Not knowing the etiquette when visiting a spa can be a source of anxiety for many first time spa-goers, but once you know the basics, there’s really nothing to be worried about. Read on for the answers to some common questions regarding how to make your trip to the spa memorable for the right reasons…
What time should I arrive?
If you’re just going for a treatment or two at the day spa, aim to arrive at least 15 – 20 minutes beforehand. If it’s your first visit, you’ll be asked to fill in some health forms and declarations, so be sure to give yourself enough time to fill these in and get changed and relax in the waiting room before your treatment.
If you’re going to a larger resort spa that has amenities such as a pool or a sauna that you can use before your treatment, be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to make the most of these. You’ll want to shower afterwards so aim to arrive at least an hour before your treatment time if you’re planning on taking a dip in the pool.
Can I use my phone?
Many spas won’t allow you to take your phone inside (especially not into treatment rooms). After all, your time at the spa is all about escaping the outside world and falling into complete relaxation. Some spas may allow you to use your phone in reception or in some public areas, but be mindful to keep phone calls to a minimum, and use a quiet “spa voice” to avoid disturbing other guests.
What should I wear?
Probably the aspect of spa etiquette that’s most nerve-wracking for first time visitors is what to wear (and if the answer is “nothing”). You will likely spend the majority of the day in a robe and slippers, and then in underwear, swimwear or nude (but under a sheet or towel) during your treatments. Your therapist will tell you how you’re expected to dress for a treatment, but remember that your day is all about being calm and comfortable – so if you’d rather remain covered, that’s completely up to you. For more information about what to wear during your spa trip, read our previous blog here.
How to prepare for your treatment
Other than making sure you have enough time to wind down before you step into the treatment room, there are a couple things you might want to do to prepare.
If you’re getting a facial or an exfoliating treatment, check with the spa when you book if there’s anything you need to do (or avoid doing) beforehand. For example, men are often advised to shave their faces at least 2 hours before getting a facial to avoid any irritation.
Also be sure to take a quick shower before you have your treatments – it’ll make for a much better experience for both you and your therapist if you have freshly cleaned skin, and it’ll help any skincare products or oils absorb and work more effectively.
And if you have used the spa pool or sauna before your treatment, jumping in the shower is especially important – you want the chemicals from chlorinated water to be washed off, not massaged in!
Do you talk during treatments?
Whether you chat to your therapist during a treatment is entirely up to you (although it’s not recommended during a facial). Therapists are trained to follow your lead, so if talking would make you feel more at ease, feel free to start a conversation. Or alternatively, if you’d rather be quiet and just focus on the treatment, this is completely fine too.
Just remember that even if you don’t want to have a conversation during a treatment, be sure to communicate with your therapist any areas you want to focus on or if you’re experiencing any discomfort at all. If the pressure is too hard during a massage, for example, speak up and let your therapist know – they can then easily alter the pressure to make the experience more comfortable and more enjoyable.
Am I expected to leave a tip?
Think of tipping at a spa like it is at a restaurant – welcome, but not expected. At a day spa, you might want to tip between 10 – 20% of the overall price, but some resort or hotel spas may include the tip in the cost of a treatment, so be sure to check this first.
If you do choose to leave a tip, leave it at reception (most spas will prefer cash tips, but some may also accept card payments) instead of handing it directly to the therapist.
Are you ready for your spa visit?
If you’ve booked your first trip to the spa, we really hope you enjoy it, and that these tips help make your visit seem a little less daunting.
And if you do love it, and you’d like to relive the experience all over again, check out which locations and treatments are available through My Spa Pass! We’ve teamed up with loads of great spas all over the country to help you get the ultimate spa experience at a lower price all year round.