Review: Spa Gregorie's
This review covers Spa Gregorie’s Day Spa in Newport Beach (“NB”) and Rancho Santa Margarita (“RSM”). We haven’t had a chance to visit their location in Del Mar yet, but we probably should at some point soon, since that might raise Spa Gregorie’s overall review score. Update: It seems as of 9/30/2014 the Spa Gregorie’s in Del Mar is now under different ownership and a different name, but has the same management and staff.
Spa Gregorie’s has a nice selection of treatments and services, their therapists are decent to very good, but the facilities and the front-of-house service really takes away from the overall level of quality of the spa.
Facilities & Amenities
Spa Gregorie’s is a small day spa in Southern California. Both locations we visited have quite a small footprint, and have less amenities than other day spas in the area. There is a small steam room, but there are no hot tubs or dry saunas. The wet rooms do not have Vichy showers. The locker rooms are tiny — in RSM there are maybe 25 half-size lockers crammed into an area the size of a closet. There are no separate quiet rooms for men and women, which to us, is a big deal for several reasons.
First, their quiet rooms are not actual rooms with doors — they sit in the middle of a high-traffic area of the spa and serve as the waiting lounge for everyone. There are no signs that designate it as a quiet room, no indication that you’re actually supposed to be quiet (some people need explicit instructions apparently) so guess what — people talk in this “quiet” space meant for meditation. Even the therapists are chatty in there.
The second reason we have a problem with Spa Gregorie’s quiet rooms is that they are coed. It would not be a problem if there were separate men’s and women’s waiting areas in addition to this coed lounge, but there are none. I have no choice but to use this lounge and I don’t like when my choices are limited to the point where I have none. So, if everybody was well-mannered in this coed room, it wouldn’t be a big deal right? Unfortunately, some people aren’t so well-mannered in the spa, especially in entitled upper-middle class and wealthy areas of Southern California. I have been ogled and leered at by creepy men, while we’re all sitting there naked under our robes. I’ve seen couples use this quiet room to snuggle and behave inappropriately with one another. I guess they figure that it’s so dark that no one will see what they’re doing.
Which brings me to the other issue we have with Spa Gregorie’s: the lighting. It is very dim inside and combined with the size of the space, it can feel like you’re in a dark cave. Both the Newport Beach and RSM locations are dark and maze-like. It’s hard to tell where you are going once you are inside, especially after a massage. The therapists don’t lead you back to any particular area after a treatment, like they do at Burke Williams, so you can wander around, dazed and confused after a massage, ending up in the retail section by accident when you actually meant to go back to the locker room.
The RSM Spa Gregorie’s is in a brand new location so all the decor is fresh and contemporary. It has a modern, luxurious design. The lounge is the most spacious area of the spa, but it is still very very dark, despite the star-like ceiling lights. Maybe it is that dark in order to make those star lights twinkle more brightly? They do provide reading lamps, which are very bright, in stark contrast to the surroundings.
Perhaps the lights are turned down so low in NB so you can’t see the decor. Everything is a little older, dated and somewhat worn-out. It too is dark except for the nail salon and the tiny “dining” room which looks like it was put together quickly with leftovers from a yard sale. One TripAdvisor reviewer aptly described that this room “looked like I was at Grandma’s house. The room had chatchke stuff everywhere and a CHEESY fake waterfall.”
The nail salon in NB is also tiny and cramped. There are only two traditional pedicure chairs and one manicure station. While it is brighter because of the windows that look out onto a courtyard, it seems like no thought whatsoever was put into the decor. The nail salon looks like it was an afterthought. A ratty old lace curtain hides a shelf containing supplies and products, right next to one of the pedicure chairs. It’s a shame really, because the nail technicians here are very good at what they do, and they are some of the nicest staff members in the spa.
The nail salon in RSM is completely different to the one in NB. It is newer and larger, and they put some thought into the interior design. While it’s not perfect (they need a better storage and organization system in there) it’s miles ahead of Newport. They also have the special “bedicure” spa beds, for the very unique pedicures that only RSM provides.
I had a 60-minute Swedish Massage and massage that was incorporated into the Hydraquench Body Treatment. There was nothing special or outstanding about either. The Swedish massage was pretty standard. The therapist was very good at listening to my concerns and did focus on the trouble areas I mentioned. However, at some points, she did get a little distracted when she was chatting and I felt like she did not have intention behind her touch. I did like that the massage was a full 60-minutes. Massages at other day spas are only 50 minutes, and those extra 10 minutes can make a difference if the therapist is good.
Spa Gregorie’s does offer some other types of massage that make them different among their competition. For instance, they offer oncology massage which is massage therapy completely tailored to the needs of cancer patients and survivors. Therapists receive special training for this service, and Spa Gregorie’s claims they have the highest number of oncology-trained therapists in the USA.
When it comes to treatments, Spa Gregorie’s has a quite a buffet assortment. They have a treatment for every part of the body it seems, and then some. You can get beautified from head-to-toe with the standard facials, body polishes, manicures and pedicures and then go even further with eyelash extensions, sunless tanning, hair removal, Reiki and acupuncture and a few other treatments that sound a bit dubious like “Aromapuncture”, “Yogassage” and “The Ultimate Shrink Wrap.”
One dubious-sounding treatment that I received was the “Bedicure” in RSM. I watched their video on it before I went, so I would know what I was in for. The Bedicure treatment is a pedicure in a chaise that rocks gently. The nail technician at RSM thoughtfully and artfully developed this service after the spa bought one of these chairs and said “go!” Most of the rocking takes place during the massage portion of the pedicure, and the rocking is timed with massage strokes. I often have a problem with motion sickness, so I was concerned that this might happen during the service, but surprisingly it didn’t. The technician told me that some of her clients are very sensitive and can’t do the Bedicure for that reason. So if you are prone to motion sickness or vertigo-like dizzy spells you may want to consider very carefully whether or not you want to get this treatment.
I definitely liked the Bedicure. Laying down in a rocking chaise while you get your feet done is a great experience, very relaxing. I also got a manicure in RSM after the Bedicure. Both turned out beautifully and I would get them again.
I have also gone to NB a few times for nail treatments. While the nail room in NB isn’t as nice as RSM, the technicians are great and their work is beautiful. In fact, probably the only reason I would go back to Spa Gregorie’s in NB would be to get my nails done and I couldn’t get in anywhere else for an appointment.
A body treatment I splurged on at the RSM location was the Hydraquench Body Treatment. For $150 you get a full-body exfoliation, followed by a hydrating body mask, face and scalp massage and finally a body moisturizing lotion. I liked the head and neck massage during the body mask part, I also really liked the warm cocoon of the body mask. What I didn’t like was having to get up off the table mid-treatment to get into the shower to rinse off the mask product. You have to do this at Spa Gregorie’s because they don’t have Vichy showers or a true wet room. When a spa does not have these amenities, I always feel like the Zen during wet treatments gets interrupted. The treatment did leave my skin polished and glowing, so in that sense the treatment worked well.
When we talk about service in this section, we’re talking about spa service from everyone that is not a therapist or technician. Just want to make that clear.
Going to Spa Gregorie’s Newport Beach location actually stresses me out. Why? Their customer service is severely lacking and the energy coming from the front desk staff is negative or disingenuous. Why should people who work at a place of serenity and healing have to fake politeness with a smile through gritted teeth? When I first started going to Spa Gregorie’s in Newport 7 or 8 years ago, I found that the front desk people had attitude, bordering on being downright rude. Definitely not how spa representatives should be behaving. Not much has changed in 2014. If they are not rude, they are polite but clueless and claim powerlessness when things go wrong (“It’s not our fault”). But more often than not, they aren’t friendly, barely polite and are still clueless.
On one occasion I thought I would order lunch after a treatment in NB. After all, they do offer it as a service on their website. For an extra $17 you can get a salad or a sandwich (and that’s it) served to you in their “bistro”, which is essentially a cramped little dining room, decorated like grandma’s house.
I made sure to ask for it when I booked over the phone, and then again when I arrived for my treatment. I ordered my lunch upon checking in and the staff member at the front desk assured me the order would be fired up at the end of my treatment and waiting for me in the dining room shortly after.
The story from here is just long and very frustrating so I will sum it up: I never got my lunch and trying to get it was a total disaster. Nobody knew what was going on, where it was, when it was ordered. They kept telling me they’d be back in a minute to let me know what was going on, but of course, that never happened and 45 minutes later I cancelled my order and left. The Millennial at the front desk blamed the kitchen (they “forgot” my order), offered an insincere apology and didn’t do anything else to make it right.
Needless to say that experience left me with a very sour taste for this spa, and there really is no reason for me to go back there since every other spa at this price point in the area does everything better.
At the much nicer RSM location, the folks on the phone and at the front desk are friendly and polite. They’re still not up to the level of Burke Williams or a high-end luxury spa like the Montage, but at least they aren’t rude or completely clueless like in Newport.
Overall, the therapists and technicians at Spa Gregorie’s are decent, but certainly not the best in Orange County. They are more friendly and polite than the front of house staff, at least.
In our experience, Spa Gregorie’s just isn’t worth the prices they’re charging and in some cases it’s a downright joke. You are simply paying for the zip code. Perhaps the specialized oncology massages are worth it, but we can’t attest to that. The NB location is an example of how a spa should NOT be run, and while the RSM location is an improvement, it is just not the best day spa to go to in OC.
- Steam Room
- Meditation Stations in Lounge
$$$$ – Pricey
Currently there are 2 Spa Gregorie’s locations:
Spa Gregorie’s Day Spa Newport Beach
200 Newport Center Dr., Ste. 100
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(Near Fashion Island)
Spa Gregorie’s Day Spa & Salon Rancho Santa Margarita
30212 Tomas, Ste. 150
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
HOURS OF OPERATION
Tuesday-Sunday 9am – 9pm
Monday 11am – 9pm
HOW TO BOOK AN APPOINTMENT
For the Newport Beach location, call (949) 644-6672 or request an appointment online or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the Rancho Santa Margarita location, call (949) 858-9455 or book online.