An Exercise In Trivial Pursuits

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

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Couponing: Nobel Award Winning Facial + 30 min Massage + 30 min Neck and Eyes Treatment at Beaute Hub

Date: 25 August 2011

Deal: $15 for 60 min Nobel Award Winning Facial + 30 min Massage + 30 min Neck and Eyes Treatment at Beaute Hub (Worth $448)

How it went:

Let’s just say, this is an experience I’d rather forget. Even if there was another deal offer at $15, I wouldn’t take it and neither should anyone else, unless you’re desperately in need of a quick facial/massage. It was trouble from the start. I bought the voucher on 31 May 2011. I called up 2 days later (in June obviously) to book an appointment, but I was told to call back in August because they had no more slots. The voucher is valid from 1 June to 30 November 2011. I’m assuming this meant that they didn’t have the capacity to accommodate. Imagine if I were to buy a package, I’d only be able to have a facial every 2-3 months? So anyway, I did call back in August and I managed to get an appointment on a weekday afternoon (alarm bells, hello)…

Firstly, bad location (for me) because you had to walk a distance from the MRT station before you actually get there. Also when leaving, I had a bad time trying to hail a cab. Secondly, the place was a little dinghy and perhaps in my crazy imagination, what a whorehouse would look like inside (please see pictures). Thirdly, they made me leave my shoes outside!!! Along the sidewalk!! Mind you, it’s not within a building. This was a shophouse. Okay, I had to remove my shoes (this I understand for cleanliness) but can’t you put the shoe racks within your shop? Fourthly, I didn’t like the 2 consultants at the reception. One (Malaysian) was ambivalent but tried to get me to upgrade before I even went in ($99 for an ampoule of Jasmine whatever) and the other (PRC) was staring at my trolley bag filled with toiletries then told me not to drag it on its wheels on their floor. Yes, I probably looked like a hobo so I deserve that kind of stare. But… your floor is made of cheap chip-wood. There’s a hollow-echoing sound when you walk on it. And Miss PRC, are you wearing your skanky heels inside the shop if we can’t bring our shoes in? The same shoes I see you wear in and OUT of the shop to buy food from next door?

Beaute Hub - almost missed it because it was partially hidden

Beaute Hub – almost missed it because it was partially hidden

They had about 6 treatment rooms when it looked like they only had space for 4

They had about 6 treatment rooms when it looked like they only had space for 4

I waited for almost 15min in this corner space that was just wide enough for 1 armchair.

I waited for almost 15min in this corner space that was just wide enough for 1 armchair.

Can’t say I enjoyed the treatment either. I don’t know what kind of back massage requires me to lie on my back while you try to shimmy your arms down the grooves between my shoulder and the treatment bed instead of having me lie on my front. I don’t think it’s the therapist’s fault while I was wincing in pain several times – from the extraction to the scraping face massage (was it a rock she was using??) to the weird shoulder and upper body massage. I suppose that’s how they do it at Beaute Hub. If this was their award winning facial… I’d be afraid to try the other treatments. Oh! But I did like what she did on my eyes. She used a very hot/warm eye mask before brushing on the cold/icy face mask. The contrast was interesting and I think the eye mask did make me relax. I probably nodded off during a) the head massage bit b) the eye masking.

Super cramped room. You had to crab-walk sideways to move.

Super cramped room. You had to crab-walk sideways to move.

Saving grace - hair dryer, mirror & hair brushes!!!

Saving grace – hair dryer, mirror & hair brushes!!!

So was it worth $448? Not at all! I guess the $15 I paid would’ve gone to the cost of the hair-straightener (why do they even give out these things?) as well as the nice eye mask that was used on me. Other than that, if I’d known, I’d just say hello can I pay you $15 for the eye treatment and please don’t do the other stuff on me. One saving grace is the mirror and hairdryer! I must say that this cancels out having to put my shoes in the alleyway and risk losing them. My hair goes crazy after a facial because they put it up in a headband. The hairdryer and brush is important for public service (i.e. don’t want to scare people with my Mad Max head).


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: 100 min CLARINS slimming treatment & massage at Eden Spa

Date: 12 July 2011

Deal: 87% off 100 Minutes Clarins Slimming & Contouring Treatment + HerbalDetox Footbath + Lymphatic Drainage Head & Face Detox Massage @ Eden Spa at Purvis. Only $48 instead of $360

How it went:

Purvis Street is not far from where I work so I had a leisurely stroll to the boutique spa. It looked a lot smaller than it really is on the inside. Definitely more than meets the eye. Everyone was quiet and soft-spoken inside and I felt very relaxed. Maybe it’s because I had a long day at work. But really – great use of space. Nice decor. Nothing overtly ostentatious and it felt like a place I could return to. I liked that from the moment I entered the spa, aromatherapy calmed me down.

The rest area inside

The rest area inside

Ginger footbath

Ginger footbath

Linda took time to first introduce me to the CLARINS products used in the spa and then explained what the treatment I was going to receive. Afterwhich, I was taken inside to a room with 4 large leather armchairs to soak my feet in a hot tub of ginger detox solution. Whilst flipping magazines, I actually started to nod off. It was THAT relaxing! Dark, quiet and the hot water… mmmmm… After 20 minutes, I was brought upstairs where the treatment rooms are but I asked to use the bathroom before we start. Love what they did with the place! So spa! Stone tiles, soft lighting, rattan seats in a verandah, spacious showers and dressing areas.

The massage itself was interesting. It wasn’t the kind of relaxing aromatherapy massages I was used to. It was vigorous and hypnotic. Not exactly uncomfortable but a bit weird. It was ticklish at some points especially when she was working my upper thighs and my waist. But it was quite strange how even though she was using a lot of force, I nodded off and started snoring. This lymphatic draining massage technique is quite bizarre! Then after about 30 minutes or so, she wrapped me in clingwrap and told me to get back on the bed. It was of course a struggle because I was like a mummy! But I fell asleep soon after when she started the head and face massage. Oh… zzzzzz….

Was it worth $360? Probably not. Even when I read the list prices, I’m not sure how this worked. The entire session took about slightly more than an hour and it was a combination of a few things. But because Linda took time to explain to me about the products as well as offered me a very attractive package, I took a small 4 session one. I also like the environment a lot. I don’t know, this is kinda different than what I’ve done before. I need to read up more about this detox and lymphatic whatever. I’m not sure how it stimulates whatever to help you slim down or encourage weight loss.


Couponing: Massage & Facial by Fresver Beauty

Date: 27 June 2011

Deal: $28 instead of $233, 88% off 95-Minute Anti-Stress Back Massage + Spa Refreshing Facial + Relaxing Eye Treatment for Men & Women by Fresver Beauty. Walk Away with a Free Elastic Q10 Eye Mask (Worth $58)

How did it go:

Booking an appointment took a few tries. There was a centralised system where you called 1 number instead of the branch you wanted. My calls were ignored for 1 day, then I tried calling another 6-7 times before someone returned my call. My preferred time was 7pm on 27 June 2011, at the Hougang Bus Interchange branch because it is near where I currently live. It was changed a total of 3 times (not by me) before I ended up going for my treatment at 6.30pm. Strange location, not necessarily bad but I’ve never seen shops (save for little snack kiosks) at bus interchanges. Took me a while to locate it because I went there by MRT and I didn’t know it was literally in the bus interchange in front of some bus bays.

It was decent inside the salon but there was definite suburban shoppe vibes. The massage therapist was chatty and it wasn’t really relaxing but she had great technique. Once I found the will to ignore her questions about my tattoos and what I did for work, I managed to relax (only for a while because the massage was only 20mins long). The rooms were a little tiny and the walls were thin. I could hear people laughing and some banging on the partition walls. The facial was not bad but nothing to rave about. I fell asleep because I generally do fall asleep at facials.

I had facial at True Spa, Beyond Beauty and Amore Day Spa prior to this and I was used to that level of comfort, privacy, service and dare I say, luxury. I didn’t particularly think they were luxurious till I went to Fresver. Price-wise, Fresver tried to sell me packages that were in the price-range of what I’d have paid at Amore (without the frills or the convenience) but because I am genuinely shopping for something, I ended up buying 6 sessions at $188 (with GST, it came up to slightly over $200).

At less than $35 per session, I’d say that’s a little under what I’d pay for such services at a small operation like this. To be honest, I was prepared to pay up to $50 per session but I didn’t have $960 (which was the minimum 20 sessions x $48 package) upfront and I think she was desperate to make a sale. There came a point where she offered to pay part of the package for me, only to pay her back in installments. She literally asked me what I could afford and magically pulled out “promotions” from 3 years back just for me… dedication much?

Was the coupon really worth $233. Nope! They didn’t even give me that whatever elastic eyemask (not that I wanted it). I’d say it came up to slightly under $100 at most. They weren’t even using the Dr. Grandel products that she raved about being the sole distributor to. Just generic ones. Also, it’s a bus interchange shop, yo! It was quite small and they were a little bit messy inside (plastic pails along the corridor).

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Couponing: A new category!

I’m going to start posting about the coupon/vouchers I’ve been buying off groupon,,, Reebonz City and Voucherwow.  (I’m discovering new ones everyday!) I’m addicted to it and I don’t even know what it’s called! It’s like your high-tech couponing no? Instead of getting ink on your fingers as you cut them off the newspapers, you click a few times and go to PayPal.

Anyway, some coupons are more equal than others. My friends and I had experiences where the voucher describes the deal as a $188 facial for only $28, and to discover to our horror, a small hole-in-the-wall shop with 2 curtained rooms only.

Most of the coupons I’ve been buying are for spas and beauty treatments. I’m currently shopping for a new facial package because I’ve used almost all my credits. So these coupons come in handy when trying out services! In 2007, I appeared half-naked (under a blanket) in The Straits Times whilst having a massage. The article said I spent about $5000 on spas and beauty treatments but I realised shortly after that I was wrong. My credit card statements showed that I spent about $8, 000 that year. Heh… manicures, pedicures, massages, facials… I say they’re not luxury items but a necessity and a quick fix for busy women who can’t get away often for a holiday.

Onward to online couponing!!