I love Dubai but have to admit living here can get freakishly expensive. And since my salary isn’t increasing as rapidly as the cost of living, I’m guilty of being that person who ironically ‘splurges’ on coupon websites with the hope of purchasing a lucrative offer. So here’s a list of groupon/cobone vouchers I’ve purchased till date and the experience I’ve had with each of them. My opinions are based on a few parameters – Value for money *duh*, Location, cleanliness, hygiene and the staff.
Word to the wise – If a deal sounds too good to be true, like most things in life, IT MOST DEFINITELY IS!
1.Flora Al Barsha Hotel Spa – One-Hour Full-Body Massage for AED 129
Who doesn’t love a good, pocket-friendly massage? Especially in Dubai, where a good massage usually costs an upwards of AED 150. The folks at Flora Spa – Al Barsha offer a one hour body massage for AED 129. Choice of treatments include Swedish massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Balinese Massage, Indian Massage and Aromatherapy massage. Simple, no-frills, massage for your money’s worth.
Pros – Friendly and cordial staff. Centrally located for people living in the Tecom/Barsha area. I’ve done the Swedish and Deep tissue massage and both were pleasant experiences. Complimentary post-massage lemony drink completes the session.
Room for improvement – This isn’t a deal breaker (pun intended) but I like it when a masseuse takes me through a treatment I’m about to experience and asks about my problem areas. No such thing here. You’re given a menu card and asked to choose the massage you like. Feels a bit impersonal.
Repurchase – Hell yes ! (On my 4th coupon now..clearly I can’t get enough)
2. Sweet Lily Beauty Salon, Tecom – Manicure and pedicure with a 15-minute foot massage for AED 79
Too good to be true deal. Lesson learnt. Kinda hidden away in the building next to the ‘Posh Nails’ salon in Tecom and in hindsight I think this place should stay hidden away.Forever. Picture this – me an avid regular at ‘The Cure’ which at double the cost of AED 160 offers me an amazing mani/pedi experience whilst watching ‘Friends’ with cordless headphones. Not sure if the only reason I love ‘The Cure’ is because I get to watch my favourite show whilst getting my cuticles chopped off but the place sure does have special place in moi heart. I digress.
‘The Cure’ in Media City burns a sizable hole in my wallet every time I visit and hence my search for suitable alternatives.
Sweet Lily reminded me of salons back in the 90s. For starters they use plastic buckets to soak your feet. Yes, let me reiterate – PLASTIC.FRIGGIN.BUCKETS. It’s 2016, for crying out loud! I thought plastic buckets disappeared in the 90s along with butterfly clips. Sweet Lily and I went back in time.
Pros – Errmm..the mani/pedi were okayish but lesson learnt – no more frugal nail fixes in the future. Located 5 minutes from where I live in Tecom. Clean facility.
Cons – Lukewarm water in PLASTIC BUCKETS that no self-respecting salon should have in this day and age. Staff catering to me were Vietnamese and didn’t speak much English which kinda made it difficult for me to communicate the fact that they forgot about my 15 minute foot massage. Limited staff and most of them are sent out for home services so kinda difficult to get a last minute appointment. Application of nail polish was a bit poor since a lot of it touched the sides and were cleaned up after I insisted.
Repurchase – N.O! N.E.V.E.R! Till the day that I die and this I swear x
3. Mist Spa, Dubai Marina – Six one-hour foot reflexology sessions with 15-minute head, neck and shoulder massages for AED 294
First things first this place is a salon cum spa. Personally, I like when a business has just 1 specialty – either you’re good at massages or salon services. Jack of all trades……..’and all that jazz.
Secondly, the treatment is more ‘foot massage’ and hardly ‘reflexology’. Wish the deal had this printed in bold letters to ensure people aren’t misled. Anywhoo, 1.5 hour treatment includes a 2 min foot wash/scrub followed by 1 hour foot massage and 15 minutes head, neck and shoulder massages.
Pros – The foot massage took place on a lazy boy which was comfortable.
Room for improvement
– Staff can put in more effort in welcoming customers. Also, they need to stop talking to each other during a treatment.
– Inexperienced staff who clearly don’t know a real massage is done.
– For the head/neck and shoulder massages I had to sit on a leather foot stool with your back facing the masseuse so needless to say it wasn’t the most comfortable position.
– No appointment reminders. You only get a call when you’re running late
– Serene LOUD background music needs to be turned down.
– There needs to be a door separating the salon from the spa as my treatment was unpleasantly accompanied with the sound of blow dryers in the other room so it was noisy to say the least.
– Head massage is a hair pulling exercise (pun intended) – not sure where a head massage is defined as pulling a person’s hair from its roots but these guys have clearly mastered the art. Back massages – best avoided.
Repurchase – Nope. Nada. Never.
4. Seagull Wellness International, Al Barsha – Six sessions of laser hair removal on one medium area for AED 699
Hello laser. Bye-Bye unwanted hair. God bless the man who invented Laser. If I find him, I’d probably marry him. And god bless clinics that offer laser hair removal at affordable-ish rates. I guess my love for laser is almost palpable. Cuz like most women, I lurrve fuzz-free skin.
Pros – Given the excellent results I experienced with laser hair removal on my face at another place, I decided to visit Seagull a go for my legs. Since the session is for a medium area, the offer applied to half my legs. The first session was a bit painful but that’s normal given my terrible, terrible pain threshold. The area is marked out and the treatment done in parts. I was constantly asked about my comfort level which was nice.
The lady who did my treatment was very pleasant. Also, what I like about this place, they check on you after the treatment to see if you’re facing any side effects, send you email/calendar reminders and follow up with call reminders 2 days prior to your appointment. I did have one small burn incident on my lip but it went away a couple of days later.
If you’re trying laser for the first time, I’d suggest doing it in a small area like your underarms to test it and see if it works for you. Laser works best on darker hair so best to try it out in a discreet area before making a huge investment. If you have a hormonal issue or PCOS (like moi), you will need longer laser sessions that a regular person.
Cons – Cost effective when purchased via Groupon but steep otherwise.
Repurchase – Yes. I’ve been patronising them for the past 3 years. I know they’re a little pricey yet affordable compared to other clinics but I regard laser removal as a long-term investment.
Room for improvement:
Unfriendly staff at the reception. The thing is there are about 5 women at their reception and at times no one even bothers looking up and asking me about my appointment. A little towards customers would go a long way.
5. Specialist Medical Centre, Al Wasl Road – 1 session medium area for AED 150
Ok like a long term Dubai resident I was kinda discriminating towards this Specialist ver Seagull. How, you ask? For starters I was planning to get a laser session done on my face and wanted to go with my best odds so Al Wasl won over Al Barsha. Sad, I know! Promise to not do this again so help me god.
Pros – Clean, hygienic surroundings, Centrally located from where I live (Tecom) and about 10 minutes from Madinat Jumeira
Room for improvement – Unpleasant, poker-faced staff at the reception. Post 3 sessions which were AED 150 each, the fourth session came at AED 250 which I found a bit steep.
Repurchase – Nope
Alrighty, what did you think of my reviews? I plan to continually update this post with future purchases. Know of an online deal you loved or hated? Let me know in the comment section below.