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MYSTERY SHOPPER


To overcome language and cultural barriers, animated signs on how to use the onsen are posted on walls and are also featured on the website


The onsen begins with an invigorating shower (below); the facilities (above) were impressive


the onsen by a series of pointing people with little explanation of what the facility included. Thankfully, animated signs on the wall (in Thai, Japanese and English) explained what I should (and should not) do during my onsen. It was amusing to watch the shy Thai patrons mixing with the unabashed Japanese bathers. They eventually stopped trying to cover up with the small 25x25cm modesty towels and succumbed to the heat from the baths which ranged from 37˚C to 42˚C. After a vigorous shower, I enjoyed the invigorating soda bath followed by other hot tubs, ice baths, whirlpools and a steamroom and sauna. I particularly loved the traditional teak tubs that were infused with fragrant herbs. The overall effect was a sensation of never feeling so clean.


Next onto the treatment. Although the


receptionist who I first met spoke very good English this was not the case with my therapist. This is not uncommon in Thailand, but unfortunately it did mean that I missed out on choosing my preferred type of body scrub (there were four options by product house Thann) as my therapist didn’t know how to ask me – so he simply decided himself. He did let me chose my favourite massage oil, but without any explanation of the benefits of each, and I chose a traditional scented oil that resembles Sandalwood. Thai therapists have an innate skill for


massage which can leave you on cloud nine but it can also sometimes feel slap-dash and unsequenced which was the case at


RIGHT TO REPLY: SMITH MEKAROONKAMOL, OWNER


Thank you for your honesty. As most of our customers are repeat visitors and we regularly receive positive comments, we were surprised at the low score for our massage. We spend a large amount of time training our therapists to reach a high standard. Unlike many places, all of our therapists are full-time and their shifts are only nine hours (they can be up to 15 hours). People have different ideas of what a good massage is (and we welcome more detailed feedback), but we accept the comments and will continue to improve our quality.


78 Read Spa Business online spabusiness.com/digital


Yunomori. My massage and scrub were merely mediocre and even though it was mid- December, I found the Christmas massage music disturbed the Zen atmosphere. Having said that, the entire experience


instilled a feeling wellbeing and before leav- ing I treated myself to some tuna sashimi and a cold shake in the Japanese restaurant. What was meant to be only a two-hour visit, turned into a five-hour journey and that night I slept like a baby.


Summary Yunomori’s business model certainly makes sense – this a luxury offering which also serves as a functional requirement. While tourist visitors will ebb and flow, there will always be a demand from the Japanese resi- dents. The fusion of cultural therapies wasn’t jarring but neither did it gel particularly well. Overall, it left me with a longing for more of a Japanese experience. l


Lee Stephens is general manager of MSpa International Email: lstephens@minornet.com Twitter: @leedst


Spa Business 1 2014 ©Cybertrek 2014


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