“Pamper your senses in this tranquil haven and leave as a new person.” Sounds great, right? I thought so too when I read it on the website of the newly opened Morpheus Spa, in Macau. A bit indulgent perhaps, but with a short break coming up, I thought, why not? So I booked myself a 90-minute full body “deep relief” massage.

Imagine my surprise when, 10 minutes into the session, I found myself asking the therapist, “Is that drilling I hear above our heads?”

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The dull droning noise was coming from somewhere near the treatment room. The therapist apologised profusely and said she had tried to move me to another room but none was available. She said she hadn’t known renovation work was still going on.

“Of all places,” I said incredulously, “the hotel should have temporarily closed the spa.” The therapist agreed but said it was out of her control. She tried turning up the background meditation music but the drilling drowned it out. Yes, it was that loud.

I should have walked out there and then but thought the noise would eventually stop. But no.After about half an hour, one drill turned into multiple drills. By the end of the deep relief massage, both therapist and client were more stressed than we had been 90 minutes earlier. I decided to pass on the post-treatment refreshments.

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Back at reception, I found an apologetic spa manager who also said the noise was out of her control.

“Please tell your senior management then,” I replied. “Any hotel worth its stars would not have let this happen.”

More apologies.

At this point, any seasoned manager in the hospitality trade would have offered this disgruntled (but reasonable) customer a discount or complimentary coupon to compen­sate for a fault that was clearly theirs. But no, the full charge was rendered, the spa session costing 1,932 patacas (US$240), inclu­ding service charge and tourism tax. The manager did offer me a tube of hand cream and a bottle of massage oil.

What a shame. The massage itself was good but the experience was spoiled by a big racket and bad public relations. As promised, I did leave as a “new person”. An angry one.