Thursday, 19 April 2007

The Greenwich Clipper: Hair & Beauty

Beauty is very high up there on my list of priorities. Call me fickle if you like, but I do cherish my manicures and pedicures; My facials and my massages. I never flinch at the prices, and never ever bargain when it comes to good products. Having said all that, the bottom line is that I know what I want and I expect to get it when I book myself for a day of pampering. And book I did: a facial, manicure and pedicure.

Looking at the Clipper from the outside, you would assume a refreshing oasis awaited behind its inviting doors. In all fairness, it does pack the best products in the business: from Guinot to Aveda, Decleor, Dermalogica, Elemis, St. Tropez and Tigi, this shop has it all. They offer a wide range of body treatments that include sunbeds, reflexology and hair removal lasers. I was really looking forward to my day as lately I had been so busy and overworked. Oasis here I come.

I walked in and informed the receptionist that I was there for my appointment. She told me I had to go to the other shop (21) and wait there (the Greenwich Clipper occupies Nelson 20 & 21). Fine I thought and went out and into Nelson 21. The first floor as you go in is nicely decorated. The products are all on display and you are greeted with the smells of aromatherapy products as in most salons. I was asked to wait downstairs in the "waiting area" and X would come for me. Downstairs it is then, I thought.

Shock number one: the "waiting area" is a small cramped basement with two chairs propped against a wall. In an opening between the stairs and the floor is a stack of old over-read tabloids and magazines. And the entire area is filthy. Every single surface is layered with dust that has never met a duster since the day the place went into business. The floors are stained with droppings of wax, nail polish, and some odd looking marks that I could not even make out. Shoe prints were everywhere and it wasn't even raining outside. The place was miserable and dirty.

After a twenty-minute wait in which I debated with myself an odd twenty times whether to run or stay, X came and told me to choose my nail polish color and follow her into a room to start on my pedicure. Choosing from a dismal selection of nearly dry, completely dry and seems fit to use polish, I settled for one that seemed to have enough to finish the job (lucky I only wanted to color my toenails, I am doubtful that bottle of polish would have lasted all twenty nails).

The treatment room was hideous. The treatment bed had seen much better days and was also sticky. I opted to keep my clothes on and declined the offer to wear the robe hanging behind the door. The pedicure went fine with X and I chatting away. Then the manicure, which was a disaster. When it was finally over I had blood on three of my nails where X had clipped the skin of my cuticles. Ouch indeed. A part of me kept telling me that I was a fool to have accepted this and stayed. I couldn't wait till it was over.

The facial was more of a facial massage than a facial clean. I could feel that X clearly did not know what she was doing. She seemed to be too rushed and too flustered. It was a big disappointment and it did not come cheap. They had none of the new equipment being used in treatments these days. And I mean none. The only good things about my facial were the products themselves and definitely X's massage.

All in all, the experience was not pleasant. I did not feel pampered, the surroundings made me wince and I am dubious as to when and if the place is ever cleaned (although I did spot a bucket and mop stashed in the far corner of the basement). The waste baskets have no lids and there is hair and bits of tissue and paper all around. And the treatment rooms are poorly lit (I wondered how they saw well enough for a good wax). The treatments themselves were fine but you could get much better service and treatments for the same price at a much better kept place. They should literally clean up or move out.

Finally, I paid my hefty bill, declined a stack of products that X thought I should use (as if she knew what she was on about) and went home for a shower.

Guinot /Decleor/Elemis/Dermalogica Facial: from 47 pounds, 1 hour treatment
Hydradermie facial: 1 hour and 15 minutes, around 52 pounds
Maicure: 18.7 pounds
Pedicure: 24.75 pounds

Greenwich Clipper Hair & Beauty
20-21 Nelson Road, London
SE 10
Tel: 020- 88586742

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