Camdeboo Spa dressing-room seat
User Experience Reviews

Camdeboo Spa should be renamed ‘Camdepoo’

Customer satisfaction is subjective. What’s good for the next person may not be good enough for me and vice versa. As someone who travels extensively and has enjoyed some of the most renowned health and wellness spas globally, I can honestly rate Camdeboo Day Spa at the African Pride Hotel in Irene as far below world-class.

It’s been two years since I’ve been back here for a full-body massage and through fresh eyes, it’s clear that their establishment is tired. Camdeboo Day Spa, despite boasting a World Luxury Spa Awards certificate for being the regional winner in Southern Africa, is in desperate need of a face-lift and some TLC.

Camdeboo Spa 2017 certificate

If there is a Customer Experience Manager at the African Pride Hotel, perhaps this individual is too busy to take customer experience, high standards and hygiene seriously, or perhaps ‘Camdepoo’ is the victim of budget cuts. To me, it certainly seems as if the spa (and its customers) are not on the group’s priority list at all. And the funny thing is that a few inexpensive updates and fixes, and simple checklists could make all the difference in this regard.


Here’s why Camdeboo Day Spa is a User Experience fail:

  • The facilities

It seems as if general maintenance is on the back-burner and staff, who are there day in and day out, suffer from ‘blindness’ to the filth. The coffee table in the reception area could could use a wipe down and the little dusty table mat (probably from the year 2000) beneath the flower pot needs to be replaced. The decorative pillows look limp and outdated. For an instant spruce-up, replace these with modern firm cushions.

Camdeboo Spa dressing-room seat
Dressing-room seat

The change-room appears clean on the surface but it’s neglected and hard-to-reach chandeliers are caked in dust. No hand towels were made available for the entire duration that I was there. Guys, the basket next to the basin ain’t going to fill itself. Someone needs to top it up manually. And finally, get rid of the stained pin-cushion seat in the private dressing room.

Camdeboo Spa change-room
No hand towels in Camdeboo Spa change-room

Aah, the lockers. These are rickety and a sorry excuse for ‘safe storage’. Locker 18 was falling off its hinges and my assigned locker was threatening to do the same, which left me with very little confidence. I opted to carry my valuables in my gown pocket. Then, what’s the point of a rail inside these cupboards if there are no hangers?? I asked the receptionist for a hanger and she said she’d have to request one from housekeeping. Now, let’s be honest. It could take a year to get anything out of housekeeping so I told her not to worry, and proceeded to fold and squash all my heavy winter gear into a pigeon hole.

Camdeboo Spa broken locker
Broken lockers

Staff should knock before entering the change-room. Well, this could’ve been awkward. There I was, bare-chested in front of my locker when the door swung open. Shew! Luckily for me the reception area was empty and there were no spectators (unlucky for them) seated on the couch ready and waiting for a free show.

This may seem insignificant but when the belt of a robe falls to the floor when a user unpacks it from the locker, this spells ‘L A Z I N E S S’ on the part of staff who could’t take the time to thread the belt through the gown loops. A simple fix; clean gowns¬† (if they’re actually washed between uses) need to be prepared in anticipation of the wearer. And this does not cost a thing. Put yourself in your customers’ slippers and imagine how you can make their lives easier.

After treatments, most guests would relish in the idea of taking a hot shower to wash away some of the oily residue. While I didn’t risk it, my husband did. There we no large bath towels!!! Goodness. How annoying it must’ve been to step out into the cold and discover many floor towels all rolled up and ready to be used, but no towels to actually dry himself off with. He resorted to using his gown as a towel.

We were escorted to our treatment room by a very pleasant and professional therapist. She gave us instructions followed by a few minutes of privacy to get ready. I asked if there were hooks which we could hang our robes on, and the answer was “No, just leave it on the chair.” It’s kind of pathetic that hooks – such basic things – are not provided. Perhaps they don’t want to knock more screws into the walls, but a free-standing coat stand would work just as well.

Camdeboo Spa reception
That’s not dust on your screen…
  • The treatment and therapists

I can’t fault the ladies on friendliness. They were very pleasant with huge smiles on their faces, but their treatments were a bit on the rough, unskilled side. I love a good kneading with loads of pressure, but there was very little technique involved. I couldn’t wait for the session to end – and that’s a first for me!

Now here’s the real kicker: At no point were we asked about our medical history and/or condition. How did they know I wasn’t pregnant or allergic to the type of oil used? How would they have known if I had a physical injury or disability? They wouldn’t because they didn’t ask. And I have a sneaky suspicion that even if we had filled in forms, no one would have bothered to read them. To be fair, we did complete personal information forms at our first visit many moons ago, but how did they know that nothing has changed from a health perspective, from then until now?

Thank you for the memories, Camdeboo Spa, but you can forget seeing us again unless you choose to use this feedback as constructive criticism. In the meantime, we’ll stick to our private home spa and mobile therapist, and continue to experience real customer-centric service at other first-class establishments in South Africa and abroad. Finally, to conclude my moan, in the event that Camdeboo Spa wins any awards this year (2018), I will be crying foul play.


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