Our facial and massage services were phenomenal. The facialist was attentive and friendly and knew what she was doing. At the end of the 50-minute service, she discussed all the techniques she used and instructed us on how we could do the same at home. There was absolutely no product pushing and the handout we received was a list of how-tos, not what-to-buys.
Our massage therapist was well-trained, with a history of sports therapy. But we didn't have to grimace through the whole thing--despite his ability to really pound, he let us choose our desired firmness. That's what she said! Um, we promise we are talking about a totally appropriate massage.
So, the technicians were great. However, the spa facility itself had some drawbacks.
This is the place where you hang out before and after your services, where you decompress and read PEOPLE or perhaps a ritzy OC magazine. Unfortunately, it resembled a doctor's office waiting room more than a place to chillax. Since it's the only way to get from the spa area to the service rooms, there are constantly people moving in and out. In fact, most of the traffic flow was staff! The doors are loud, and definitely not relaxing. You constantly feel like you're in the way and that you should make nice eye contact with every passer-through.
The center itself is nice enough with individual TVs for each machine and chilled towels and other fancy, excessive OC fitness essentials. However, it's pretty hard to find. After following detailed instructions, we navigated through the relaxation room, found the elevator, and went through the seven levels of the Candy Cane Forest. Signage was lacking.
The worst part came when we needed to return to the spa and alas! could not get through the door we had come in. Using the only other exit, we found ourselves by the pool and then wandering aimlessly until we returned to the main entrance of the hotel looking all fitness sweaty. We re-entered the spa awkwardly. The staff did apologize and said the doors were being re-locked that very day and maybe that's why we had problems. So maybe you can bypass the Candy Cane Forest next time.
The rates are on the higher end, with 50-minutes massages and facials starting at $140, because they cover use of the spa facilities including the salt-water jacuzzi, cold water foot bath, fitness center, pool, and the "relaxation" room. We'll go back for the great services, but not to use the spa. In fact, we'll probably go on a rainy day to take advantage of their "Rainy Day Blues" special and get 30 percent off. Just mention it when calling.
Additionally, use of the any of the spa facilities (including the fitness center!) will cost Marriott guests $25 a day. Don't do it -- so not worth it. (This fee is waived if a service is booked, thankfully.)