Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
Our Buyagift Smartbox for the Pampering Days for Two experience arrived by courier, luckily I was in when it arrived as it requires a signature on delivery, something to note when ordering. It was very exciting as coming in a plain brown box we didn’t have a clue what it was. This is a great idea if you are buying for a present as even if it arrives when the recipient is in they won’t know what it is.
Inside the parcel is a letter saying thank you for purchasing and offering a 10% discount code for any other purchase you may wish to make. It also contains a small square box containing a voucher and a brochure. The extensive glossy brochure shows brief details and photographs of many of the choices for the Pampering Days for Two spread into geographical locations. There are also plenty of other options online so after a look through I decided to head online to book.
It’s easy to find what you are looking for on the Buyagift website as you type in your voucher code and pin number provided in the Smartbox, it brings up all your options and you can choose by location. As you click into each choice it gives you small print of what’s included. This you need to check very carefully and its very inconsistent dependant on location. Some offer two beauty treatments, some only one, some no treatments at all but afternoon tea with a glass of champagne. There are also locations that offer haircuts or manicures or only do Monday to Thursday so it’s quite time consuming going through each locations terms and conditions. We chose to do a Reviver package at a Virgin Active as these offered two treatments, one for each person. Easy so far, then it started to get more difficult.
You cannot book online but need to contact the hotel/spa direct and it provides the number for you to do so. On first call the receptionist didn’t know what I was talking about and had to get someone to call me back. They did so promptly to tell me that Virgin Active were being changed to Nuffield Health who didn’t support the Buyagift voucher scheme. That cut out 50% of choices in my location and around 25% countrywide so I went back to the drawing board. And went for the other choice, the Marriott Preston Hotel relaxation day. I contacted them to receive a similar response, they had heard of the voucher but didn’t know what was included and the voucher itself doesn’t state, you need to have the website open in front of you. She also got her manager to call me back and 4th call lucky we arranged the single massage treatment for 2pm and told we could turn up any time to use the facilities.
A few days later when we arrived at the Marriott spa the receptionist couldn’t be friendlier and more helpful and on passing us fluffy clean towels she explained the layout of the spa, treatment rooms and pool. We arrived early enough to use the pool, sauna and steam room prior to my husband’s massage and I was impressed at the standard of the changing rooms. They were large and clean with toilets, lockers, glass shower cubicles, swimming costume bags and driers, dressing tables with hair driers and even a play pen for babies. After getting changed and showered we went into the pool area, which is large enough for several people to swim and looks out over the gardens. We made use of the pool and then moved onto the lovely warm Jacuzzi in readiness for the steam room. Both the steam room and sauna were large and well maintained and we had a lovely time relaxing in there until it was treatment time.
My husband requested a medium intensity massage as his back and neck were feeling somewhat stiff and he could feel the tension in his back being massaged away. Straight afterwards and during the following days his back has been much improved and there was no soreness or pain which you can receive from a poor technique, indeed is hoping for another treatment in the near future. Although he enjoyed his 30 minute massage thoroughly, there is also choice of a facial or manicure should you prefer all carried out in clean, warm and relaxing treatment rooms with friendly and welcoming beautician’s.
Whilst my husband had his treatment I relaxed with a drink in the onsite Starbucks which looks out over the pool.
One of the reasons that Buygift vouchers are so great as gifts are that you can exchange them for something else so if you give a pamper day and they want to go ziplining they can exchange the voucher rather than just leave it sitting in the cupboard. I think this is a brilliant idea if you don’t know what to buy someone but don’t like giving money.
All in all we had a really good time and would recommend this gift package although it would be far nicer if we could both have had a treatment, just check the small print to see what you are getting before you make your choice and be aware that the receptionists of the relevant locations may not be trained in the Buyagift voucher scheme. A point worth noting is that the Virgin Active spas have now been taken off the website so that particular issue can’t happen to anyone else.
A lovely relaxing gift package that I will be recommending to friends and family.
The Buyagift Smartbox Pamering Days for Two and other Smartbox vouchers (starting from £29.99) are available to buy from Buyagift here.