Monday, March 16, 2015

5 Silver Crowns from TheSpaReview for the Angsana Spa in Qatar

The Angsana Spa is AN Angsana spa - a chain of high-class Thai-inspired spas worldwide.  Naturally you can expect it to be extremely well-designed and professional and appealing.  It is.

Angsana Spa in the Wyndham Grand Regency Hotel in  Qatar is really a fine example of a 5 Silver Crown spa, as rated by TheSpaReview.  It has lovely quiet treatment rooms, talented and trained staff, a wide range of treatments, indoor sauna and outdoor pool, Thai-sourced body products to take home, scented air and soothing music, a total restful ambiance where guests can shut out the real world for a bit.

For the second time, I treated myself to the "Top to Toe" special - a really good way to ramp up my energy for the week ahead.  It began with a lemon-yogurt body scrub, continued on to a date-almond body conditioner, a full-body massage, and ended with a Deep Marine Purifying facial.  Actually, I chose those from a tantalizing menu of choices.  In the spa menu, this 4 hour treatment ends with a jacuzzi session, but the last time I did the full treatment, the hot water almost melted me, and it washed off all the soothing essential oils that had been worked into my skin, so I opted for an extra few minutes in the massage this time.  It is important to remember that spa guests can and should ask for small changes that make experiences more ideal.

I've visited this spa several times.  For the first time (and the last time, I hope), two unpleasant things happened.  First, two men in street clothes just walked and walked around in the treatment area.  It freaked me out. They just should not have been there, even though I was told they were "on inspection."  Then, I was put into a treatment room beside the spa service area and it was noisy for the whole 4 hours, despite the fact that I asked twice for consideration.  The first point here, then, is to make sure your treatment room is NOT in the service area of the spa.  And the second point is that guests should express themselves if there are problems of any kind that dampen their spa enthusiasm. Spa professionals always want their guests to be happy.

In my opinion, the VERY best way to spa is to be in an a hotel spa where I can find my way, in bathrobe and slippers with hair still awry and muscles like noodles, to my room. I firmly believe it is important to return slowly to the real world and to prolong the spa buzz as long as possible.  The second best option includes both a relaxation room for getting ready to face the world again, and valet parking so you don't have to remember where you parked.  The Angsana Spa can provide both options and that makes it pretty perfect.

Yes, Angsana Spa can be expensive for many budgets, but I think of wellness and happiness as a great investment.

I look forward to trying the amazing hydrotherapy room next - a series of showers and ice and steam rooms.

Monday, March 9, 2015

How does TheSpaReview rate spa quality?

"Quality" is a loaded word.  I know, because in my professional life, I am an expert on quality in learning systems:  quality standards, quality assurance, quality certification.... And unless one is very clear, the word "quality" can be misunderstood. 

Here at TheSpaReview, quality means "excellence from a consumer perspective."  We have developed consumer-based quality standards based on years of spa experiences - and it's the exceptional experiences that have become our expectations of all "real" spas.

"Spa" is another loaded word!  In an unregulated world, anyone can use the word.  So we can have great variety in spa size/status.....

  • large, luxury, full-service spa facilities - like Cleopatra Spa in Dubai
  • boutique spas with limited but high quality services - like Elements in Doha's Souq Waqif
  • specialized spas focusing on health like the Al Nadha Resort in Oman
  • heritage spas like Cemberlitas hamami in Istanbul
  • chain spas like Mandara found in luxury resorts worldwide, like Sunway in Kuala Lumpur
  • ladies-only spas like the Luthan Spa Hotel in Riyadh
  • and more!
But then there is "Maria's nail spa" on some backstreet in any city you want to name, or the "Thai massage spa" around the corner from the hotel in any city in the world.  I even take my Jeep to a "car spa."  Seriously....  I'm not necessarily saying Maria doesn't do great nail work or that the Thai massage won't be wonderful.  I'm saying those aren't real spas.   

The word "spa" needs to mean something.  To us, it implies beautiful facilities, luscious products and services, personalized wellness choices, exceptional memories. To achieve that, a spa needs to meet high quality in at least these 9 simple categories:  
  1. information for potential customers
  2. making a booking
  3. arrival 
  4. personnel
  5. facilities
  6. changing rooms
  7. additional services
  8. treatments
  9. policies and enforcement
These are explained in this survey we use when we are rating a particular spa for TheSpaReview.    TheSpaReview Spa Quality Rating.

It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it!  We rate the quality of spas so that you can simply enjoy. So that you feel like a Royalty.  

Before you book, check to see how many Crowns they have been awarded by TheSpaReview!

We're back!!!!   

At, we rate the quality of spas from a consumer perspective and we award 5 Silver Crowns - just like 5 Star hotels.

While the website is being reconceptualized, I'm using this blog to share spa wisdom:

  • what to expect from high quality spas - TheSpaReview Spa Quality Rating system of Silver Crowns
  • minimum requirements for high quality spa treatments - TheSpaReview Treatment Tiara system
  • tips and ideas for extending your wellness experience.
Right now, I live in the Middle East - travelling between Qatar and Oman, stopping off in Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah and Bahrain - so many of the spas we rate will be located here. 

That's OK because it is spa heaven!  So many spas, so little time!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Is "spa" a noun or a verb?

I confess. Lately I've been using the word spa as a verb. I go spa-ing. I get spa-ed. Or is it spaed? I guess we're creating a new spa language here. Yes, a spa is a facility that should provide a variety of "spa returns" - from a delicious, memorable, meaningful spa experience. But I catch myself asking friends if they want to go spaing. What about you?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Welcome to TheSpaReview provides a variety of services to people who like to spa.

First, we conduct independent, professional quality assessments against international consumer-based quality standards, and provide a rating from one to five silver crowns. Only spas that achieve a 4 or 5 crown rating are allowed to advertise on TheSpaReview website. You can be confident that these spas will provide royal treatment.

Second, we tell spa stories and provide our own pictures about spas we've visited. You can experience the spa vicariously so see if it appeals to you. We share spa lessons and provide spa advice and endorsements.

Third, we blog. On this blog you will learn the inside scoop - without incriminating particular spas, we'll share some of the things we wish we hadn't experienced or learned.