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Rocky Road

Friday, October 17, 2014

For a salon where you’re constantly battling good and bad service, the velvet spa at Runah Salon was a pleasant surprise, says Rhea Dhanbhoora

I’ve struggled with my views about Runah Salon for years — it sometimes surprises me with impeccable service and at other times, I’ve had to put up with snooty receptionists and downright snarky therapists. But, in the spirit of second chances, I decided to take a chance with what sounded like a luxurious afternoon at the spa, revelling in a treatment that would last 1½ hours. The cheery response I when I arrived was a good first sign, so I got in
to wait my turn, while they prepared the room for the organic treatment that I was trying out.

Not so roomy
Once you walk past the plush manicure chairs and across the marbled tiles, you’ll find yourself unceremoniously shoved through a little back door, into what looks like a rundown waxing chamber belonging to old salons that we used to visit before spas and salons began to spruce themselves up for high flying customers. As I hitched myself up on the plain, white bed and surveyed my surroundings, I was glad that most of my treatment would be administered with the lights dimmed and my head facing the floor. With walls that were crying out for a paint job and a big plastic tube hanging over from the ceiling to let a little air into the room, everything was cramped, badly maintained and too shoddy to soothe or relax you. There’s also the same music playing inside the room as in the rest of the salon and while the old ’90s hits suited me just fine, most people would prefer silence or something more soothing while they’re getting their treatment. The musty smell doesn’t help matters, but it was quickly replaced by the sweet aroma of the products used for my treatment, which got my mind off the décor and ambiance.

There’s the treat!
Already a little disappointed, I settled in for a treatment that I was sure would under-awe me. The velvet spa treatment includes body exfoliation with a coffee scrub, followed by a lemon grass body serum and then a vanilla coco body wrap. The icing on the cake (or quite literally, on your body) is flavoured with rose and lavender.

My therapist was incredibly sweet, almost making up for the ghastly décor I had spent so long looking at. My muscles were loosened up for a while, and plastic sheets were laid over the bed as I prepared myself for the delicious smelling scrub. While it’s a pleasant experience, it’s administered in a little bit of a hurry — possibly because there’s just so much to do in so little time. I think there could have been a little more time spent on scrubbing and rubbing, so that my muscles felt a little more relaxed and my skin was a little more pampered. However, the treatment itself deserves no criticism. It does leave your skin feeling velvety smooth as promised and the heady organic smells linger for hours on end. If you’ve got a city tan or haven’t had a pedicure in a while, this is going to be even better for you, because it smooths over any imperfections — leaving your skin brighter, lighter and more evenly toned, which is something that I appreciated. It’s also a great way to get rid of weather worn, dead skin and the little bumps and lumps that the sultry sun seems to leave on my skin.
The short head and face massage that’s administered while you’re encased in the body wrap is indulgent — I only wish it had lasted longer. The pressure was perfect and I found myself sinking slowly into the pillows, truly relaxed.

Conclusively speaking
The décor in the spa rooms is horrendous — there’s no way I can sugar coat that. They probably face the same space constraints and maintenance issues that the rest of the city does, but because of the brilliant treatment that I was privy to, I’m inclined to forgive them. With a little sprucing up and a new lick of paint, even the tiny rooms can be made to look more presentable. As for the treatment, I may think twice about it because of its hefty price tag, but if money isn’t an issue for you, it’s definitely worth the indulgence.

Price Rs 4,000 for 1½ hours
Where Runah Salon, Opposite Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel
Contact 24941111/ 9833921960

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