An Exercise In Trivial Pursuits

Fatshion, Food & Frivolities – Life in Las Vegas & Singapore


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Couponing: Brand New Skin Facial at Beauticove

Date: 24 August 2011

Deal: 89% off Negative Energy Cleansing Facial (New in Singapore!) or Pore and Scar Reducing Facial or Tummy/Thigh Slimming at $22 (worth up to $200) FREE Eye Treatment for Facials (Clarke Quay)

How it went:

It actually was quite good! It didn’t start off well because I had a bit of a problem booking the appointment. I called 3 times before I managed to get someone on the phone but after that, I had SMS confirmation and reminders so that was good. My post title says a different thing from the actual deal because I went there with really bad skin that day. It was a terrible weekend before and I had a breakout. My surface skin was dehydrated but underneath it was oily and I had 4 huge zits like a constellation on my face!

Beauticove  at Riverside Point.

Beauticove at Riverside Point.

The treatment room and the terry towel tube I changed into

The treatment room and the terry towel tube I changed into

The other end of the room

The other end of the room

A Eurasian lady named Carole (who appears to be the boss) attended to me. She looked at my face and explained the various offers in this coupon. None of which matched the treatment I urgently needed so she decided to customise a session that was closer to their “Brand New Skin Facial” (usual price $130) but threw in the eye treatment from the coupon as well. The room was nice and spacious. They had about 3 treatment rooms side by side and it all opened up to become one big room for training. There was a projector overhead in my room and Carole reassured me it wasn’t a spy camera. Carole was very motherly, firm but gentle. I fell asleep almost immediately. There was no extraction (YAY! No pain!) and she said it wasn’t something they did at her beauty parlour anyway. She did 2 mild acid peels, followed by the masks and I swear my skin felt almost back to normal after the facial!

The overhead projector in the room

The overhead projector in the room

Beauticove uses Alpha-H products from Australia. I ended up buying the Liquid Gold for $60+. It has been doing wonders and I swear it works! I wasn’t being pushed to buy products or packages and I felt reassured that I could walk out without feeling any pressure. I’d be honest and say that I was skeptical about the Liquid Gold. It was a plain cheap packaging and I was bleagh about it. But after using it for almost a week, I’d buy it again once I’m done with this bottle! If you can get over the smell (like drinking sherry), then you should try it too! My pores are more refined, my t-zone less oily. Though I was told not to use it for an extended period because my skin is quite thin.

Alpha-H Liquid Gold with Glycolic Acid

Alpha-H Liquid Gold with Glycolic Acid

So was it worth $200? Not really. I’d maybe pay between $80-$90. Would I go back again? Yes! I might even consider taking the 6-session package for the “Brand New Skin Facial” as I was offered a 30% discount. Clarke Quay MRT station is on the Northeast Line and less than 30mins ride on the train for me to get back home! I definitely am thinking about the offer. Also a boon is that Riverside Point is a strange place because it’s so quiet! I like it!


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Couponing: 3 Sessions Hair Rejuvenating Therapy by TK Trichokare

Date: 18, 22 & 28 August 2011

Deal: $49 instead of $537, 91% off 3 Sessions Hair Rejuvenating Therapy at 4 locations by TK Trichokare

How it went:

Let me just put it out there that I actually go to Svenson’s for oily scalp treatment as my hair has been thinning for some time. I have fine hair to begin with and I’ve never had a thick head of hair ever. My oily scalp makes things worse because the grease apparently clogs your hair follicles and you get a bald patch. I’m very satisfied with Svenson’s at this point in time but I am still shopping around for a good deal on similar treatments so I tried out this TK Trichokare.

Frilly filigree patterns on the wall

Frilly filigree patterns on the wall at the reception

Frilly wall patterns and individual stations.

Frilly wall patterns and individual stations divided by frosted glass panels

Quiet & dim common hair wash area

Quiet & dim common hair wash area

I went to the Wheelock Place branch on 3 different days over 2 weeks. It’s nice and quiet. The decor was fake classical European-esque (compared to the more Scandinavian style Svenson’s). There were these frilly gothic type patterns and gold frames. And on the 3 different times I went, it wasn’t crowded plus a ton of magazines for reading which I loved. After I was greeted at the reception, I was led into a small office for a “discussion” with their consultant Sharon (I think). She was probably Malaysian and spoke with an accent. I found it a little difficult to follow her train of thoughts and her language skills were a bit of a problem too. She didn’t seem too comfortable speaking in English and her grammar was all over the place. But I get the general drift. She felt that my hair was thinning and I wasn’t getting enough from my Svenson’s treatments. Also I should upgrade to this other thing and top up about $100 (even before I did the 3 sessions). Everything here was expensive but nothing exceptionally outstanding. It was good but it wasn’t worth $200 to wash my head.

I loved the hair wash. I also love $10 hair washes and head massages, who am I kidding? Then there was this squirting of some tonic after my hair wash. After which, a red light was shone on my head for a bit. Then my hair was blown dry and styled. That’s all.

So was it worth $537? Nope! Was it worth $49? Maybe… a little too much money for a hair wash, blow dry and application of tonic. But it was in a fancy building in the middle of Orchard Road. They had nice magazines for me to read and I did thoroughly enjoy my ME-time! If a similar coupon comes by, I wouldn’t hesitate to snap it up! I do like the ambience but the location was a bit out of the way if I wanted to go there frequently. The Svenson’s branch I visit is 10 minutes away from my house, so yup! Oh but I did end up spending about $39 for a bottle of TK Trichokare “Black Shine” hair serum. Very easy to use – one pump, rub it through your wet hair, and that’s it! It’s supposed to make your hair soft and shiny!


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Couponing: Meridian Slimming/Full Body Massage at Youth Infinite

Date: 15 August 2011

Deal: 91% Off (1)Full Body Massage OR (2)Facial Therapy OR (3)Merdian Slimming OR (4)Bust Enhancement at $28 (worth $320)

How it went:

Actually I don’t know which treatment I went for. It felt like both a full body massage and possibly a slimming treatment. It was largely painful and scary, and lasted too long for my liking. It’s not that it’s bad but… just something I didn’t like at all. The therapist was from China and spoke in Mandarin. She had other colleagues who appeared to be foreigners too, but probably from Malaysia as they spoke a little more English. I was in pain most of the time and it was difficult to figure out what they were saying to me. I walked away with a good Mandarin lesson on words related to massage therapy and weight-loss terms. (Here’s a funny one: She said something that sounded like “bee hive organisation” in Mandarin when I broke the words up. In my head I had no idea what it meant and I was so confused trying to figure out what all those sounds strung together could be. Turns out, it means cellulite! HAHA!)

Youth Infinite in Ang Mo Kio Central

Youth Infinite in Ang Mo Kio Central

The session started with me having to strip down to my underwear and then being weighed. As usual, they are always shocked to see what I weigh because for some reason I look smaller than the numbers on the scale. The bed was small, the room was a little cramped but well-equipped. The walls didn’t touch the ceilings so you could hear people walking around or talking. There was red heat lamp that shone directly on my belly as she prodded, kneaded, poked, and stabbed (I’m serious! She took a finger and she pressed it all the way down several points in my soft tummy and it hurt like a bitch!). I whimpered.

The room and the bed. Functional. And a Chinese acupoint chart.

The room and the bed. Functional. And a Chinese acupoint chart.

The other side of the room and some torture devices at the sink

The other side of the room and some torture devices at the sink

The worst thing was CUPPING! OMG! It hurt and I teared involuntarily. She told me it was going to be ok and that I hurt because I was weak. Glass jars were placed on my belly, thighs and arms. After that I flipped over and it was placed all over my back. Before that, she took a glass jar and heated the inside with a cotton ball of flame, then slid it up and down my back as it sucked at my flesh. IT HURT HURT HURT!!!! I was told the marks would go away in 3-4 days. Nope… mine took almost 14 days to completely disappear. GGgRrrr ggggRRrr!!!

Apparently I am sick/weak so the discolourations were darker

Apparently I am sick/weak so the discolourations were darker

I did some research and I read HERE that athletes do this all the time. Apparently these are not bruises because a bruise is the result of broken capillaries from impact traumas while these marks are the release of toxins. I don’t know and I don’t quite understand BUT if you can take the pain, I suggest you try it at least once. I suppose it can’t be that bad, it’s probably my own personal reaction to it. The massage hurt like mad but the day after, I immediately had better bowel movements (maybe from the vigorous prodding) and I felt better. Is it psychological? I don’t know.

So was it worth $320? NOPE! But it was definitely worth more than $28 if you understand that Chinese Physicians usually charge more for such treatments. So it’s a good deal, despite the torture, because it was an interesting experience. I was also offered a package deal which was quite expensive at $180 per session but then a 30% discount was thrown in because I came via a website (i.e. streetdeal.sg). The funny thing was I didn’t understand what she was saying and I was wondering why she told me that she’d give me a discount for a night stand. Turns out the sounds for “night” and “stand” together means “website”. HAHA on me again!


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Couponing: Choice of Nail Treatment at Allure Nail Lounge

Date: 9 August 2011

Deal: $28 for Choice of Nail Treatment at Allure Nail Lounge (Worth up to $88)

How it went:

Other than the fact that I waited close to 45 minutes for the therapist to turn up, it was ok actually. My appointment was for 11am on a public holiday, so I took it slow and leisurely. I had my iPhone with me and it was a nice environment so I didn’t fuss. On another day though, having to wait for more than 20 minutes even after booking an appointment in advance, I’d flip!

Allure Nail Lounge shares a unit with a foot reflexology place

Allure Nail Lounge shares a unit with a foot reflexology place

Serangoon Gardens in a nice place and I’d like to live there if I could afford it. I think most people need a car as it is not very accessible. You’ll need to take a winding feeder bus service to get to the Bus Interchange or MRT station (I think). If I lived here, I wouldn’t mind buying a package at Allure Nail Lounge. The problem was I didn’t and while it’s not very far from where I live, it was a little inconvenient to get to if you didn’t drive. I took a bus to Serangoon Central (about 10 minutes) then took a feeder bus to Serangoon Gardens. When I got there, I was kinda confused. It said Allure Nail Lounge on the top but it had that foot reflexology diagram. When I got to the entrance, I saw a big burly middle-aged (50s?) man carrying a bucket like he was going to clean or wash something. I peeped in and saw bottles of nail polish and decided to brave it. Turns out they were one unit. No barriers or anything. Just one big open space.

Big open concept. Very quiet on a public holiday morning.

Big open concept. Very quiet on a public holiday morning.

My manicurist didn’t turn up till almost 11.45pm and I was worried she’d take a long time to complete both my hands and feet. I sure didn’t want to spend the entire day there! Luckily she was quick and neat! Before 60 minutes were up, I had my Classic Mani/Pedi done! And because they used a quick-dry topcoat, I didn’t have to sit there very long to wait for my nails to dry.

OPI Hot & Spicy

OPI Hot & Spicy

OPI Orge the Top Blue

OPI Orge the Top Blue

Was it worth $88? Maybe. I usually pay about $65 for a Classic Mani/Pedi. But definitely a good deal at $28, barring the long wait. I think she did a good job and it was a nice, comfortable, spacious environment (because no foot reflexology customers were there yet maybe). She tried recommending me some treatments and when I said no, she didn’t push. So that was good too.


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Couponing: 1 Session of ProUltrasound + 2 Sessions of PowerLite Slimming Treatments @ Expressions

Date: 8 August 2011

Deal: 95% off Bundle Deal – 1 Session of ProUltrasound + 2 Sessions of PowerLite Slimming Treatments @ Expressions. Only $49 instead of $1000

How it went:

When I called the Compass Point outlet, I got cancelled twice before I managed to get to an appointment. The first time was when they called to tell me 3 days before the scheduled appointment that they didn’t have enough therapists and someone took leave on the day I was supposed to go. I tried rescheduling but it didn’t work till after 2 weeks later. This time, about a day before my appointment, I was told they were doing some renovations and repairs. That the machine that I was supposed to be using wasn’t available yet. They tried booking an appointment for me at the Orchard branch but they were full. So about a month went past before I actually went to Compass Point to do these 3 sessions of whatever slimming.

Super small 1st room where I was just told to lie on the bed in my underwear

Super small 1st room where I was just told to lie on the bed in my underwear

It’s a con. The deal sounds like they were doing a lot on me for $49. Here’s what – I spent about 20 minutes at their very small reception listening to the very tired and uninterested receptionist/consultant talk about the various packages they had (she wasn’t trying hard to sell them to me) before I went into the back areas where the treatment rooms were. I was just left in a room and told to wait. So I waited. When she came back she was surprised and I looked back at her surprised. She then told me to change out of my clothes and lie on the bed in my underwear. And I did. Then the 1 and only therapist I saw (there were no other people besides the 2 of them) came in and proceeded to put some gel on my belly. There was a machine involved and then a 20-minute massage. Well it was kinda like someone using the flat part of a bowl making circles on your belly, except this bowl was attached to the machine and it was warm. So that was soothing and I almost fell asleep.

The strange machine with the warm paddle (extreme top left) used to massage my belly

The strange machine with the warm paddle (extreme top left) used to massage my belly

Then I was abruptly told to put on a robe and carry my things to another room – shoes, bags and all. This was a larger room and it had some strange equipment. I was told to lie on the bed. It looked like someone had just been in it frankly. There were also some used clothes hanging on the wall. It was all quite messy too. There was like a tanning bed panel (red light tubes) directly radiating heat at my belly and thighs. She turned off the lights and left me there for about 20 minutes. After that, the session was over. Which was the ProUltrasound and which were the 2 PowerLite Slimming treatments? What the hell just happened?

Doesn't it look like someone just slept in the bed & used the room?

Doesn’t it look like someone just slept in the bed & used the room?

Was it worth $1000? Yah right! What a con! NO WAY! It wasn’t even worth $49! No wonder Expressions International is a company about to collapse. I read that the founders have been plagued by financial troubles and it looks like even their employees are not interested in their job. Tsk! Slimming centres are all con jobs! For those people desperate and naive enough to fork out thousands of dollars (or even $1000) to do this… I’m so sorry, why don’t you just join me on the treadmill at the gym?


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Couponing: Scalp Analysis + Wash & Blow + L’Oreal Hair Spa + Cut at Charme Hair Studio

Date: 23 July 2011

Deal: $38 for Scalp Analysis + Wash & Blow + L’Oreal Hair Spa Treatment + Cut at Charme Hair Studio (Worth $156)

How it went:

It was really crowded from the moment I stepped in. The salon was small and a little cramped. Part of the decor was chic and it seemed like it could’ve worked but it was so small and cramped and messy at some parts. My face was literally 3 inches away from a row of hanging aprons when I was getting my hair washed. Cleanliness of certain areas leave much to be desired. Even if it was a busy day, I’m sure dust wouldn’t accumulate so crazily in corners (see picture below) so quickly. Also, they put their hair dryers on the floor and pick them off the ground when they want to blow dry your hair. It’s a bit dangerous that way, no? With that said, I’m undecided about whether I like this place or not.

The thing to hold hair dryers

The thing to hold hair dryers

My scalp analysis was a disappointment. Groupon said “Detailed scalp consultation and hair spa treatment”. I barely got a few words out. Mainly, “how often do you do hair treatments” (almost never), “you have very fine hair” (yes I know). And I went to get my hair washed. Then there was a machine that looked like a giant steaming nappy on my head. Then another wash. Then a haircut (I didn’t really care as long as it was short). And that’s it. Byebye! No come back again, no would you like to buy this, no… nothing. I must say I really liked that actually. I didn’t want too much hardselling or small talk either.

Egg-shaped machine with a steaming nappy for my hair spa

Egg-shaped machine with a steaming nappy for my hair spa

There were a lot of men who obviously were either regular customers or just really good friends hanging out. Amongst them, fashionable, chic gay men. Actually no, all types of gay men. Your gym bunnies, your small effeminate ones, your metrosexuals, sporty gay men… I don’t know. All sorts of men. All friendly and laughing. This is the perfect place for happy men of all types. Especially if you speak Cantonese or Mandarin! (I felt old, spinsterly and dowdy in comparison. Made me feel like I also want to be part of the gang, you know?)

CHARME at Far East Plaza

CHARME at Far East Plaza

Was it worth $156? No… I don’t think so. Even with the location and the perception that the hair spa treatment was expensive, I’d say… maybe $100 for the entire experience. I like my haircut though. It was worth $38 in itself. And all in, very fast! Just over an hour! I like that.


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Couponing: Cell Enzyme Face Treatment + De-stress Body Massage at Maple World Beauty

Date: 21 July 2011

Deal: $39 Instead of $446, 91% off Cell Enzyme Face Treatment (75 min) + De-Stress Body Massage (45 min) by Maple World Beauty. Available at 2 Locations

How it went:

While the branch I went to was located in central Singapore at Orchard Road, it was not exactly the nice part of Orchard Road. You had to walk past dodgy Orchard Towers, for one. And also the walk from Orchard MRT station made me break out into a little sweat. I guess for a beauty salon that started in Ang Mo Kio, to be able to open a branch downtown is sign that they were actually doing pretty well.

Orchard Hotel

Orchard Hotel

I had no problems with the therapists and the treatments. They were 2 small-sized women who didn’t speak very good English but they had brute strength. I didn’t need them to talk to me anyway. My face actually looked a lot brighter and my pores much smaller after my facial. This wasn’t one of those “See! It looks so much nicer!” and me squinting to see the difference. The entire process took about 2 hours so it was well worth my trek and well worth the money!

Maple World Beauty - treatment room

Maple World Beauty – treatment room

Unfortunately I didn’t like the room they put me in. Mainly it was tiny and freezing. It looked like they had about 6 other different rooms inside another area but I was put outside right next to the reception. So it was a little noisy and there was a group of women who laughed and talked at the top of their voices in Malay whilst I was inside. Relaxing, it was not. Perhaps it’d have been better if you had the treatments inside in privacy instead. Every time the therapist opened the door, anyone seated at the reception can see me lying on the treatment bed.

Was it worth $446? No! But I’d pay up to $70 for this combination of treatments. They also recommended some packages which I’d have taken up if a) I didn’t already sign up with Fresver b) I had tried the treatments inside instead c) I didn’t mind trekking down Orchard Road to get to the MRT station in messy crazy hair (which always happens after facial). They had a promotional offer which cost about $48 per treatment (you had to buy 10 at $480) and I thought that was really decent. If you had the chance, you should get it!


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Couponing: Facial + Foot Care Treatment at Y. S. Beauty Salon

Date: 16 July 2011

Deal: $26 for a Facial + Foot Care Treatment at Y. S. Beauty Salon worth $269

How it went:

This was one of the first coupons I bought and I didn’t check where this beauty salon was located. It took me ages to get from Kovan to Clementi and you still had to cross the road and walk a few blocks as it wasn’t located at Clementi Central itself. This is very honestly a neighbourhood beauty salon and save for 1 person, the other people in it didn’t speak much English. I am assuming they do not only serve the neighbourhood but also ONLY Chinese-speaking customers.

My therapist was a woman called Jess (why do people with English names not speak English?) who tried her earnest best to explain the treatment to me in English. I understood her enough and I didn’t really want to talk when I was trying to relax. The scary machine strikes again and I literally begged her to stop. She was puzzled because it was an expensive treatment. The mist-spraying machine came out and I didn’t like that either, but out of courtesy, I braced myself for it. This woman has strength. Her massages were forceful (not firm, but with force). (Surprisingly, I didn’t bruise this time.) So other than the face and upper body massage, the “foot care treatment” was actually a soak, scrub and leg massage (not unlike your run-of-the-mill foot reflexology or pre-pedicure routine). The room was merely partitioned panels and I could hear people laughing and talking at the top of their voices while I had the mask on and was told to relax. Not exactly spa-like but I guess it’s typical of your suburban neighbourhood outlets.

Another thing not in their favour is trying to charge me TWICE. I handed over my printed voucher before the treatment and after the treatment, they asked me how I was going to pay the $26. I asked them why I needed to pay for anything and it turns out they have been charging OTHER CUSTOMERS $26 despite their having a voucher. I explained that the fact that the voucher was in my hand proved that I had made payment via VoucherWow. I was told that “some customers” haven’t paid for it and that they weren’t sure how this voucher thing worked. ALARM BELLS! Poor aunties who got double-charged.

Was it worth $269? Uhm no. Maybe not even $69 because it was located in a far-out HDB flat downstairs shop. At the same time, while I think their prices are too outrageous, it might be because they are misguided into thinking that it is the “standard” price. I’d pay $200 for a facial if it was located in a convenient place, has a relaxing environment and if it came with all the frills. Sometimes, it’s not just the treatments. You pay for the perception of quality too.


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Couponing: Oxy Miracle Peel + Neck Infusion at Skin Inc

Date: 14 July 2011

Deal: $38 for an Oxy Miracle Peel Treatment + Neck Infusion Treatment at Award Winning Brand, Skin Inc Worth $226

How it went:

Scary! That’s how. I’ll never do another facial with machines ever again! I’ve done Diamond Peel a couple of times and I was scared stiff each time. This Oxy Miracle Peel requires a jet spray of Oxygen (or so they say) all over my face and my neck. It was uncomfortable, ticklish, loud and scary! I was so nervous and I couldn’t relax at all. It made me so tensed up, the therapist had to calm me down a few times.

Other than that, as usual, I fell asleep. I like face massages and I like being in a spa environment. And I’m generally a sleepy pig anyhoos (even though I could hear children shouting outside when we were in the treatment room). This wasn’t a spa but 2 treatment rooms in a shop that sold skincare products. NEX mall at Serangoon is indeed crowded all the time, even on weekday afternoons! I’ve walked past this shop a few times but I didn’t realise they did beauty treatments there because the shop front was full of bottles of serum.

My therapist/consultant Shannie was shocked to see how terrified I was but tried to remain professional. Despite knowing that I might not go back again, she was patient and explained the various treatments and products available. So Skin Inc, huh? They seem to have won many awards. $128 for a bottle of serum that apparently works wonders and can be customised to all your needs. I don’t have a skincare routine and I’m a basic cleanse-wash-sunblock woman, so I listened to her explain. I’m curious and I might go back. Just need to spend a little more time researching about the encapsulated seaweed or whatever product she was talking about. The serums did feel like they were absorbed really quickly and were non-greasy. I am interested in UV protect at least. But prices, prices, prices. A major deterrent there!

So was it worth $226? I’m not sure. There’s an Oxygen jet spraying machine and some “expensive” serums involved. But I was too frightened to enjoy the treatment. Maybe some other women would. I don’t like these hole-in-the-wall facial places. Give me a full-service spa anytime, please!


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Couponing: Facial Treatment by Adeva Spa at Paragon

Date: 10 July 2011

Deal: 77% Deal for One Award-Winning Facial Treatment by Adeva Spa at Paragon only $50 instead of $214

How it went:

It was luxurious and worth every single penny (AND MORE!). I had a great time and I fell into such a deep sleep! I went with 3 of my SPArty girls (Big Nat, Small Nat and Linda) and we all loved it!

The SPArty girls

The SPArty girls

The spa was located in a very central place. Decor was so elegant! The interiors were beautiful and spacious, with high ceilings. We took a tour after our facial and it was wow wow wow! The facilities were great and the environment was very appealing because even on a Sunday afternoon, it wasn’t crowded nor noisy. People respected each other’s spaces and it was all very comfortable.

My facial was awesome. I forgot to ask the therapist’s name though. She started the treatment by telling me she was going to “do destress” and before I knew it, she put her hands over my face, I took a deep breath and the lavender essential oils just knocked me out. Everything from the shoulder, face, head and arm massages, to the actual facial (cleansing, extraction, mask etc) was so well executed. She had smooth, strong hands that were masterful and firm. I fought the zzzzz monster from the get go and lost! I wanted to stay awake to see what she was doing to me but I know I started snoring because I woke myself up a few times. Heh.

Was it worth $214? Yes yes yes! No hard-selling, a real spa environment, luxurious designer seats, we had hot ginger tea, water and a detoxifying Hawthorn dessert. The 90-minute session was fantastic! I was almost tempted to buy the offered package but I don’t have money now. My friend Natalie bought it though and I’m envious! The package makes you a member. Members are allowed to use the facilities in the spa and there is free food, drinks and dessert too. I will try to wrangle some $$ the next time and make sure I get at least a small 10-session package. This will be one of those “for special occasions” treats, not my usual monthly maintenance spa sessions. I love this spa! I want to come back again!