My sister, Monika wanted to go to the Benmiller Inn & Spa in Goderich for her 50th birthday but none of our other sisters wanted to because it was over 2 hours each way. So, I told Monika that she and I would go sometime without the others. That was over two years ago.
My dad gave each of us $200 for our birthdays this year in order to have a spa day and we decided that this was the year we would go to the Benmiller. So, I made the reservation for this past weekend. We would each drive up from our respective homes and meet there around 1 p.m. Check-in was 3 but they said we could come early to use their facilities (spa, pool, hot tub and sauna).
When I made the reservation, I had booked the Romantic Retreat package because it was over $100 less than the Girls Spa Getaway and essentially included the same things, i.e. the room, dinner and breakfast. Monika and I have the same last name so we could have pretended to be a couple if necessary.
It was raining on Saturday but I just took Highway 8 the whole way there so there was no freeway stress involved and I got to go through some small towns that I've heard of but had never been to before so it was an interesting drive (I had made 3 CDs with music to listen to during the drive - see previous blog).
I left home just after 10 a.m. I stopped twice en route, once to stretch and once to use the restroom. But I still got there shortly after 1:00. Monika was already there but only a few minutes before me. We checked in and she gave us our room key but were told that we couldn't actually go to our room until 3, which was fine since we had booked spa treatments that started at 2:00. I had previously made our dinner reservation for 6 p.m. and since I hadn't eaten since breakfast, I told Monika that I wanted to grab some lunch before heading over to the spa so she had a tea and I had some butternut squash soup.
We had to drive from the main registration building where the restaurant was over to the buildings where the spa, pool, etc. were plus the building where our room was as well. We parked and got out of our vehicles to something completely unexpected for a spa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The spa was hosting a Chainsaw Competition to raise funds for cancer!!!!!
I mean seriously, who thought that was a good idea to have a chainsaw competition at a spa???? There were about 6 to 10 chainsaws running all frigging weekend from 9 in the morning onwards!!!
We were definitely not happy. But at that point, we didn't know that they were going to be there all weekend and we had spa stuff to do so we went into the building where the spa was and Monika went to use the pool before her treatments (Swedish massage and Deep Tissue massage) but since it was less than half an hour until we had to be there, I elected to sit and read instead.
At 2:00, I headed down to the spa and Monika said she would be there shortly. I checked us in and waited for Monika to arrive. Her masseuse took her in first. My first treatment was an Indian head massage. I had had one of those at Langdon Hall & Spa in Cambridge, Ontario and loved it so I was looking forward to another one. The one I had at Langdon was very relaxing with massage not only of the head but the neck, shoulders and face as well and the massage was much more gentle than the one I had here.
The male masseuse was poking his fingers so hard into my head, I developed a headache and he didn't massage anything other than my head and I couldn't wait until it was over. Regretfully, I didn't say anything to him. I just wanted to forget about it. My next treatment was a pedicure. I had the girl paint them fuschia and I think they look pretty good. By the time I was done, Monika had already gone to the room so I headed over there as well. I didn't bother taking my suitcase because I knew if we could hear the chainsaws in our room, we wouldn't be staying.
Fortunately, the cacophony of chainsaws was not heard at all in our room. It was thankfully quiet. We hung out in the room until about 10 to 6 when we headed to dinner. As soon as we came outside, the horribly loud chainsaws once again assaulted our ears. We quickly got in Monika's car and left them behind.
Dinner was included in our package. The waiter told us that our dinner included appetizer, entree and dessert or alternatively we could have two appetizers and an entree instead of dessert. Gratuities and alcohol were separate.
Both Monika and I decided on two appetizers and an entree. I started with a roasted beet and fennel salad which was really good. And, Monika started with seared sea scallops. Monika opted to have her entree next and wanted to finish with her second appetizer. So, her entree was sesame crusted ahi tuna. I opted for my second appetizer, which was Blyth Farm Golden Eweda Raclette (rissole potato, cornichon, double smoked bacon , grainy mustard). I didn't love this one mainly because of the cornichon (pickles). It just didn't work for me. The final item for Monika was the maple smoked salmon and my entree was seared beef tenderloin and jumbo shrimp and they were very good as well.
After dinner, we headed back to our room and thank God, those darn chainsaws were silenced for the night. We got back to our room around 8:30 or so and both of us chose to read until going to sleep. Monika jokingly said that maybe there would be a power failure and the chainsaws wouldn't be able to operate the next morning.
I had put a night light in the bathroom so that if either of us got up in the night, we'd be able to see. However, Monika wanted the bathroom door almost closed to block out most of the light so there was only a thin sliver to be seen through the gap in the door. I went to sleep around 10 but Monika said she had a flashlight and would use it to read, probably for another hour or so.
I slept like the dead and woke up around 2:30 to a completely pitch black room. I assumed Monika had been bothered by the night light and had turned it off but I needed to go to the toilet and absolutely could not see a thing. I walked like a blind woman with my hands stretched out in front of me and shuffled along until I found the bathroom door. I went in and shut the door intending to turn the light on but the light didn't come on so I figured out there had been a power failure.
The next morning when Monika woke up, I told her how suspicious it looked that she had wished for a power failure and had decided not to sleep when I did and had a flashlight.
But because there was no power, Monika couldn't make her tea in the room so she called the front desk and was told that even though most of the property had no power, the dining room was operating due to being on a generator. Initially, Monika and I had been planning on hiking for an hour before breakfast but since she couldn't function without her tea, we had breakfast first. After breakfast, I went to the bathroom and while I was in there, Monika went to the front desk and demanded compensation from them due to the major disturbance of our quiet and peaceful weekend by the chainsaws. They told her they would have something for us upon checkout.
After we left the building, we headed back to our room to pack so that we could focus the rest of our stay on enjoying their property. First we went for a one hour hike and then we went downstairs in the spa building to swim. I did 20 laps. We didn't bother with the hot tub since we had discovered the night before that it was lukewarm at best. The sauna wasn't much better but we did use it before having to get dressed to go and check out.
When we checked out, we were each given an envelope with a sheet of paper giving each of us a one night stay in one of their deluxe suites plus breakfast to be used before next October. It helped somewhat. I'm personally still planning on writing a letter to them about their unwise choice of hosting a chainsaw competition at a spa. I just want to know WHY they thought this was a good idea? And, even if THEY thought it was a good idea, why didn't they inform us when I made the reservation??? If we had known about the chainsaw competition, we wouldn't have come this weekend. We definitely would have picked a different weekend.