entire place. Hmmm.
**UPDATE: They have renovated their place with new logo the last time I passed by their place on May 2015.
I went straight to their reception room adjacent to the main spa room outside and I got a lukewarm greeting from their receptionist. I did a time check with my cellphone–oh, so it’s still 6pm. Some people do exhaust their customer service batteries this early in the evening. Sad…
I quickly browsed through their menu of services and found out that most of their services are affordable just as what they have advertised by the entrance gate. P110 an hour? So dirt cheap I could buy a popcorn and balloon with it, but is the service really worth it? Let’s find out.
Yes, it’s P110 per hour BUT prepare for a barrage of upsells
Okay, so I chose Yoga Thai Massage for 1 hour for P110 and a 30 minute-Thai foot massage for P70. So, P180 in total. Ain’t bad, right? I was happy and can’t wait to get started.
My massage therapist led me inside the spa room where it reeks with that distinct smell of Perla, a popular whitening detergent soap which is a staple in almost all households in the Philippines. Assuming that I’m correct, they must have used Perla in all their bed sheets, pillow cases and garments used by their customers. It didn’t smell bad but it did smell funky for a spa.
It was awfully quiet and gloomy inside. Their dark, narrow hallways remind you of those B-movie horror movies where a paranormal encounter is conveniently waiting for the protagonist. Maybe because this room was built decades ago, going inside felt more like a dungeon than a spa.
Before I even got to undress and change my clothes, the therapist suggested that I upgrade to 1 hour foot massage instead of just 30 minutes. I’ll only pay P220. I agreed simply because it won’t make a big dent on my budget anyway.
While I lay sprawled on the semi-hard single mattress with my massage clothes on, she started kneading on my foot, twisting it and putting some pressure on them. It felt really good I almost drifted to slumber.
Then she broke the silence by recommending their facial spa. I could only mutter a muffled ‘no’ because the side of face was buried on the pillow. Then back to stretching and firmly extending her knuckles on the side of my legs.
“Ma’m, nindot sad among body scrub, ganahan ka mo-try?” (Ma’m, our body scrub is great here. Would you like to try it?) Seriously? I thought we were through with this whole sales talk stuff. And then I got it.
They start really cheap and work their way up by upselling their other services during the session. I understand that times are hard these days but it is downright annoying to see your therapist multitasking as a sales assistant when they should be focusing on, guess what—massaging their customers.
I said ‘no, thanks’. And I hope she gets it this time.
If Yoga Thai Massage is hell-bent on increasing their revenues, they should follow what other spas are doing—selling packaged services that should cover more than just breaking even, and not by doing aggressive Go Daddy-like upsells. That marketing strategy don’t work anymore.
Smooth and fluid stretches and massage strokes
I must say this is where they excel the most. What you normally get from other posh spas in the metro, you get it here for half the price. My therapist worked on deep (but not painful) stretches, flexible yoga-like movements, firm pressures on different areas and kneading my body til I melt like butter.
The reflexology foot massage was just plain awesome. She squeezed and stroked each toe gently and massaged each foot to perfection. She used a lotion the entire time to lubricate and make the massage easier to handle.
I also particularly liked how she used a stick to run them vigorously on the arches and balls of my feet. After the two-hour session, it felt like I was semi walking and floating at the same time.
The noisy ambiance—A big boo-boo
Our session started out just fine until I heard people from different areas near my cubicle. I was startled to hear another therapist who plopped herself noisily on the next cubicle and grumbled to her colleague about how thick the man she worked on few minutes ago that left her worn out.
Professional therapists don’t sleep while at work, sweetie. Nor do they talk about their customers while another customer is within earshot.
I could also hear another person on a nearby cubicle listening or switching channels to different music stations, unmindful of the other customers. They were ‘shushed’ intermittently by my therapist until they did shut up. Finally.
Wow, this is just plain wrong, rude and unprofessional of their employees. They should be given a re-training on basic etiquette because it looks like they got too complacent and arrogant.
As if that wasn’t enough, a loud ringing from a customer’s cellphone pierced the already noisy room. He answered the call and talked what seemed like forever, as if he’s the only person in the room. Grrr…
I can understand that I’m not exactly paying for five-star spa salon but c’mon, this is just too much a person can take, really.
Yoga Thai Massage – The Verdict
What I find positive from amidst all the screw-up I experienced here in Yoga Thai Massage was their massage service. I have to hand it to my massage therapist for her mastery in the finer points of Thai massage which may possibly turn out bad if not done properly. I went home feeling more energized and rejuvenated inside.
Their upsell strategies is a matter of preference, I think. Some may tolerate it, some don’t. I personally don’t like people selling stuff to me in the middle of a relaxing massage. If I like to try other services, I will tell you. For those who don’t want to be interrupted, politely inform your therapist that you don’t want any of what they’re offering.
I can’t say I’m equally a happy camper when it comes to their ambiance. The noise from both the employees and the other customers is unacceptable.
We can’t outright teach customers how to behave in public places but their employees should know better. It comes with the territory that making every customer comfortable should always be their no. 1 priority.
Sadly, I can’t say the same thing with Yoga Thai Massage. I’ve written in my previous review of how noises in spas are my biggest pet peeve and I won’t mince words in telling you of how utterly unprofessional and rude some of their therapists are here.
Yoga Thai’s massage services is their all-saving grace but you will be sorely disappointed with everything else. If you’re the type of person whose purpose is just to get a quick feel-good massage, then go to Yoga Thai. Otherwise, save your P110 and put it somewhere more peaceful, less annoying and better.
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