June 14, 2007
Worth A Try For Every Spa Enthusiast
Stay: May 19 2007. My friend had stayed at Sundara in November 2006, LOVED it, and suggested the same package, the Girlfriend's Spa Package, for myself and her, as a getaway/relaxation treat. We stayed in the Amoda Suite for one night. This package offers each guest 2 spa services (we chose pedicures and massages) and we each received a dinner and breakfast vouchers valued for an ample amount for food, particularly if you bring your own wine.
Similar to other comments, we did experience a few sub-par elements to the stay. However, I found that those elements were outshined by so many other truly unique and pampering features of the resort.
The suite was absolutely beautiful and impeccably clean. The first floor of the loft is spacious, with a lush king featherbed, with spa robes and slippers for the stay. The whirpool - jacuzzi bath with the Kohler "Whitewater rafting" jets was incredible, as was the Kohler Tower shower.
There is an equally lovely upper loft bedroom and yet another bathroom with Kohler shower with mutiple jets (I believe called "the car wash"). Both showers are equipped with dispensers full of the spa's shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner-- so one need not bring these items in the future!
There is a small refrigerator, so if you are able to transport beverages, and / or cold snacks and bottled water, you can concentrate the use of your meal vouchers on actual food.
The suite overlooks the pool, and we enjoyed having cocktails on the screened in porch, and listening to the affinity pool waterfall when falling asleep and waking up.
The Purifying Bath Ritual is a real differentiation for this spa. In a rotunda shaped room, with the large spa tub in the center, you move through the ritual: exfoliation, sauna, a splurge in a cold refresh pool, and a descent into the large, hot tub with jacuzzi bubbles. It is relaxing, pampering, and great for your skin. The affinity pool and hot tub are also available for unlimited use (probably more difficult on busy weekends). In our opinion, the ability to use these amenities as frequently as you like truly drives up the value of what can look like a very pricey package. It is one of the elements that makes this a stay at Sundara such a good value.
The spa services we received the following morning, a 50 minute massage, and signature spa pedicures, were excellent. The spa staff were attentive and extremely good at what they do.
Between the suite and the purifying bath ritual, you can sample Sundara's spa products, all of which I find to be beautifully fragranced with that calming, subtle spa scent.
Here are the gaps we experienced: First -- Pool Cabana Service. The bartender was somewhat blase, and lacked rapport building skills, as well as drink knowledge--when I ordered a split of champagne, he gave me a bottle of Spumanti (which I returned for the right item). We asked him how long the resort had been open, and he replied that he had just started working there 2 weeks ago and did not know much about it. The pool Cabana bar is an area that we felt commands a freindly and interactive staff--especially when an 18% gratuity is added automatically to each order! It's a great opportunity for Sundara to advise their guests about the wealth of services avaialble.
Second: Dinner. The bellman who walked us through the suite advised us to order dinner 45 minutes prior to our desired meal time. We ordered about an hour prior. The woman who took the order quoted us a 45 minute wait. About 15 minutes after the order was placed, she called to advise that they were out of the spring roll appetizer, and curiously did not offer a substitute. We let it go. Dinner did not arrive until 1 hour, 10 minutes, after order time. The presentation and flavors were outstanding--but both meals had completely cooled off. I had order the shrimp, and my friend, the filet mignon. We called and requested that they retrieve the meal and heat it up. The woman answered that they had never been asked to do that before (?). She said she would check with the kitchen and call back. When we did not hear from her for 15 minutes, we called again and asked that some form of reparation be made. They sent up a bottle of wine, a nice gesture, however it would have been better to have been asked what would work -- either offer a re-prepare on the meal, or perhaps a discount on a service etc.; something more practical for the weekend.
Fortunately, breakfast was delightful. I had the towering stack of cornmeal pancakes, and my friend had an omelet. Each was perfect temperature, and beautifully plated. The french press coffee was outstanding.
I do agree with other post comments that service fundamentals are absolutely mandatory with a price point such as Sundara's.
It's an investment, and for those of us who choose to invest in a spa experience, there is a realistic level of expectation in terms of quality and service delivery. It's indigenous to the industry.
This time, for me though, so in need of a relaxing getaway from the corporate race, I was so impressed with the unique atmosphere, the suite, the experience, that I couldn't stay angry about the misses! Also, my friend's prior experience was impeccable, so between that and this stay, we will be returning mid summer. Should be interesting to see how that fares.
I did visit their website, and found that that one can up for e-mail notification on deals, as well check the website for online - only offers, many of which can be very economical, especially if you don't need a larger suite, given all the amenities that are included. The deals often require off-peak days of stay (Sun - Thurs), but if it is a work getaway like ours, why not take a day off and check out Sundara!