Basement Grooming, Melbourne

by Glenn Reynolds

NOTE: As of February 2010, Basement Grooming has unfortunately closed its doors to business. This review is left for historical reasons.

Day Spa Review

What lies within
Leaving behind the noisy bustle on mid-city Collins St, I found my way down the spiral staircase to the glass door that separates this dimly-lit subterranean haven from the outside world. Stepping across the threshold, my eyes adjusted to the lighting level to see a sharply designed, comfortable reception area with the affable massage therapist and owner, Nick, offering a greeting.

As I was being shown around, I noticed the dark interior lined with black tiles and leather chairs is at the same time warm and intimate, with a low ceiling, points of light traversing the walls, splashes of bold red and stainless steel features providing visual interest. I was soon to find out that the crew of Basement Grooming designed and built their spa from scratch, coming up with great male-friendly features such as custom built foot baths (large enough for the biggest gent), spacious leather chairs in front of the Plasma TV and larger treatment rooms that have space to breathe. The attention to detail here is meticulous. Basement have thought about everything, down to the clip-on light for filling out their health form.

What’s unique
Undoubtedly, Basement offers a unique “underground bar” atmosphere (no, they’re not licensed), with features and spaces specifically designed for men. Although not comprehensive, the service offering is full, and provides enough flexibility to allow new or experienced spa men to feel at home (NB. they don’t offer hydrotherapy or sauna services). Prices are quite reasonable for the location and services provided. Basement also offer an exclusive, spa-only Babor professional product range. This 50 year-old German brand is only available in a few select locations in Australia, and cannot be purchased over the retail counter.

My spa experience began with a 30 minute warm-up massage performed by Nick. The experience was a little different to usual, as Nick is a remedial massage therapist (as are all massage staff at Basement) and he added some alignment and structural work into the routine. I have to admit, for a shorter massage, it was one of the best I’ve ever had. Nick worked smoothly and succinctly through the major areas of my back and shoulders, massaging and gently manipulating me to unblock tension.

When Nick had finished his routine, I was handed over to Kellie for my Designer Fluid Facial. Basement employ staff for specific roles: massage therapists (with remedial training) and aestheticians. It does feel like you are receiving a comprehensive treatment when each of your practitioners is an expert in the field.

It was a sophisticated facial treatment, one flexible enough to allow the therapist to design the routine and products used to suit the skin of the client. I was informed that my skin was a combination of oily and dry, so this meant balancing the needs of both skin types for the best outcome. Basement refuse to do any manipulations of skin using needles or tools: no extractions or squeezing here. According to Nick, they “allow the products to do the work.” After a comprehensive explanation of the procedure, Kellie expertly performed her designated treatment, and managed to put me to sleep in the process. Suffice it to say that I didn’t have any questions for her, but needed a little shake to wake at the end.

Final Comments
I struggled to find a gripe. The only one I could find was that the rooms were a touch cold for my taste, but it is the middle of winter, afterall. My skin felt clean, fresh and invigorated. My partner noted a new, healthy colouring to my skin that is normally winter-pale at this time of year. I was suitably impressed. The whole experience was relaxed and quietly professional with an eye to details that added polish to the process.

Therapy: designer fluid facial
$110 for 75min

Pros: Great location
Funky and intimate spa, well designed for men
Highly trained professional staff

Cons: None

19/20 “Hip, restorative subterrain”


Basement Grooming

Opening hours:

Monday – Wednesday 10am-7pm
Thursday and Friday 10am-late
Saturday 10am-4pm
Sunday and public holidays Closed

Lower Ground,
178 Collins St,

Tel: 03 9663 7270

*Please Note: This treatment was provided to us at no cost by Basement Grooming for the purposes of review. Although complimentary, this is no way affected the outcome of the review. Our policy is to inform readers of any services provided free of charge.

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