Spalon could be seen as discreet. Or it could be seen as impersonal. After two visits in which only one of four employees said much or even smiled, and no one called anyone else by name, I lean toward the latter.
Both times, I entered Spalon’s sunny lobby in plenty of time to fill out the usual medical forms and permissions—but there weren’t any. My only welcome was grunts and a nod toward the hallway. The first time, there waited a sixtyish, crewcut Siberian whose belly bulged out of his white T-shirt. In broken English, he gestured into a changing room, then instructed me to don a robe and follow him across the hall. Classical music played, but the sheet and thin blanket left me to shiver. When the man asked how long it had been since my last massage and I answered vaguely, he came back with “Jesus Christ! You need to come in here twice a month!” Given the lack of a medical form, I asked the man not to touch my neck, which suffered whiplash years ago. I had to ask four times. (He no longer works there.)
In my next visit, a pleasant young woman greeted me and asked about my wants and needs in coming in for a massage—a marked contrast from before. The massage table was slightly warmed, and the aromatherapy lotion didn’t seem as chilled. Under dimmed lights, her treatment ($85), like the man’s, was competent. I was happy that she didn’t surprise me with chiropractic-like snaps, as he had, and that she moved carefully around any sore points. (She too appears to be gone.)
The day spa is attractive but, both times, was not as calming and cozy as many competitors. It took several minutes of wandering the halls to find my way to the lobby, where two stone-faced women watched in silence as I paid. The second time, at least, one then smiled and said goodbye.
Owner Rita Gleizer is concerned about her spa’s image and apologized profusely when she heard the miseries of my first visit. A colleague who visited raved about her own experience. Perhaps if you get the right person and the right conditions, you do okay. Me, I’ll go elsewhere.