House of Evelyn – High end or high street?

You could be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped into one of Gatsby’s parties. There is a serious amount of bling on show in the House of Evelyn with chandeliers and gold trimmings wherever the eye rests. It is the fantasy brainchild of Evelyn Cong and feels like it’s just what Manchester has been crying out for. A dedicated salon for nails, hair, facials and the more discreet procedures.

The House of Evelyn opened almost a year ago in Spring Gardens with much pomp and ceremony, Sadie Frost cut the ribbon and no end of local celebrities have been through the door. Now, thanks to my friend, it was my turn as she treated me to a facial for my birthday.

The atmosphere inside is friendly and inviting although it was very busy at the time and it did feel that there was more than a little chaos going on beneath the surface. It was almost as if they needed some stern manager to bring the different areas under control. However busy is good for the books so you can’t fault them for that.

We were led into our treatment room which was beautiful. The treatment beds were heated which I’ve never experienced before and they got me nice and relaxed almost immediately. The facials we were having had a back, neck and shoulder massage as part of it too, perfect way to kill two birds with one stone and the lady who was sorting my mug out, sorted my knots out too. Whilst we’re on the topic of the staff, I cannot praise them enough. They were super relaxed which was a nice change from the removed androids you can get in other establishments. This makes the experience for me.

The treatment overall was amazing and my skin felt so good after. It was definitely needed. The staff were attentive and asked if everything was OK but not so it was annoying. The Decloer products are top notch and I could feel the benefits for days afterwards.

So that’s the good bit, are there any bad bits?

I’m afraid there are.

The room we were in was clearly next to the staff room and no amount of soothing pan pipe music can deter from the shouting, laughing, banging and other arrays of noise that constantly came from there. I’m not being an old fart and saying people can’t have fun at work, but if you are expecting clients to pay upward of £70 for a facial, the expectation to be totally relaxed is not unreasonable.

That seems to be the issue overall with the House of Evelyn, a lot of time and care has been put into launching it, but scratch the surface and it’s not built on solid foundations. The tray that they brought our drinks on had been broken and hastily glued together on more than one occasion, there was a can of Febreze plonked on the toilet, there is only one unisex customer toilet so you awkwardly have to queue in the salon, the bed may be heated but the towel I had was incredibly scratchy and as we were having a glass of water after the treatment, we were surrounded by empty product packets.

I realise that these are minor gripes but they are little niggles that impact the overall experience. If you charge high end, you need to deliver high end and these issues can turn people away. Manchester is a competitive market with established venues more than happy to win their customers back with soft towels and attention to detail.

Would I return to House of Evelyn? Possibly, if there was a good deal on but after my first experience I think there are better locations in the city in their price bracket.

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