Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: India’s Clay Pit – 2/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: India’s Clay Pit – 2/5 Stars

India’s Clay Pit
$$ Indian
309 N Virgil Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90004

Cooks please -taste- your food before bringing it out! I got a really bad stomach ache here after eating their undercooked brown rice. My partner told me that it was ‘al dente’ but it was hard enough to give me sharp stomach pains for the rest of the night, which then dominoed into a kind of -yuck- laxative effect.

Now let’s talk about their food food. I don’t appreciate how things are hit or miss here. While my non-vegetarian acquaintances attest to enjoying the meat dishes here, their veg stuff leaves a lot to be desired. The veg curries and vegetables make me wonder whether they are pre-made, while the cooks focus all their energy on freshly preparing the meat items. The spinach/saag essentially tasted as flavorful and fresh as those Indian TV Dinners that you buy in a box and heat in an oven. It tasted like spice added post-hoc to the blandness.

The baingan bharta (eggplant) made thawing a frozen Indian meal actually seem desirable. It was the only time I’ve ever not enjoyed eating that dish out of the five or six Indian restaurants I’ve tried in Los Angeles. It tasted like curry that was coagulated from a flavorless, old eggplant and then pureed into a slop oblivion. I hope that they consider taking it off their menu while sorting out their freshness issues and preparation of their vegetables.

Since I found the curries to be pretty mediocre, I stuck with okra the most recent time I visited and it was better. I am unsure if I lack confidence in their food is fresh but the spices that the okra was prepared in tasted a lot better than the okra itself – it was shriveled. Okra offers a kind of crispness that their dish seemed to lack. Due to the other unfortunate circumstances I had with their food, it leads me to believe that their okra was not fresh either.

We were also served lackluster samosas that were not fresh – they tasted cooled, hardened, and dry in the center. Samosas are amazing when they melt in your mouth and this was the first time I ever got a bad samosa from an Indian restaurant so was taken aback. The hardened daal tasted like clay in the center. But fortunately, we got the pakoras, which actually tasted as good as they’re supposed to taste! Their naan and roti taste fine too.

In the end, it’s a shame that I was pleasantly surprised about getting something good here. I really want to like this place but unfortunately, their vegetarian dishes were at best as good as frozen saag from a TV dinner. It is a shame because I find the paneled ceiling to be beautiful here and hate to see it wasted on mediocre food.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 4


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Hop Woo BBQ and Seafood – 3/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Hop Woo BBQ and Seafood – 3/5 Stars

Hop Woo BBQ & Seafood
$$ Chinese, Seafood
845 N Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012

I have been here more times because of Groupon than have any other restaurant. I also have come here a lot prior to the days of Groupon. It seems like anyone who gets their MFA from an art school in Los Angeles is required to have some type of performance or exhibit in this area, hence when I run in them artistic circles, I usually end up there – then here or Hop Louie or Full House.

Their vegetarian food offers the quintessentially soggy vegetables that I’ve come to experience as being authentic at least to the way restaurants prepare them Chinatown. The mixed vegetables to schezuan eggplant to hollow vegetables from Hop Woo taste like they’re boiled with a plump texture underneath a slick layer of oil on top of them. I don’t dislike them. I just prefer how they prepare the soft tofu this way for their ma po tofu. The ma po sauce is very tasty and the dish is probably my favorite here. It tastes very salty though but for me, I like it however wouldn’t particularly recommend it for other people as I tend to like saltier saucy things.

The atmosphere is nice enough for groups but the service here is hard to describe. They don’t have bad service per se. They’re just consistently not focused on the human. I found that to be the case too when I went to a cafe on a layover in Guanzhou, China, so I think it’s just the way things are done. They’re usually as distracted by setting or bussing tables as they are taking orders, which often takes about 15 minutes to do after being seated. However they usually immediately give you tea, Spanish peanuts and crackers to munch on. I guarantee you that tea will go cold by the time they take your order so drink up first.

They’re one of a handful of places that don’t have restrictions towards how many Groupons you can use here. So they never give me a hard time about redeeming Groupon. But if you do the Groupon, print it out as they will hold onto your phone for ten or fifteen minutes while writing down the code, processing it, and simultaneously setting or bussing said tables.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 0


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Imperial Spa – 3/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Imperial Spa – 3/5 Stars

Imperial Spa
$$ Day Spas, Massage, Saunas
1875 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94115

I know now why most of the people who give this place rave reviews seem to be women. The men’s and women’s massage/acupuncture/steam/spa rooms are segregated but the men’s room doesn’t have the relaxing hot stone room, which is a huge bummer, in Korean. It also seems to have way less amenities in general. If you’re a man, you won’t get to lay on hot rocks nor get to gain equilibrium of your body’s energy or whatever wishful pseudoscience the hot stones are supposed to do. The men’s section has six plastic chairs for that instead.

I came into San Francisco after a long bus ride and felt gross. I checked Groupon out and I saw that this place had a Groupon deal going for sixteen bucks. I thought, a hot shower and relaxing steam room, why not?

After giving the woman in front the Groupon and then entering their really nice and spacious locker room and vanity room, the first thought I had of the spa, steam, and sauna rooms was a big fat underwhelming sigh. The entire steam and sauna area is about the same size of the locker room! The room is a 500 square foot room that is as tall as it is high. Why did you make such a grand locker room for such a tiny space?!

The room contained a tiny cold water pool, a tiny sauna, a tiny steam room that wasn’t very hot, and a decent-sized sauna that was incredibly hot. The steam room and sauna could comfortably seat six smaller framed men and a few more for standing room. There were five or six showers. One was kind of broken, two were out of shampoo, and one had a plastic chair with a bunch of towels hanging on top of it. At least one of those showers worked fine. There were also three or four sitting showers with buckets filled with shaving cream water and toothpaste.

I am glad I found that Groupon a few minutes before I entered because I now feel slightly jipped instead of incredibly jipped. I spent less money on two-story Korean spas with six rooms in Los Angeles. At least I got to shave, brush my teeth and sit in some hot bubbly water for a couple of hours before feeling refreshed and leaving.

Useful: 6  Funny: 6  Cool: 2


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Clean and Done – 2/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Clean and Done – 2/5 Stars

Clean & Done!
Home Cleaning, Home Organization, Personal Chefs
Los Angeles, CA 91607

I really don’t mind the actual job that their cleaner Ahmad did. But my partner is LIVID that Ahmad didn’t listen to the instructions he was given on thoroughly cleaning the floors and spending less time on the easier non-‘deep cleaning’ work like wiping down furniture and counters. Ahmad instead spent an hour and 40 minutes on wiping down stuff and 20 minutes on quickly mopping for their, as described on their site, 2-N-1 ‘deep cleaning’. I told my partner that he should have been on the cleaner more from the start. So lesson learned: if you want a specific chore done, tell them to do that very thing first!

After my partner complained to Clean & Done, their stance is to defend the cleaner and blame the client for ‘grossly underestimating’ what two hours of cleaning a 300 square foot studio apartment constitutes. I had to hear my partner vent all last night about how management blamed him. I’m like baby shut up, they write obnoxious responses to everyone. However they offered free 15 minutes of service next time as an acknowledgment that Ahmad should have listened better.

My problem with this business is not the cleaning or the owner responses but that they basically are an on-demand service with very, very few stable contract workers. When I purchased the Groupon, I immediately signed up for the service on their website. You sign up for a time slot on their website that you’re probably not going to get. When you don’t get the time slot you initially requested, they make you text or email them your alternate availability, since they don’t have an online system set up for this, unlike Cozy Maid’s system. Each time a time slot that you requested is not fulfilled, you get more texts and emails about them not being able to secure staff. I received eight of these messages. They apparently have no staff during the entire weekday who want to work mornings in the middle of LA (Hollywood). I spent a week and a half receiving these texts and emails until they gave me an available time slot for a weekday afternoon that I DIDN’T say I have availability for, but I was so desperate to get anyone to do this job, I begged my partner to do me the favor and sit for this guy.

It makes a lot of sense now that the owner and management are so defensive of their workers because they have so few of them to begin with! They probably are scared to death of nobody cleaning for them if they rebuke them for doing a shoddy job or not listening. If you know of anyone who is looking for a job, you should probably suggest they work for this business! You set your own hours and nobody will blame you for being lackadaisical as long as you’re wiping something!

Useful: 7  Funny: 4  Cool: 4


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Sparadise – 4/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Sparadise – 4/5 Stars

Sparadise (Hollywood Thai Massage) – CLOSED
$$ Massage, Massage Therapy, Waxing
5909 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

A great deep tissue massage I had, mostly thanks to Groupon.

While I essentially paid as much as what I would have paid within a two-mile radius at any other Thai massage place with their ‘discounted’ $40 rate on Groupon, I felt like Sparadise was well worth the price. I actually got it for a discounted rate on top of another discounted rate for $28 due to a promotion on top of another promotion on Groupon, ha! They also offered a non-Groupon rate for three massages at $120 or so. I don’t feel bad or guilty for calling them out on milking Groupon because this massage place is really booming with their 1000+ buyers. Thus it seems like they have a pretty healthy business going on that survives around their Groupon deal. It’s also a smart idea in a way because it gets people like me in the door who otherwise wouldn’t come in.

This tiny place has a campy elegance about it and looks as fancy as a nice boutique hostel. The reception service is as appropriately shoddy as what I would expect from a $40/hour type of place, which I didn’t mind. Yesterday, I came in at 1 p.m. and the receptionist asked if I had a Groupon and looked for availability on her computer. She told me there was none and instead of giving me an appointment for tomorrow, she said someone would call me back about an appointment tomorrow. I guess I was on the ‘standby’ list until around 8:40 p.m. when I got a call from a 323 number and I answered the phone. I said ‘hello’ and the Sparadise receptionist emphatically said in a heavy Thai accent ‘massage – come in right now, come in right now!’ There apparently was a last-minute cancellation, I followed her orders and came in.

I came in at 8:50 p.m. (I live a mile away). The receptionist gave me an up-sell speech about getting the $120 rate for three massages and that she would happily cancel the Groupon. I politely said no way and filled out the form. She asked me what kind of massage I wanted. I said ‘deep tissue’. I didn’t know if they would even do deep tissue with the Groupon but she said okay. A few minutes later, she took me to a dark room and told me to unrobe but to keep on my underwear and lay face down on the massage table. I unrobed, put my wallet and my phone under my pants and shoes. I left my underwear on and waited with my head in the hole for what seemed like 10 minutes.

When the masseuse came in, she greeted me and began doing the deep tissue massage Thai style. She jumped up on the table and began standing on top of my upper calf using it as a balance as she began doing a dance between my calf and other parts of my legs, butt, and back. I was worried that she would fall off if I flinched so I tried to stay as still as possible. She then got off my calf and went through the motion of thoroughly kneading my back and it was painful but good. At some point, hot stones were dumped on top of my back and she caressed my legs with them and placed them on my hands. That really did nothing for me, but I am glad I experienced a ‘hot stone massage’ if that’s what it was. I emphasized wanting a hard massage on my shoulders and back and she delivered.

When it was over, a tiny mug of room temperature water was served over a table with a gratuity chart under the glass on top of the table that emphasized that the standard gratuity is $15-20 per massage. I thought half of that was more appropriate. That’s what this Groupon did for me and I am glad I came here. And I can now safely say that I am officially DONE with getting massages from Groupon.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 3


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Greenbar Distillery – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Greenbar Distillery – 5/5 Stars

Greenbar Distillery
$$ Distilleries
2459 E 8th St
Los Angeles, CA 90021

That’s how they get so many five-star ratings! They have a link that travels from their feedback email after taking the tasting tour. It goes to their Yelp page after you click that you were ‘very satisfied’ with their tour. I was about to get all passive-aggressive up on this place about it but to be fair, I re-clicked ‘very dissatisfied’ just to see what happens and it also travels to their Yelp page.

What I like about this place is that it basically exists. They’re really into the art of experimentation, rather than being some type of profit-making dinosaur with tried and true flavors. It feels like it has stayed true to it being in the Arts District. From the sampling tour and their samplings of crafted liqueurs, bitters, whisky, gin, vodka, and tequila, they’re really into trying new things out. They have savory vodka, for example, that tastes like a wheatgrass shot. They are all organic and use actual fruit, for example, which I learned can vary in taste due to fruit varying in the way it sits on the tree, if it was hit by sunlight and how much water it gets. So they have tasters to ensure it’s supposed to taste as it should. They interestingly said that they tried flavors like pineapple or wasabi that have flavor properties that would ‘collapse’ in on themselves over time so they cannot be stored very long. The tour guide did say the wasabi flavor was delicious when it was made.

I’ve been in LA long enough and I’m surprised this is the first time I’ve heard of this place. It’s pretty old for something of its kind (born in 2004) and unusual! I got a Groupon for two here and for the number of samples you get (six total), it was well worth $6 per person. I was a bit miffed after being met with the kind of a problem about booking with their very annoying and problematic online form that would not redeem the voucher number. But after calling them and getting it sorted out, which they booked me on a tasting tour and I don’t think even redeemed the Groupon, I am glad that I have been able to have this experience.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 3


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Caffe Primo – 3/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Caffe Primo – 3/5 Stars

Caffe Primo – CLOSED
$$ Coffee & Tea, Italian, Cafes
612 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Caffe Primo downtown looks like a ghost ship of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks painting from 1942. Instead of a corner diner, it’s like one of those old-fashioned Italian style ‘caffes’ from the era that serves espressos or cappuccinos in tiny mugs. It is a very big and boxy street corner restaurant encased in large sheets of glass that you can see everything inside of it – and that’s not such a great thing in this case.

The ground level of this restaurant is below the street level of the sidewalk, so when you pass by this place on some streets, you are looking down on this restaurant behind the glass. The way the light hits the building during the day casts a gray shadow under the glass, so everything inside looks like the dim figures from a low contrast ratio television from the 1980s. There are a lot of rows of stark white tables and handfuls of gray melancholy looking people inside. I think they need less glass and more openness to the neighborhood, as this large glass wall makes this place appear like a human zoo. For years I passed this place by when I would either go to the downtown library or gym and never felt it beckoned me to come here.

When I was finally beckoned to come here due to Groupon, I was weary to go through the tiny door. So before I did, I took almost 20 minutes going through all of their Yelp reviews of the vegan wraps and bowls, which is usually what I prefer and decided to play it safe. Nothing about the reviews had stood out as having a consensus about anything particularly outstanding here, at least vegan-wise. I concluded that I should just stick with a salad. Let me tell you – I am glad I did. Their quinoa salad minus cheese was fresh and came with quite a nice portion. It comes with asparagus, avocado, craisins, walnuts, mint, onions, tomato, cucumber in a lemon vinaigrette dressing. And it was delicious.

You wait in the front, order in the front, you get a number. You wait at the table. And you get food. It was absolutely empty when I went and took about fifteen or twenty minutes to get the food. We were in no rush though. Something to note too: Since the size of this place is massive and there are a plethora of seat offerings, the level of stuffiness varies with some of the rooms. The air doesn’t flow to some of the glass-enclosed rooms and feels a bit more warm and humid than next to where the doors are. It might be beneficial to get faux walls to replace these large slabs of midcentury glass.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 0


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Ozu East Kitchen – 1/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Ozu East Kitchen – 1/5 Stars

Ozu East Kitchen – CLOSED
$$ Ramen, Korean, Asian Fusion
3224 Glendale Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039

I can’t stand a cheat. I complained and got a refund from Groupon after Ozu charged a 20% ‘Groupon service fee’ for using my Groupon here. Ozu – if you want to use Groupon’s advertising and get money from them, then you must be transparent and say that a 20% fee ($4.60 for a $23 meal) is going to be added in the terms. Or add the ‘service fee’ to the $12 for $20 deal you offered. I have used Groupon many, many a times and have never been greeted with a ‘service fee’ for using a Groupon before. If every business just added a ‘service fee’ for someone using Groupon, then it really wouldn’t be worth using, would it?

As for the food and place itself – it was pretty darn good. Pricey, but good. Clearly I would not have rated this place one star as I found it to be a pretty nice place and experience all in all. The employees are nice enough and the food came out fast.

The vegan ramen would have been pretty damn good if it wasn’t for their miso broth. The miso broth for the vegan ramen was incredibly bland, it tasted like a hot umami-flavored water, but its inhabitants were yummy. They had a delicious chili sauce that spiced it up a bit. While the tofu was crisp and delicious, I must agree with the other reviewers that the mushrooms take the cake here. They’re impeccably amazing. They are deliciously plump and have a great texture. The ramen still left me hungry after finishing it, but the portion seemed pretty decent. Not too big or not too small.

It’s located in a beautiful corner building with high ceilings and great minimalist furniture. They have a massive projector playing a sports game. The idea was cooler than its execution, since it was on mute and nobody in there at the time looked like the types that would be into watching a sporting game. But kudos for trying.

Useful: 10  Funny:Cool: 3


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: BoltBus – 3/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: BoltBus – 3/5 Stars

BoltBus – CLOSED
800 N Alameda St
Los Angeles, CA 90012

I am breaking this down to the actual bus experience versus the Groupon experience:


Bolt Bus has one of the most craptastic systems for redeeming the Groupon. You have to do A LOT of emailing and then a lot of inputting of data in order to redeem the Groupon. I felt like I was really working for that three dollars I saved. They will NOT redeem the Groupon with you over the phone.

Groupon was $21, roundtrip bus without Groupon was $24. They claim the rides are worth $80. I asked myself if it was worth saving $3 to do three or four days worth of work.

Their system for redeeming the Groupon is first to sign up for an account. Okay. Then email their rewards department and let them know that you purchased a Groupon and give them your account information for both Groupon and Bolt Bus. Okay. Don’t forget to email them the 6 or seven digit number from the coupon that’s in your Groupon folder. Okay. Then once the guy on the email gets back to you, it took him two days in my case, he will tell you that your account is credited two rides. Whew, done. Hooray!

NOT SO FAST! The Bolt Bus website is down. I was taken aback. A google search for Bolt Bus Los Angeles comes up with Mega Bus Los Angeles. Weird. I call to double-check they didn’t go out of business in the past 24 hours since I contacted them last. My fear is a business on Groupon unexpectedly going out of business without notice. It’s a legitimate fear, see horror stories (with snarky owner comments) on AQIYL Photography.

No, they’re still riding from Los Angeles. And whew, we’re only halfway done. The site should be back up in less than 12 hours. More instructions after he emails me back!

In order to get these rides credited, set up your bus ride then once you get your roundtrip set up, a popup box appears. Enter 0-0-2 on the bottom right of the popup box in the white form box and over the underscore, but only after clicking on the white form box twice. It won’t work if you click on the white box once because it needs to be input over the ___ underscore, not before it. I didn’t click on the white form box twice and typed in ‘002’ before the ___ underscore appeared. So stupidly, ‘002’ was not properly entered and I purchased another ticket. I had to call them to refund my card.

On the line was a really unfriendly guy speaking in a Southern/African American dialect. He said that I ‘dones’ it wrong and he will reverse the charge card and I would need to redo it. I asked if he could just redeem the Groupon from the phone. “No.” “Okay.” No response back. I waited for about ten or fifteen seconds to see if he would say something else. He didn’t. It was dead on the line. So I hung up. (Bolt Bus, you really should screen your calls or at least make your employees feel like they are!)

I entered ‘002’ over the literal ___ underscore on the white box after clicking on it. I’ve taken and taught Computer Science courses and this was one of the crappiest and least intuitive methods of inputting data I’ve seen on an actual running business. It reminded me of a goofy project that a 19-year-old undergrad Computer Science major who is just learning how to create a form would make in CS 1 to prove that he or she can make something interactive for credit. Type ‘002’ over random underscore to make a smiley face appear or else a frown will appear.


I am writing this review on the bus’ wifi right now. The bus is big, fat and shiny and located in the left-hand side of the front of Union Station. It is NOT located where the other busses are at the back. There is no sign, which is disconcerting, but I made a phone call and the lady said it was “across from the Mosaic Apartments on the flat parking lot.” What the hell are the Mosaic apartments? I walk around and see some large apartment complex to the left of Union Station. Ohhhh.

The bus, unlike Megabus, is one story, but the seats are larger and more comfy. The bus is incredibly clean. Like new, perhaps. (This company began running out of Los Angeles 6 months ago.) There are two outlets per seating section, the rest stop is 30 minutes and located in Avenal (not Kettleman City like MegaBus, booo) and consists of one boxed in shopping-gas station complex with a touristy gift shop/bodega, Subway and a taqueria. All in all, this bus is all I could ever ask for.

Sadly, this particular bus stops in San Jose, and then San Francisco, and then Oakland. That is a lot of stops, but there are maybe 20 people on this bus so I guess it would be silly to have a bus dedicated to the one goofball who claims he is going to San Jose.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 0


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Dara Spa – 4/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Dara Spa – 4/5 Stars

Dara Spa
$$ Day Spas
4369 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90029

What I loved about this place includes the time that they take to put into working on a massage. I believe most other places shave about 5-10 minutes from the hour massage, but not them. An hour’s massage being one hour is an understatement here! I think mine was closer to 80 minutes long. Don’t come here if crunched on time.

The guy who does massages here is legitimately good. His was one of the best massages I’ve ever gotten anywhere. They have a piece of paper, which you fill out check boxes; one section is how hard do you want the massage to be:

[ ] light pressure [ x ] medium pressure [ ] hard pressure (+$10)

Since hard pressure is a ten dollar charge, I chose medium. And I can’t imagine that massage having any harder pressure than I had gotten. He’s got a lot of stamina and really turned my body into a pretzel.

If it weren’t for the off-putting way in which I was able to get a massage, I would have given Dara Spa five stars. This was the first time I felt ‘Groupon shamed’ for presenting a Groupon! I know they’ve been on that site for a long time and I had basically gone to every other inexpensive massage place in the area except theirs.

For some weird reason when I came in saying I had a Groupon and asked about getting a massage, they quickly announced that there are no same day appointments available for those with Groupons. Why tell me that?! Just say there are no appointments available that day. I got huffy and said that ‘same day appointments not available’ was not on the Groupon terms but I made an appointment for the next day and left.

I was a block away on Heliotrope when the owner called me. She said that they’ll make a special exception with me and squeeze me in that day. I was the only person there. The owner oddly looked up the time of when I purchased the Groupon and then told me that I didn’t have to burden myself purchasing a Groupon right before I came in, as they would have given me the same price as the Groupon offer.

Well maybe your intrusiveness will work in the future because the massage was amazing BUT Groupon was offering a 25% off additional discount, so it was $26 instead of $35, which your investigation did not pan out.

Useful: 10  Funny:Cool: 3


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Natura Spa – 3/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Natura Spa – 3/5 Stars

Natura Spa – CLOSED
$$ Day Spas, Skin Care
3240 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010

Natura Spa is basement level. Natura Spa is basement level. Natura Spa is basement level. I watched a video on how repetition is the key to memory. I had a Groupon for two here. I visit spas often with varying levels of Korean culture infused to each. I have a coworker who absolutely loves this place and I was probably going to visit based on her recommendation alone. She goes here often. It seems a lot of people who keep this afloat has seen its better days. After visiting here, I feel like I’ve seen better days myself.

When we entered, we were dropped off from an Uber into the grand driveway of an eerie dim building. It was reminiscent of that spooky old hotel in Downtown LA where they found a girl who drowned in the water tank after everyone was complaining about the rancid water. There is one light next to one desk with a security guard in the middle. He pointed to a cavern of plywood behind him amidst a massive construction project in the lobby. There is literally this 200 foot path made out of large 10 foot high plywood boards that one walks straight and then makes a sharp right that leads to one elevator door at the end of it.

The elevator only has floors listed, nothing else. Even the address on Yelp gives no clue to this floor of this spa. So I had to call the front desk of Natura Spa on my cell phone while standing in the elevator. Receptionist said basement. She hangs up. I literally press B and see her two seconds later when the door opens. Two guys who saw that we were clumsy at knowing our surroundings pushed in front of us and just walked through and past the reception area into the spa. I think they were regulars. The receptionist just kind of shrugged.

She took our Groupon and just kind of let us through with keys to lockers located at on opposite ends, no directions, nothing. I never been here before and I felt like I had to go through a bizarre rude awakening to what this spa was all about. First off, robes are not needed late at night. Robes are not only discouraged but forbidden in all of the men’s steam and sauna rooms. The gender-neutral relaxation area, which consists of recliners and television had only men. It was kind of an awful place. The sauna even had a television in it! Terrible. Even though I showered literally before I got to the spa, some guy in the sauna told me to get out of the hot tub and that I needed to shower. There is a sign that he pointed to, an incredibly specific sign that states everyone needs to shower in this room first. Fine.

Maybe it was because of that creepy hotel vibe I got, that I noticed that everyone there looked like they’ve been regulars here for years. They’ve all had their slow ritualistic zombie patterns, sitting in the hot tub, moving to the cold pool, then moving to the steam room. The entire area is one medium sized room that consisted of a steam room, sauna, few showers, a cold pool and an ice room. So you can watch everyone from everywhere you sit in this one room. And more importantly, they can watch you.

I spent 90 minutes here trying not to be a spa zombie and had a good enough and relaxing time as I do with all spas. But the televisions, the creepy hotel vibe at night, the hotel ‘regulars’ and more televisions, will make me avoid passing through the plywood maze to this place in the future.

Useful: Funny: 19  Cool: 4


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp