It was quite a happy weekend with my mother in town for a visit, and I even got leave off work on Monday so that I was able to spend more mother-daughter bonding time with her. So the “long” weekend included going to the doctor, lunching, a little bit of shopping… And after a mini-reunion with my aunts on Sunday afternoon, I gave my mom and myself a spa treat at Ahavia Lounge Spa.
I chose Ahavia because it was already getting late and the spa was very near our house. So going there was very convenient. Also, it’s the neighborhood spa but I haven’t even tried it. So that day, it was the perfect time to do so.
Located in a quiet area of San Juan, Ahavia is in a house that was converted into a spa, lending a more relaxing spa ambiance, as opposed to spas located inside malls.
Inside the reception area, we were greeted by dim lights and a strong peppermint aroma–the kind that signals that we were in a spa. However, the relaxing atmosphere was ruined by quite a number of people in the reception waiting for their treatment. I asked one of the staff about the types of treatments but didn’t really get straight and comprehensive answers.
Eventually, I ended up choosing the Western Blend massage for my mom and the Anti-Stress Thermal Therapy for me. My mom was a spa newbie and so I wanted to give her something gentle, with a combination of oil for the back and point pressure massage for the arms and legs (at least that’s what the staff said!). On the other hand, my treatment is supposedly their bestselling massage.
I was immersed enough in my spa experience that I wasn’t able to take pictures of the treatment room. So I’ll just tell you the pros and cons of our spa experience in Ahavia. For the pros, the treatments in Ahavia are quite cheap. The “starter” treatments, like my mom’s, are only at P299 while mine was P499. In fact they even offer some massages only at P199 from Mondays to Thursdays when you get your treatment between 10 am and 5 pm. As for the treatment itself, mine was indeed relaxing and I thought the therapist was competent enough. They also have a shower room which was nice and clean.
However, I think Ahavia’s advantage in price is also one of its cons. Because the prices are cheaper compared to other spas, there were a lot of people waiting in line to get their massages. Also, there’s no sauna room, which I always look forward to in any trip to the spa. I also didn’t like the fact that the treatment areas were only separated by curtains, as opposed to getting separate treatment rooms like in The Spa. Because of the lack of real partition, I could hear the main door of the women’s area sliding back and forth, and voices drifting in and out while I was getting my massage—which at certain points, quite ruined the relaxation experience.
The reception staff were also not that helpful. In fact, one woman there who looked like she might be one of the owners or at least the manager, was ordering her staff about, with her voice irritated (and irritating) and very loud–in plain view and hearing of the clients waiting for their treatments. Quite frankly, it also ruined the supposedly calm and relaxing ambiance —how could the clients relax if the staff were very frantic about handling the clients? I don’t know if it was just because it was a Sunday late afternoon/ evening and the place was busier than usual but still, it was a mood killer 🙁 For me, you go to a spa not just to get a massage but to indulge in an ultra relaxing atmosphere, free from the little irritations of daily life. And somehow, from the reception area to the treatment rooms, I didn’t get that in Ahavia.
That said, if you’re looking to go to a spa with really good prices and you can spare a weekday instead of a weekend (and better if you could get a separate or couples treatment room), I would still recommend going to Ahavia. But if you have money to spare and want to give yourself or your loved ones a more luxurious treat (which I plan to do the next time my mom comes to visit), I’d still choose a place like The Spa over Ahavia. Sometimes the best value doesn’t mean lower prices 🙂
For reference, here are pictures of their brochure, with the various services and prices, and a map as well. Click on the pictures to enlarge.
Ahavia Lounge Spa
M. Marcos corner Allenby Streets, San Juan
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The Average Jane says
Their reception area really looks like that? Kala ko nung una brownout. Hehehe! But its very interesting though. =)
The Sunset Goddess says
Yes it does! The reception area was very dark and ambient. Too bad the reception staff weren’t too competent (and relaxing) though 🙁
A spa trip sounds amazing right now. What a great way to have some bonding time! I can’t believe how dark their reception area is but I guess it does set the “relaxation” mood.
Ina Guico says
Aww it’s a pity that you did not get the full Ahavia experience. Normally, their reception staff are warm as ever as ever and very helpful. Maybe you should try again, but best to call to schedule an appointment first. Sayang, their massages are really one of a kind as they have their own strokes and techniques and the value for money is very good. Maybe a 2nd visit is worth trying since you live near by.
The Sunset Goddess says
Thanks Ina. I did call ahead to schedule our appointment but the staff were still quite harassed when we got there. If I do decide to try Ahavia again, I’d do it on a weekday and get my own room. The main/common room was just divided by curtains and I could hear every creak of the main door and conversation of therapists over at other treatment areas within the common room.