Ten Spa: Average Spa; Great Pedicure

Freshly pedicured white woman foot.

Freshly pedicured white woman foot.

Sure, the pedicure was good—but I’ve experienced better spa environments. People talk about Ten Spa as if it is a high-end, world-class place, and so my expectations were pretty high. However, when you get off the elevator on the tenth floor, it’s not immediately clear which way to go, so instead of stepping straight into a luxurious relaxation experience, I had that moment of confusion which way should I go? uuuuhhhh, well, I’ll try this way! The reception area was clean and spacious and the staff were lovely. The changing room and bathroom stalls were a bit cramped, but the lockers were easy to use. I really liked the sweet little wall-mounted hand basins in the washroom stalls. There were lots of products and amenities and scrubs and soaps in the showers and on the counters in the change room.

My friend S. and I changed into our white spa bathrobes (not as long or as soft as I would have liked, and rather warm for the temperature of the change room, but fine for the cooler rooms we were in later). The pre-treatment relaxation room had a counter with some yummy little snacks (hummus and veggies and muffins). There was water available but it was more cool than cold. The decor was odd. The lounging couches were a lovely white leather (or faux leather; I’m one of those people who can’t tell the difference and doesn’t actually care). But the curtains and wall treatments and cloth-covered pillars were done in wide stripes in two shades of brown, and were quite dark and gloomy. Some bits were mosaicked (is that even a word?) in tiny brown squares.  The heavy emphasis on brown stripes felt kind of early seventies to me, and I also didn’t like that it was in the relaxation area that we were expected to fill out the “medical” forms. That felt like something better done out front before we started stripping down.

Also, there were dirty plates and glasses lying around from previous patrons, and even though multiple staff went through the area in the nearly half hour that we sat there, none of them were picked up.

The pedicure itself was lovely. The woman who performed my pedicure was named Anya, and she was pleasant and efficient. She didn’t hurt me with the cuticle-clipping or heel-dremeling, and she had a firm but careful touch throughout. The exfoliant they use isn’t that gritty sandpaper stuff but fine and silky. When she started working with the dremel, I stiffened my foot because I am so ticklish, and she stopped right away to ask if I was okay, which I greatly appreciated.

I haven’t been for a lot of manis or pedis in my life—maybe twelve or fifteen?—but I know what I like. The room in which the pedicures were done at Ten Spa was set up awkwardly. There were six chairs in a partial circle (three-quarters of the way around the room) which meant that every time  I looked up, I was looking at others. I prefer the chairs all in a row (like at Riverstone Spa at The Forks) or a separate two-person room for friends going in together (like at Il Paradiso in Billings Bridge mall in Ottawa). If you have your own room, you can chat and visit. And if you’re all in a line, you can pretend the others aren’t there and just look out a window or at pretty pictures or whatever, instead of gazing into the faces of strangers who are trying as hard as you are to pretend they’re alone. S. and I managed to speak with our faces and hands and a few whispers (easy to do when you’ve been friends for [cough] decades, but it would have been nice to be able to have a quiet conversation.

I was surprised that there wasn’t a pre-pedicure foot bath. I think this is the first pedi I’ve ever had where my feet weren’t soaked first. They do ask you to shower first, but of course a shower is not a guarantee that one’s feet are washed. Also, as other clients left the room and I watched the clean-up procedures, I saw that the pillowcases aren’t changed between clients, which is kind of… icky… I was also surprised there wasn’t more colour selection. We chose from those plastic boards with the fake nails attached to them around the edges. Lots of them were chipped, and the board itself was a little gunky. The little bowls for holding your jewellery were supercute, though, like little silver sea plants.

The post-treatment relaxation room was rather cramped and also had dirty dishes. Some of the couches were worn to the point where in the dim light it looked like maybe pile of crumbs, so we had to check before sitting. The “door” and the “curtains” between sections were pretty, but were basically hundreds and hundreds of lengths of twine, so again, not great on the hygiene with hands and bodies brushing by them constantly.

We peeked into the “experiential shower” and the steam room but didn’t use them. If I go again, I will go a bit in advance of my appointment and try those out. I appreciated that the washroom stalls were clean, had ample hand towels, and had some tampons and panty liners available.

Overall, I found the people at Ten Spa to be lovely in their interactions with us, but I was less than impressed with the neatness, the decor, and the first impression upon arrival by elevator. Some areas (lobby, pre-treatment relaxation area, steam room “lobby”) seemed spacious, while others (change room by the lockers, washroom stalls, post-treatment relaxation area) seemed cramped. The art (paintings and sculptures) showed lots of naked people, which I barely noticed but which S. felt was inappropriate (YMMV). I would have liked to see more natural light, less dirty dishes, and a treatment space that didn’t feel like the awkward first session of group therapy.

Here’s a paw selfie of me and the Fluffy Dog:


White foot with pink toenails and a beautiful hairy dog paw.

White foot with pink toenails and a beautiful hairy dog paw.




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