Secret Shoppers Review of Portland Spa and Salon – The Good and Bad

7 05 2008


Being in the industry, we often stay updated on what goes on in daily spa and wellness practices by using secret shoppers to give us an inside view. It can be a priceless summation of what to do and NOT to when creating  a focused spa concept that needs to have long standing appeal. Every spa wants to get a rave review, and many do, but you will be surprised to see that every day clients look for a lot more than being your next appointment and they notice a lot. Take a look at one of our latest reviews of a local Portland spa. Be aware spa owners and therapists because you never know which client could be a ‘secret shopper’. Enjoy! Want your spa reviewed to see what really goes on? Contact us to set up an appointment. This review is told from the viewpoint of the shopper.

Excited at the prospect of walking into the Bliss Salon in Portland, Oregon and having my first pedicure along with a mini-facial, my expectations were high with a name like “Bliss”, and I could not wait to go relax and get away from the world.

However, this is evidence that a name really means nothing when it comes to the spa experience. Walking in to Bliss Salon, my first thoughts were eclectic cute hair salon. The lady working the front desk was very nice, courteous and her look was “artsy” and very “Portland Chic”, offering me water upon entrance & greeting me right away.

However, my next thought was disorganized and not the spa feeling of tranquility I was hoping to feel upon entrance. There was no streamlined appearance and I saw a make-up stand that allowed one to sample the product, but when I had a good look, there was no way I was sampling, since it did not appear to be as cleanly as I would like, but then maybe I was expecting too much? A q-tip appeared to be missing its tip, and the stand was disorganized, with a small open garbage can under the stand, on top of being right beside the door, which threw me off. The hair products and spa products were right in front of entrance, and I saw several lines of products that were organic in nature, which pleased me, and gave me hope that this experience would be better when I went to the back to have my mini-facial. However, the products did not appear organized and I felt that the spa could have done a better job at re-configuring that space, even though it was small.

My facial lady took me back to the massage “room”, and upon entering, I finally felt the tranquility I was seeking when entering Bliss. The room had warmth and candles with low lighting, and I felt like I had finally left the outside world. I was told to undress and get into the robe and lie on the massage table for my mini-facial, and to take deep cleansing relaxing breaths, of which I did gladly. She left me for a bit to relax, and upon re-entrance did not talk much, just asked me any problem areas on my face, of which I told her dryness in the T-Zone area, but neglected to tell her I was sensitive to chemicals. I was actually waiting for her to ask me additional questions on what skin care I used, etc, but she never did. Instead, she started the facial, and everything was going well, to the point of almost drifting off to sleep, until she put a heavy deep cleanser on my face. This instantly started burning my skin and when she took it off, I had spots starting all over my face from my sensitivity to the product. At this point, I just wanted to be done and go put ice cubes on my face, but alas, I was told to get dressed and follow her into the pedicure room.

I was a little disappointed that I had to re-dress and was surprised that they would relax you and then have you lose that feeling by re-dressing and going into a completely different area of the spa to have the pedicure. I felt it would be more streamlined to have a pedicure room next to the massage room, and keep the robe on to continue the relaxed effect, but then I could just be extremely picky and spoiled with my other spa experiences in the past. Upon dressing, I had to go through the noisy hair-dressing area, walking through people to get to the pedicure room, which thank goodness; she shut the door and had a warm bowl of water with rocks waiting for me. I submerged my feet, and forgot about being upset when my foot massage started. I guess I should have said something about my ticklish feet, but she was very good about telling me to flex my feet, as I kept laughing when they used the brush on the bottom of my feet. Did I tell you this was my first pedicure? The lady was extremely nice and gentle though, and made sure that I was comfortable. I was pleased with the overall pedicure experience, and my toes were a nice light rose color when she finished.

What I was surprised about though, is Bliss had nothing to ensure that your toes dried quickly, telling me it could take an additional hour for drying time. I had worn sandals, but because my shoes would mess up the “paint” job, the pedicure lady gave me spa flip-flops to wear out, which I thought was okay at the time, until I left and saw it was raining. I ended up slipping on the sidewalk, and landed (quite embarrassingly) on my knees, bruising them up, and messing up my pedicure, but continuing on as I just wanted to get home at that point. One word at this point—Liability!

My last point, and I will say that this is important, is there was no up-selling on products, and not one word mentioned of using their products, nothing asking me what my overall experience was, and the receptionist was missing upon my exit. The gentleman manning the front desk did not know how to use the computer even, and could not find me in the system, so I just ended up leaving.

My overall rating on this spa would be extremely mixed, and out of a 5 star, would give this one a 2, but if one likes the eclectic casual, then this is for you, but if one wants the overall spa “experience”, then I would suggest a more high-end spa and not Bliss. A hair salon, it was definitely that, but a spa? Not so much. .. Names can be deceiving.




3 responses

3 07 2008

Just a note – the Bliss salon located on Portland is not The Portland Spa – they do not have a hair salon!

3 07 2008

Thank you for your comments. This is an independent mystery shoppers review of the Bliss spa and salon in Portland. We do not want to confuse this with any other spa, or The Portland spa as such. This particular spa does have a salon.

15 10 2009

I think secret shoppers is a great idea of how your spa is really operating. I was a secret shopper in college. We ask for comments but you only get the extreme left or right. You made someone really mad and they commented or someone really happy and they go over board.

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