Burke Williams

★★☆☆☆

About Burke Williams

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  • Health Spas

Sports & Recreation

Sports & Recreation
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I had the best spa experience of my life when I visited Burke Williams in Santa Monica. Best massage, great amenities and an overall excellent atmosphere at that location. When I learned that they opened a location in SF, I was excited since I live in the bay area. I have been to the SF location 3 times now and it just doesn't measure up to what I experienced in Santa Monica. The massage in SF was just above average and the area for the sauna, spa, locker room isn't as nice. I'm hoping the massage quality will improve over time. I would like to see them stay in business here but only if they can get therapists that are as good as the ones in SM.

1
★★★☆☆

I had the best spa experience of my life when I visited Burke Williams in Santa Monica. Best massage, great amenities and an overall excellent atmosphere at that location. When I learned that they opened a location in SF, I was excited since I live in the bay area. I have been to the SF location 3 times now and it just doesn't measure up to what I experienced in Santa Monica. The massage in SF was just above average and the area for the sauna, spa, locker room isn't as nice. I'm hoping the massage quality will improve over time. I would like to see them stay in business here but only if they can get therapists that are as good as the ones in SM.

Pros: Nice amenities

Cons: Disconnected

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SPA VOICES!!!! Don't ever forget your SPA VOICES! Apparently you can't talk really loudly otherwise you may disturb the other guests!! Yes, we were that group of girls, but what do you expect when you gather 15 girls together for a bachelorette party?? At least though they were nice about it, and didn't mind that they had to come out every 15 minutes to remind us to use our SPA VOICES.

To make a long story short, I adore Burke Williams and it's facilities. I love the quiet rooms, the cucumbers and oranges in the water, the tea, the warm towels, the hot tubs, the sauna, the lounge area, the showers, the curling irons, vanities, toiletries waiting for me, the rain drop room, and everything else the place has to offer!!!!!

What I wish they offered were: champagne ( I love champagne when I'm getting pampered, even though I know I shouldn't drink when getting so cleansed and detoxed) and food to snack on as sometimes I do get hungry, and I've been to other spas that offered cheese, crackers, fruit and mini sandwiches.........

Treatment wise, at this location, I've always enjoyed my services but in comparison to other spas, I have yet to be knocked off my feet.

But then amenity-wise what it lacks in it's ability to stand out with it's treatments, the spa makes up for in the amenities, as described previously. That said, I give 5 stars for the amenities, and then 3 stars for the treatments, which according to my math gives them 4 stars!

P.S. When booking a large group party please note that most locations give you a private room for your party so that you can raise your "spa voices" a little more, but this location doesn't have a private room, fyi. Also for large groups there is a $20 person surcharge which allows you to have sparkling cider and sparkling water and a platter of fresh fruit for your guests. Also you can take pictures in the spa during this time which normally isn't allowed. For $20 a head, I would say that what you get is not worth it in terms of dollar for dollar fruit and cider per person, but if we had gotten our own room and been able to bring outside food in (which is not allowed) then maybe it would have been worth it more.

Nevertheless it was still a great experience and we were so happy to have the time spent with our friend for her bachelorette!

2
★★★★☆

SPA VOICES!!!! Don't ever forget your SPA VOICES! Apparently you can't talk really loudly otherwise you may disturb the other guests!! Yes, we were that group of girls, but what do you expect when you gather 15 girls together for a bachelorette party?? At least though they were nice about it, and didn't mind that they had to come out every 15 minutes to remind us to use our SPA VOICES.

To make a long story short, I adore Burke Williams and it's facilities. I love the quiet rooms, the cucumbers and oranges in the water, the tea, the warm towels, the hot tubs, the sauna, the lounge area, the showers, the curling irons, vanities, toiletries waiting for me, the rain drop room, and everything else the place has to offer!!!!!

What I wish they offered were: champagne ( I love champagne when I'm getting pampered, even though I know I shouldn't drink when getting so cleansed and detoxed) and food to snack on as sometimes I do get hungry, and I've been to other spas that offered cheese, crackers, fruit and mini sandwiches.........

Treatment wise, at this location, I've always enjoyed my services but in comparison to other spas, I have yet to be knocked off my feet.

But then amenity-wise what it lacks in it's ability to stand out with it's treatments, the spa makes up for in the amenities, as described previously. That said, I give 5 stars for the amenities, and then 3 stars for the treatments, which according to my math gives them 4 stars!

P.S. When booking a large group party please note that most locations give you a private room for your party so that you can raise your "spa voices" a little more, but this location doesn't have a private room, fyi. Also for large groups there is a $20 person surcharge which allows you to have sparkling cider and sparkling water and a platter of fresh fruit for your guests. Also you can take pictures in the spa during this time which normally isn't allowed. For $20 a head, I would say that what you get is not worth it in terms of dollar for dollar fruit and cider per person, but if we had gotten our own room and been able to bring outside food in (which is not allowed) then maybe it would have been worth it more.

Nevertheless it was still a great experience and we were so happy to have the time spent with our friend for her bachelorette!

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i never got in but want to say that i agree 100% on the bad customer experience. it took a long time to get a staff person on the phone - only to find that i was calling l.a to make a san fran appt. that's not so bad, but i was on hold for something like 8-10 minutes?

plus, the website sux.

0
★☆☆☆☆

i never got in but want to say that i agree 100% on the bad customer experience. it took a long time to get a staff person on the phone - only to find that i was calling l.a to make a san fran appt. that's not so bad, but i was on hold for something like 8-10 minutes?

plus, the website sux.

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This spa is having a tough time getting its act together management wise. Here's my experience yesterday. I came in as a card carrying member. One receptionist was busy discussing things with two people and told me I'd have to wait. I waited 7-8 minutes, then she made an excuse the system was down taking it a long time to check me in. She lied that the chiropractor was booked up at the facility, when I later learned he wasn't even there that day. She gave me a locker next to someone even though it's a huge locker room. I came back for a new key and the management person took down my name as if I was a problem claiming she wanted to put my complaint in my profile. I continued to the jacuzzi to find it was lukewarm and a little murky. On the way to the steam room, I noted they were giving a tour of the facility. The sauna wasn't even hot. On other visits I was resting in the quiet room for management to barge in to gawk at me asking me if I was waiting for a treatment. Two people stood around me staring as if I shouldn't have been there, when I paid to be a member. Service people are overkill there, continually checking for the next towel you put in the basket. They have their walkie talkies on too. All of these things added together make this a non-spa experience and something to stress about. They can do better. Two years in business now, time to get it together.

1
★★☆☆☆

This spa is having a tough time getting its act together management wise. Here's my experience yesterday. I came in as a card carrying member. One receptionist was busy discussing things with two people and told me I'd have to wait. I waited 7-8 minutes, then she made an excuse the system was down taking it a long time to check me in. She lied that the chiropractor was booked up at the facility, when I later learned he wasn't even there that day. She gave me a locker next to someone even though it's a huge locker room. I came back for a new key and the management person took down my name as if I was a problem claiming she wanted to put my complaint in my profile. I continued to the jacuzzi to find it was lukewarm and a little murky. On the way to the steam room, I noted they were giving a tour of the facility. The sauna wasn't even hot. On other visits I was resting in the quiet room for management to barge in to gawk at me asking me if I was waiting for a treatment. Two people stood around me staring as if I shouldn't have been there, when I paid to be a member. Service people are overkill there, continually checking for the next towel you put in the basket. They have their walkie talkies on too. All of these things added together make this a non-spa experience and something to stress about. They can do better. Two years in business now, time to get it together.

Pros: Nice facility

Cons: Staff causes visitors stress with poor service. Lack of consistency in service.

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I first visited the Santa Monica location and was very pleased. When I heard SF was opening I was very excited about having a location in the Bay Area. I spent an entire day (Friday) at the SF location in September 2007. The facility is very nice and well-appointed. There were working hair dryers and plenty of supplies. The staff was friendly, attentive and knowledgable. I had to change my reservations and it went smoothly. They called me to confirm the original reservation and the change. It's true you speak with a central reservation department, but you can be connected to someone at the specific location, if necessary. In fact, it's better to speak with the location since the central department does not always know whether a service is available at a specific location on the day requested. This is a "kink" they need to work out.

I also suggest going to any spa Monday-Friday if possible. It is much less crowded and service is generally better than on the weekends.

2
★★★★☆

I first visited the Santa Monica location and was very pleased. When I heard SF was opening I was very excited about having a location in the Bay Area. I spent an entire day (Friday) at the SF location in September 2007. The facility is very nice and well-appointed. There were working hair dryers and plenty of supplies. The staff was friendly, attentive and knowledgable. I had to change my reservations and it went smoothly. They called me to confirm the original reservation and the change. It's true you speak with a central reservation department, but you can be connected to someone at the specific location, if necessary. In fact, it's better to speak with the location since the central department does not always know whether a service is available at a specific location on the day requested. This is a "kink" they need to work out.

I also suggest going to any spa Monday-Friday if possible. It is much less crowded and service is generally better than on the weekends.

Pros: Parking across the street.

Cons: Doesn't have dedicated elevator entrance. Access through theatre lobby.

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I used to go the Burke-Williams Spa in San Jose which I really liked until the San Francisco location opened in Fall 2006 (because I live in SF). I've been to the SF location at least three times and based on those experiences, here's what I have to say:

The attitude of almost everyone at Burke Williams is terrible. From the reservations phone line (which isn't in SF and they won't let you talk with people in the SF location) to the SF front desk where's there is always a line and confusion about "who's next in line?", the customer service level is more like the California DMV than it is a first-class spa.

It's a rotating door of massage therapists, so forget your ability to request the same therapist. The facialist tore the skin on the tip of my nose while doing extractions so I had to follow-up my spa visit with a visit to the doctor.

Oh, I almost forgot to say that they won't even email you a spa treatment list because they don't have one. But, if you want one, they'll read the long list to you over the phone with sighs of exasperation when you ask them to slow down or ask "would you please repeat that part again?"

The only positive thing the SF spa has going for it is that it's new.

In summary, go somewhere else because this spa franchise doesn't have it in them to be courteous or professional to customers.

0
★☆☆☆☆

I used to go the Burke-Williams Spa in San Jose which I really liked until the San Francisco location opened in Fall 2006 (because I live in SF). I've been to the SF location at least three times and based on those experiences, here's what I have to say:

The attitude of almost everyone at Burke Williams is terrible. From the reservations phone line (which isn't in SF and they won't let you talk with people in the SF location) to the SF front desk where's there is always a line and confusion about "who's next in line?", the customer service level is more like the California DMV than it is a first-class spa.

It's a rotating door of massage therapists, so forget your ability to request the same therapist. The facialist tore the skin on the tip of my nose while doing extractions so I had to follow-up my spa visit with a visit to the doctor.

Oh, I almost forgot to say that they won't even email you a spa treatment list because they don't have one. But, if you want one, they'll read the long list to you over the phone with sighs of exasperation when you ask them to slow down or ask "would you please repeat that part again?"

The only positive thing the SF spa has going for it is that it's new.

In summary, go somewhere else because this spa franchise doesn't have it in them to be courteous or professional to customers.

Pros: New facility

Cons: Customer serivice, poor attitude toward customers and untrained facialists/masseurs.

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I try not to be negative, but this spa takes the cake. I went in on my birthday for a facial. The only appointment they had was the first one, 8AM or 9AM, I can't remember, so I took it, but the doors to bloomingdales weren't open! So I called the spa, but the receptionist answering was nowhere near SF, and couldn't help me when I was trying to get in. So I was late. They did not direct me well as to where I should go and where I would meet the estatician (sp?) By the time I found him he was nice, but started to complain abouty what a crazy day he was going to have, etc. He went on and on. The room was fine, but right next to the washer and dryers I guess, I head this loud banging noise throughout my session. No joke. He did not ask me any specific questions about my skin or what I was looking for. He massaged my face alot, and that was about it. He didn't even put a headband around my face, my hair was getting all rubbed in with the creams on my skin, it was totally unprofessional. It was my birthday so they gave my a "birthday bath" but once again, i didn't know where to go, and where and how long i would be waiting, etc. very mismanaged. The water, I am not kidding, was cold. The fruit the gave me, was starting to go bad. and I heard the other woman getting a bath say her water was cold too! AND it was a bloody forune. total rip off!

0
★☆☆☆☆

I try not to be negative, but this spa takes the cake. I went in on my birthday for a facial. The only appointment they had was the first one, 8AM or 9AM, I can't remember, so I took it, but the doors to bloomingdales weren't open! So I called the spa, but the receptionist answering was nowhere near SF, and couldn't help me when I was trying to get in. So I was late. They did not direct me well as to where I should go and where I would meet the estatician (sp?) By the time I found him he was nice, but started to complain abouty what a crazy day he was going to have, etc. He went on and on. The room was fine, but right next to the washer and dryers I guess, I head this loud banging noise throughout my session. No joke. He did not ask me any specific questions about my skin or what I was looking for. He massaged my face alot, and that was about it. He didn't even put a headband around my face, my hair was getting all rubbed in with the creams on my skin, it was totally unprofessional. It was my birthday so they gave my a "birthday bath" but once again, i didn't know where to go, and where and how long i would be waiting, etc. very mismanaged. The water, I am not kidding, was cold. The fruit the gave me, was starting to go bad. and I heard the other woman getting a bath say her water was cold too! AND it was a bloody forune. total rip off!

Pros: the ambience was very nice, fancy

Cons: mismanaged, unprofessional, OVERvalued, UNskilled staff

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I have visited the spa six times to use up some promotional coupons that I had purchased last fall and I ran into difficulties at every single visit. The only thing this spa has going for it are their professional staff, i.e. the massage therapists and estheticians who are all very courteous, skilled, and have provided great service on all my visits. It is a miracle to me how they can keep their staff on board and it's probably only a matter of time before the good ones leave. The management of the spa is a complete mess: The receptionist staff is untrained and rude, and the service staff inside seems clueless almost all the time. Most of my appointments ran late, I almost never got the therapist I had booked, they almost always made mistakes at the check-out and after I complained once and they were so nice to comp me a free lunch, they then wanted to charge me for the lunch when I checked out. They do not know what customer service is and it is a shame that I place like this gets to be in a higher end mall like the Westfield Shopping Center. This is not at all an experience of relaxation and wellness which is the business they are in. I will never be back and have made sure that my friends know as well.

0
★☆☆☆☆

I have visited the spa six times to use up some promotional coupons that I had purchased last fall and I ran into difficulties at every single visit. The only thing this spa has going for it are their professional staff, i.e. the massage therapists and estheticians who are all very courteous, skilled, and have provided great service on all my visits. It is a miracle to me how they can keep their staff on board and it's probably only a matter of time before the good ones leave. The management of the spa is a complete mess: The receptionist staff is untrained and rude, and the service staff inside seems clueless almost all the time. Most of my appointments ran late, I almost never got the therapist I had booked, they almost always made mistakes at the check-out and after I complained once and they were so nice to comp me a free lunch, they then wanted to charge me for the lunch when I checked out. They do not know what customer service is and it is a shame that I place like this gets to be in a higher end mall like the Westfield Shopping Center. This is not at all an experience of relaxation and wellness which is the business they are in. I will never be back and have made sure that my friends know as well.

Pros: Skilled staff, new facility

Cons: No customer service orientation, rude and untrained service staff

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Similar to the previous reviewer - I also don't like to write bad reviews. But this place was so horrible I want to warn people. My complaints are so many that I will boil them down to horrible customer service (okay, non-existent customer service), a terrible front desk, bad reservation system and on and on. Due to my problems making the reservations for myself and two friends, they kindly gave us each a free service (25 minute mineral bath each). Upon check out, they wanted us to pay for it!!! And the 25 minute bath, was 10 minutes in reality. 10 minutes!! Needless to say, I did not pay for it and neither did my friends.

For a brand new spa -- explain to me why only 2 hair dryers worked and why all the women had to line to use them? Also explain to me the reason for making an appointment when they take you to your treatment 20 minutes late, then cut the treatment short but still charge you $185.00 for it?

Seriously, they are many nice places in SF -- go elsewhere. You will be sorely disappointed in this place.

1
★★★☆☆

Similar to the previous reviewer - I also don't like to write bad reviews. But this place was so horrible I want to warn people. My complaints are so many that I will boil them down to horrible customer service (okay, non-existent customer service), a terrible front desk, bad reservation system and on and on. Due to my problems making the reservations for myself and two friends, they kindly gave us each a free service (25 minute mineral bath each). Upon check out, they wanted us to pay for it!!! And the 25 minute bath, was 10 minutes in reality. 10 minutes!! Needless to say, I did not pay for it and neither did my friends.

For a brand new spa -- explain to me why only 2 hair dryers worked and why all the women had to line to use them? Also explain to me the reason for making an appointment when they take you to your treatment 20 minutes late, then cut the treatment short but still charge you $185.00 for it?

Seriously, they are many nice places in SF -- go elsewhere. You will be sorely disappointed in this place.

Pros: Steam room and pool

Cons: Customer Service, Staff, Value for your money

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I really don't like writing bad reviews, but I felt I had to in this case. I had high hopes for Burke Williams. Their facilities are beautiful and SF needs a full-service luxury spa this pretty. I have also been to the LA location and it is great. Unfortunately, my experience in SF was way more stressful than relaxing.

When I first I went, just after it opened, I got one good service and one okay service. Because the facilities were so pretty but the jacuzzi was broken on my visit, I thought I'd try again.

My visit a few months later was really bad, in almost every way. Though the facilities are still pretty, the staff has really gotten worse. I asked for one of the same technicians again and found out she had already quit. My massage with the new girl was awful. She was very inexperienced, which in itself is not terrible, but in addition to forgetting to do basic things that the other technician did (like tell me before she was about to put a hot towel on my face or something; there was also a lot of hair pulling) the massage was just really bad and she finished early. I definitely didn't get what I paid for. My guest had an even worse experience from another really inexperienced masseuse, leaving in so much pain that it lasted through the next day. And I gave this as a gift! :( I felt terrible.

To top it off, when we checked out I was overcharged. I noticed it and they apologized and voided (they said) the entire charge and charged again the correct amount. The front desk staff assured me that it was voided properly and would process immediately but sure enough, it wasn't and I spent the next week trying to get the now DOUBLE overcharge off my account.

I am not that hard to please, but this was really the worst experience I've ever had at a spa. Though the facilities are great and I had one good technician a while back, there are just way too many problems for a place that charges this much :( I hope you can avoid my bad experience.

1
★★☆☆☆

I really don't like writing bad reviews, but I felt I had to in this case. I had high hopes for Burke Williams. Their facilities are beautiful and SF needs a full-service luxury spa this pretty. I have also been to the LA location and it is great. Unfortunately, my experience in SF was way more stressful than relaxing.

When I first I went, just after it opened, I got one good service and one okay service. Because the facilities were so pretty but the jacuzzi was broken on my visit, I thought I'd try again.

My visit a few months later was really bad, in almost every way. Though the facilities are still pretty, the staff has really gotten worse. I asked for one of the same technicians again and found out she had already quit. My massage with the new girl was awful. She was very inexperienced, which in itself is not terrible, but in addition to forgetting to do basic things that the other technician did (like tell me before she was about to put a hot towel on my face or something; there was also a lot of hair pulling) the massage was just really bad and she finished early. I definitely didn't get what I paid for. My guest had an even worse experience from another really inexperienced masseuse, leaving in so much pain that it lasted through the next day. And I gave this as a gift! :( I felt terrible.

To top it off, when we checked out I was overcharged. I noticed it and they apologized and voided (they said) the entire charge and charged again the correct amount. The front desk staff assured me that it was voided properly and would process immediately but sure enough, it wasn't and I spent the next week trying to get the now DOUBLE overcharge off my account.

I am not that hard to please, but this was really the worst experience I've ever had at a spa. Though the facilities are great and I had one good technician a while back, there are just way too many problems for a place that charges this much :( I hope you can avoid my bad experience.

Pros: very nice facilities

Cons: really bad massages and really bad front desk experience

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The actual facilities are nice: steam room, mist room, relatively spacious jacuzzi, sauna, a quiet room for pure relaxation, and a wide array of toiletries with high end hair products from Pureology and Texture. And hair bands. Who ever thought of hairbands? That's the attention to detail that I enjoy. However, one of their showers kept going freezing cold on me, like when you're in the shower of a place with cheap plumbing and someone in the building flushes a toilet. You don't expect that at a spa.

My masseuse was a 1/2 hr late b/c there was no communication between her and the front desk. The massage itself was very soothing, and she was very good at tailoring the massage to focus on the spots I needed, while still paying attention to the full body aspect. I highly recommend Christine as your masseuse. Oh, and they heat your bathrobe when so when you're done with the massage, you can put on a warm robe.

The front desk attendant seemed...incompetent. Nice guy, but didn't know what the heck he was doing. I wanted to reschedule an appointment, not a confusing task. But after 10 minutes of explaining myself over and over again, him doing it, but doing it wrong, I got so frustruated I said that I'd deal with it over the phone, and walked out.

Would have been a great spa experience, but they seem new and need to figure out how to run things a little smoother.

2
★★★★☆

The actual facilities are nice: steam room, mist room, relatively spacious jacuzzi, sauna, a quiet room for pure relaxation, and a wide array of toiletries with high end hair products from Pureology and Texture. And hair bands. Who ever thought of hairbands? That's the attention to detail that I enjoy. However, one of their showers kept going freezing cold on me, like when you're in the shower of a place with cheap plumbing and someone in the building flushes a toilet. You don't expect that at a spa.

My masseuse was a 1/2 hr late b/c there was no communication between her and the front desk. The massage itself was very soothing, and she was very good at tailoring the massage to focus on the spots I needed, while still paying attention to the full body aspect. I highly recommend Christine as your masseuse. Oh, and they heat your bathrobe when so when you're done with the massage, you can put on a warm robe.

The front desk attendant seemed...incompetent. Nice guy, but didn't know what the heck he was doing. I wanted to reschedule an appointment, not a confusing task. But after 10 minutes of explaining myself over and over again, him doing it, but doing it wrong, I got so frustruated I said that I'd deal with it over the phone, and walked out.

Would have been a great spa experience, but they seem new and need to figure out how to run things a little smoother.

 

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