An Exercise In Trivial Pursuits

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


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The Amenity at Upper Aljunied Road

I just visited my neighbourhood spa. It’s been in operation for about a year now and I’ve never stepped in till today.

Prices are very reasonable. I like the environment. Very quiet but a slow stream of customers kept coming in. It’s great because it’s not crowded but it can remain a viable business. Operation hours are 11am to 11pm so I imagine that if I really need to, I can just cross the road and get a full body massage after work.

There are 4 body massage rooms, 6 huge foot reflexology armchairs (which can tilt backwards), 3 foot soak stations and a mani-pedi section.

I went for a 40-min foot reflexology (yes I just went for one yesterday but I really think I need it). It was good! I was brought to a foot bath area for a soak with bath salts before the treatment. I was also given 2 hot towels (one before & one after), hot tea and some butter cookies (yum)!

I appreciate the location’s convenience and the environment so after the treatment, I bought $100 worth of credits (additional $25 free) with no expiry date.

The Amenity Traditional Massage. 381 Upper Aljunied Road. Singapore 367866. Tel: 62816381

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Couponing: Facial + Lymphatic Face Massage + Shoulder Relax Massage + Eyebrow Trimming at Xin Beauty

Date: 26 August 2011

Deal: 88% OFF on 75mins Facial (3 Choices) + Lymphatic Face Massage + Shoulder Relax Massage + Eyebrow Trimming @$25 ONLY

How it went:

Midpoint Orchard is a really strange building that’s out of place in fancy Orchard Road, especially with the addition of Ion Orchard, 313@Somerset and Orchard Central. It’s a building that’s stuck in the late 70s with minor renovations done probably in the early 90s. There are so many small beauty salons and electronic shops, I really wonder who patronises them. Xin Beauty is one of those neighbourhood shops that basically transported its entire operation there – no upscaling for town, and the size of my living room!

Whilst the location was good, everything was so basic that I’d rather not get a facial in town. My hair was sticking up after the facial and there was no space, nothing to help me get out into public without looking like a doofus. I just needed a hair brush and a hair dryer to sort the mane out. I went to one of the small hair salons and they tried charging me $12 to do just that. I’m not even asking for a wash. Just blow and brush. ARGH! Luckily they had those old fashion hand dryers in the toilets and I bent down, put my head under the hot air stream and brushed my hair out with my fingers. Sometimes old fashioned is good. Forget those fancy air-stream hand dryers where you dip your hands in.

Practical sized room. Just enough for the bed & a tray of products.

Practical sized room. Just enough for the bed & a tray of products.

Ok so anyway, this is a $25 facial in the heart of town but in a dingy building, where the entire shop (reception, pantry, and treatment rooms) was enclosed in a space the size of my living room (I’m not even joking). The deal was that I could choose from 3 facials – Option 1: Skin Perfector Anti-pigmentation Treatment; Option 2: Anti-blemish Skin Renewal Treatment; Option 3: Oxy-Pure Rejuvenating Treatment. I had no idea which treatment I received and it certainly didn’t match any of those fancy-titled options. It was largely one of those old fashioned “Mode Circle” (anybody remember those?) facials that I had in the early 90s. As a pimply teenager, I’d have been okay with it, thinking that facials were all like that. Painful, uncomfortable and awkward. But I’m not. It didn’t feel like it was worth my time. I didn’t feel any better after the treatment. Firstly, the technique was so-so. I wouldn’t say it was bad but I’ve had a lot better, many more times. Secondly, the products used were very generic and hardly anything special. Thirdly, I could hear the girls outside gossiping at the top of their voices because the entire space was open on the top and it is really small.

Generic products

Generic products

So was it worth $288? Nope! Of course not! But to be honest for $25, I suppose it’s justified. Also I might go back again (if I have a ride straight home) because the beautician working on me thought I was still in school. She thought I was a 22 year old with really dry skin. She tsk-tsked me when I said I barely used home care products other than the basic facial wash, make-up remover, exfoliator and sunblock. When she asked me to guess how old she was and it turned out she was only 5 years older than I was heehee… Cheap thrills, I know. But people should stop tsktsking me when I see so many people my age who actually look older!


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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).


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Couponing: French Formulated Tummy, Hip & Thigh Slimming Treatment + Home Care Kit + Professional Meal Plan Analysis at Dorra Slimming

Date: 9 August 2011

Deal: $10 for a French Fomulated Tummy, Hip & Thigh Slimming Treatment + Home Care Kit + Professional Meal Plan Analysis at Dorra Slimming (worth $300). Plus free $100 treatment voucher.

How it went:

It didn’t. I got conned. I went there and their supervisor Sharon Au spent about 45minutes telling how fat I am (luckily she wasn’t really rude but it was quite tiresome). After I said I couldn’t afford their treatments, she basically said I was lying and she didn’t believe I didn’t have $300. Also she could help me apply for credit cards since I didn’t have one. I told her it was a matter of principle. I don’t want to spend money I don’t have. Then I was sent off on my way. I was puzzled and re-read my voucher (thank you iPhone). I went back and asked about the treatment I was supposed to get and the home-care kit. Long story short, read this complaint email (filled with grammatical/spelling errors, anger does that to me) I sent to support@voucherwow.com (again thanks iPhone)

I paid $10 for a 90-min treatment plus consultation at Dorra. I went to Ngee Ann City outlet. The voucher says I’m entitled to a treatment and a take-home kit. Your copy oversold everything and I think you should be honest.$10 was too good to be true. I spent 45min talking to a consultant. No treatment but I was made to sign some things that were ambiguous. She spoke a mixture of mandarin and English so I don’t know what she was saying. My exact words where “so there is no treatment?” and she said when I’m ready to pay $300 she will do the treatment and give me the $100 voucher for discount. I refused to buy a package when I didn’t even get a trial. What the hell was I buying?I left after a long talk about how I had no money for their packages and went back again after re-reading the voucher. I asked about the take-home kit. It was a bottle about the size of a lighter in a patent purple pouch.

You can keep the $10. But please be honest. $10 was too good to be true and they probably made a buck off me today. But I spent money traveling to town for nothing.

Irate customer
Chloe

Sent from my iPhone

Screen capture of the VoucherWow copy. Liars!

Screen capture of the VoucherWow copy. Liars!

Big glossy room, built with the money they con from people.

Big glossy room, built with the money they con from people.

How this is valued even near S$300, I have no idea. It's the size of a lighter.

How this is valued even near S$300, I have no idea. It’s the size of a lighter.


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Couponing: RF Eye Treatment at Euro Sense

Date: 5 August 2011

Deal: $23 for a 60-min Lymphatic Detox or RF Eye Treatment at Euro Sense worth $150

How it went:

I chose the RF Eye Treatment at their Parkway Parade outlet and went there after work on a Friday. I was hopeful that this would be a great way to wind down my work week. But I was wrong. Firstly, I had a slight difficulty trying to find the outlet. Parkway Parade’s upper floors does that to you. It is actually located in the wing that was used to be known as the Medical Centre. Then when I arrived, the reception was really small and cramped. The customers were kinda seated outside the shop as their seat straddled the doorway – how… erm, HDB.

Euro Sense at Parkway Parade

Euro Sense at Parkway Parade

I was quickly ushered into the treatment areas at the back after they took my printed voucher. Again, it’s entirely Mandarin-speaking even though I answered them in English. There were at least 4 rooms behind but all small and rather cramped, connected by a narrow hallway. At least there were lockers for your belongings, so that was good. The room that I was in was narrow but functional. There was a treatment bed, a machine near the foot of the bed, a stool for the therapist, a mirror haphazardly hung on a wall hook (not even lying flat on the wall) and a mobile tray of generic creams and gels.

Before I could even change out of my clothes into the gown they gave me, my therapist barged in and opened the door. I was just adjusting myself anyway. This RF Eye Treatment was really just the eye treatment. There were no shoulder massages or face prep or anything. She did attempt to remove my eye make-up (but poorly done because I had black streaks after the treatment) and also cleansed my face before covering my eyes and slapping on layers of gels or creams or I don’t know. There was a machine involved and that was soothing but the bed that I was sleeping on… oh gosh! I don’t know why they lay hard plastic sheets with sharp edges on the bed. The towels they throw over these sheets hardly protected me from them. It was uncomfortable and difficult to relax.

Was it worth $150? Nope! Not at all. Firstly, the environment was subpar. Secondly, the service was at best lukewarm. Also, I was in and out of the place within the hour. This means the entire treatment was less than 60-min. Or did they mean 60-min for the facial instead? Needless to say, I didn’t even express any interest in anything they wanted to sell me. Not that she made any more attempts than asking me if I was interesting to sign on a package and why not. This wasn’t a place I’d consider coming back to. But for $23, I think I got my money’s worth. So thanks for the deal!


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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: 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.