Lia Schorr: Sometimes a Bargain is…Really a Bargain
I’m addicted to daily specials on Groupon, Living Social, Spa Sally and others. So I bought a great mani-pedi deal on Spa Sally: two of each for just $22 at the Lia Schorr day spa in midtown Manhattan. These turned out to be really good buys, as the expert pedicures lasted for weeks.
So – when I saw a really tempting Groupon offer of a body scrub, hot stone massage and a pedicure for just $39, I grabbed it. For such a tiny price, I would have been satisfied with a treatment that was pretty good, but the scrub and massage Yolanda gave me were nothing short of superb. And the pedicure — well, my toes are still sporting the shiny silver polish I chose weeks ago.
Despite the above-average treatments offered at excellent prices (even when not on daily specials), the day spa consistently gets lousy reviews on Yelp. (I’m a little suspicious of those because I posted a positive review after my visit to the spa — and it has somehow disappeared from the site.) I think this is because Lia herself is brusque and no-nonsense and because the spa could use a little upgrading.
Because I write about spas, I’ve had hundreds of treatments over the years, so to me, the wrapping is less important the content. Give me solid value and I don’t need fancy trappings. (One of the best facials I ever had was in a tiny place above a Korean grocer.)
I couldn’t help but contrast the experience I had at Lia Schorr with one, the same week, at Skin Spa, also in midtown spa (one location of seven). I had bought a $49 one-hour (supposedly) facial through Lifebooker. The young woman who gave the facial was pleasant and we had a very nice conversation, but she did nothing more than apply products and remove them. After she applied a mask, she left the room for about 15 minutes, which is never done at good spas. Instead, experienced estheticians (and I had to wonder if mine had little or no experience) at good spas will massage hands or feet or scalp will a mask does its work. In short, when this $49 “bargain” facial was over, I felt cheated: I could have done the same treatment I received in my own home, with my own products. Yet this spa, which is brighter and fresher and where the staff is polite and engaging consistently gets top marks on sites like Yelp. Go figure.
Bottom line: A bargain has to deliver solid value, not the illusion of it.