Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Toppers Center City - Amazing Services, Unpleasant Atmosphere

A few weeks ago I decided to celebrate my birthday with some spa services. Living in Center City made Toppers Spa/Salon right off Rittenhouse Square the obvious choice. I had heard many great reviews of Toppers from friends and family but had not been there in many years. I had actually scheduled a massage at the same facility earlier this year only to have it abruptly canceled an hour beforehand due to overbooking. But I decided to give the spa another chance since the cancellation occurred in the midst of the understandably busy holiday season. So, armed with aching muscles and chipped nails I scheduled a hot stone massage, manicure and pedicure.

I arrived at Toppers shortly before my 9:00 am appointment and found the staff rushing to report for work. A group of women was already waiting for haircuts in the salon area and one person was working the check-in desk. The atmosphere was generally rushed and disorganized. I waited behind someone else in line and once checked-in heard a faceless voice yell from the back office that I should take the elevator to the second floor. This was an apt precursor to the day. Below for your spa-going pleasure is the Cliffs Notes version of my experience at Toppers:
  • YAY - All the three of my services were dynamite! The staff members that provided the services were polite, professional, and pleasant. The hot stone massage was divine and my manicure and pedicure lasted almost a week with no chips and looked gorgeous!
  • NAY - The atmosphere was the exact opposite of relaxing. Despite the signs posted everywhere asking patrons to whisper the overall experience was loud with doors routinely slammed and phones ringing at a high pitch.
  • NAY - The biggest nay of the day was undoubtedly the spa supervisor who loudly berated employees just one room away from patrons. I could hear this person curtly tasking someone with refreshing all the ice in the the water pitchers among other requests. Rather than have fresh ice I'd prefer to know that the the spa staff was treated with respect.
  • OVERALL: I would go back to Toppers but would probably try one of the suburban locations. The Center City location is fast becoming too small for the amount of people that frequent it which has resulted in a rushed atmosphere and worn down interior. Normally neither of these issues would cause me to drive to the Jersey burbs for a massage but (as if you couldn't tell already) the treatment of the staff truly made my blood boil. I can only hope that what I experienced is not the norm for both the patrons and the professional spa staff at Toppers.
What do you think? Have you been to Toppers? Have you had a different experience? Is there another great Philly spa that I should try? Am I right, wrong, or should I just be happy to get a dang massage anyway it comes and get over it! Let me know!

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