The Vale

Jun
2012
03

posted by on Clarins, In Praise Of..., Jessica, Nails, Nails of the Day, Spa

6 comments

Last weekend was amazing. I know you will all agree with the sunshine we had but for me, it was extra special for a different reason. Why? Well I met my friend Rhian from Pretty Green Eyes for a spa weekend…and it wasn’t just any old spa but at the luxurious Vale Resort.

Rhian has long told me about this spa which is she is lucky to be living 5 minutes from.  It’s Wales’ largest spa, is set in over 650 acres of breathtaking Welsh countryside and is a stone’s throw from Cardiff.

We showed up bright and early on Saturday morning to take full advantage of the spa facilities, which I was personally yearning for from a hectic week at work and surviving on six hours of sleep from the night before.

The Vale Spa's reception

The Vale takes a holistic approach in creating a peaceful and calming ambiance and there certainly is real attention to detail with the lighting and décor.

Equipped with 19 treatment rooms, there are three zones where you can float away in – the Indian inspired tented slumber lounge, the therapeutic water zone with warm water beds and the scented, rebalancing chromotherapy area.  If you are unable to drift off then there are wonderful sofas to curl up on and read a book or a magazine in the relaxation room.

Choosing treatments is tough when they all sound divine but after much deliberation I settled for a Sensorial Candle Massage (£60 for 55 minutes) and a Jessica Grooming Manicure (£5 for 25 minutes).

My appointments weren’t till after lunch so I took the opportunity to spend the morning indulging in the steam room, the enormous Jacuzzi, going for a swim and the best thing, a snooze session in the chromotherapy room. Poor Rhian had wondered where I had disappeared to as I slid under the duvet for a nap, under the fancy mood lighting.

the chromotherapy room

I’m telling you every spa should have rooms to snooze in.  They are amazing especially after a treatment.  And yes, I had another nap, this time after my massage. I should add my treatment did not involve hot wax being poured on me.  Instead my legs, arms, hands, soles of my feet, shoulders and back were gently massaged while fragrant burning candles filled the room. Total bliss!

So after all this pampering, when did I  manage to leave the spa? Almost nine hours later and oh Lordy, I’d love to go back and do it all again. Beautiful surroundings, remarkable facilities and superb beauty therapists, escaping to the Vale was just the fix I needed. I suggest you give it a try if you get the chance.

To find out more about the Vale Resort and the facilities it offers, visit www.vale-hotel.com.  There are often packages and good deals available so check their site.

My room looked like this

My stay at the Vale Resort is not a sponsored post but paid for by myself. (All images above courtesy of The Vale.)

I had such a great time in Wales, I thought I’d share a few of my pictures from the weekend with one or two for your amusement…

the view from my room at The Vale

evening across the resort's golf course

My Jessica Nail manicure in Notorious

Castell Coch

A Letter To Asda

Jun
2012
02

posted by on Uncategorized

22 comments

Apologies for the break in normal programming but I’ve decided to use this platform to let you know about some really rather shoddy customer service I’ve experienced recently.

A year or so ago we decided to stop shopping in the supermarket and turn to online shopping instead, working on the basis that time is precious and also that we were spending too much money being tempted by things in the shop rather than just buying what we needed and sticking to the list.  We opted to use Asda as they came in at a good £30 a week cheaper than the rest.

I’m currently sitting at home, waiting for a food order that was due to be delivered 48 hours ago. Here’s what happened:

Wednesday 30th May. Placed food order, booked delivery slot for 6-8pm the following day. Paid for it, received confirmation email.

Thursday 31st May: No food. No phonecall. I phone customer services, who tell me that my order is showing as incomplete, meaning that I hadn’t checked out properly, and that I need to go back online and complete it. I thought it was odd as I had had the confirmation email but waited til the morning when I could log onto a PC and checked.

Friday 1st June: 8am. First call of the day. I explain that as far as I am concerned, my order is complete as I do have a confirmation email and that I can see it as complete in my order history. I am told that someone will call me back in 10 mins.

10am. No call back. I call again,where I am told that yes, the order was complete so they wil call the store that was meant to deliver the order, and call me back. Which they do! Hurrah! To tell me that the driver attempted to deliver my order in the allotted slot, but that we were out. Boo! I can quite categorically say that this is a load of tripe, as we were in from 5pm (order window was 6-8pm) and didn’t go to bed til gone 11pm. Plus we had no missed call. We would have heard the door.  I insist that this is a lie, and request action. I am told someone from the store will call me that morning to arrange a redelivery.

12.30pm. Nobody has called me. I call again, and am promised a call back immediately by the store.

4pm. Nothing. I call again. I am promised a call back from the store.

4.30pm. I receive a call from customer services not the store) to tell me that they are “too busy” to deliver my shopping that day. I request a refund, only to be told that they want to make the delivery, but that it can’t be that day (Friday, 24 hours after my original time slot that they missed). I ask when they might have time in their busy schedules to get around to  bring me my food, which is probably defrosting in a warehouse somewhere) and guess what I am told? That’s right, someone from the store will call me back!

5pm. Someone from the store calls. But not me, they call my husband,despite me leaving two numbers for them to call me on. They call a totally different number to the two  I have been leaving all day (work, and my mobile). He is told that the food will be delivered on Saturday, some time before 8pm. Great.

Saturday, 11am. I call again, to see if they can be more specific. Am told someone from the store will call me back. I state that I am not interested in this, and that I just want a refund.  I am offered a £5 free delivery voucher to be used during my next order. I am then told that they  will check with the store and call me back.

Saturday 12pm. I cancel my plans to meet my friend for lunch. Customer services then call to say I can expect my order between 6pm and 8pm today. I still don’t dare go out though, just in case. I also know that Asda have a track record of delivering fresh items with a use-by date of that day (I figure that’s just one of the hazards of online shopping) but I will be furious if  they try to palm off stuff that should have been used on Thursday, when my original order was meant to arrive. Not to mention the frozen prawns that have probably thawed out and so I’ll have to cook them immediately. Argh.

So, we shall see what happens this evening. What irks me is that I have already forgiven Asda for some shocking lapses in customer service. The time I was sent some mayonnaise that expired 7 months previously? (receiving £1.67 in compensation). The time they forgot to tell us that our driver had called in sick and so our food wasn’t coming? The time the driver dropped a box on our steps, shattering one of the paving slabs? The time they forgot to get all our bags out of the van so we had to get a refund on half of our shopping? And most memorably, the time that they turned up three hours late on our wedding anniversary, meaning that we had to cancel our plans to go out for dinner (no compensation). Oh and the fact that one of the men at the Customer Service call centre insisted on calling me “Phyllis”, even though my name is Helen.

I’ve had enough. Asda might be cheaper than the rest, but their customer service is appalling. They were quick enough to respond on Twitter when I was having a moan on there yesterday, asking me to message them my contact details, which I duly did. And STILL nobody called me. So it’s ok to publically appear to be concerned but not to bother to follow it through? Shoddy.

Asda, it would appear that you are completely disinterested in customer satisfaction, nor the fact that I’ll be taking my £400+ per month to one of your competitors, who assure me they will be more than happy to have my business.

Have you had any negative experiences similar to mine? Let me know in the comments.

*edit* Good job I waited in. The delivery came at 4.30pm, an hour and a half early. Not that I’m really upset about that as I’m ravenous. Although I might be cross if I had gone out and missed it….. All the food was in date and the frozen was still frozen.