SPA Basics

Visiting for the first time    Spa Etiquette    Things you shouldn't do at the Spa

Visiting spa for the first time can be a very interesting experience however we would like to give you some basic advices as not to make your first time a stressful one. After all, spa must be all about pleasure and not worries. Of course, in every country spa rules might be slightly different than in the others. For example, nudity is much more tolerated in Europe than in US. Knowing every custom in every country might be quite hard, but if you will remember our basic advices, they should be enough not to land you in a difficult situation.

Visiting for the first time

First rule – relax. There are many people that come to spa for the first time. You are not alone at this and staff will probably have a pretty good idea how to deal with first timers. So don‘t hesitate to ask if you have any problems or doubts about spa. It is also a good idea to inform that you are new at spa, so the staff could add extra time to answer questions and maybe offer a tour.

It‘s also never a bad idea when booking an appointment to explain your preferences as detail as possible. For example, do you want male or female therapist. For some people biggest area of concern is taking clothes off for a massage. While modesty is always preserved during massage, some might feel more comfortable with the same sex therapist.  

So don‘t forget to arrive 15 minutes earlier if you want to enjoy facilities like hot tubs or steam rooms. Moreover, a hot shower before a massage is always a good idea. You should not be late for the treatment – arriving a few minutes to the waiting room (or medidation) is recommended. The therapist will come and pick you up to escort to treatment room. If you are having a massage a therapist will leave for you to take off the robe and get underneath towel or sheets. He will also leave once again after the massage is over.

After the treatment you can return to the meditation lounge to rest or use the facilities, like hot tub or sauna, if you don‘t have another appointment. You should not leave just after the procedure – take time to relax and enjoy this wonderful moment. 

Spa Etiquette

Knowing the basic etiquette of the place where you are going is always recommended. To help feel at easy we have compiled some basic spa etiquette. You don‘t need to memorize everything word to word, but having a general idea what to do at spa will come handy.

Turn off your cell phone. It is very hard to relax when you have to answer calls, check the email or text someone. This also goes even for getting a pedicure. If you want something to kill time with – bring a book or magazine instead, at least it won‘t distract the staff.

Arrive on time. The exact arrival time depends on what kind of spa it is, how well you know it and what kind of experience you are hoping for. 10 or 15 minutes might be enough for a day spa without any amenities like steam or sauna when coming just for treatment. However, if you are visiting much more advanced spa like upscale day spa, a resort spa or a destination spa, you should come at least twenty of thirty minutes earlier. Not only you could use local amenities to relax before a massage or facial, but also there are more people in larger spas.

Take a shower. If you see a shower in the locker room (and there should be one), it’s nice to use it before treatment. It will refresh you before the treatment and this step is even more important if you have used hot tub or pool before (because of chlorinated water).

Explain your wishes. Don’t be shy and explain what do you want at the reception. Basic questions, like what therapist, male of female, you prefer, will be asked by receptionist, however if you want something different – it is the time to say that. During the massage you should also feel free  to speak up on anything you want to be different – more pressure, less pressure, quieter music and so on. You came here for a comfort and you should ask for one.

Nudity in spa. Massage is usually done nude, however guests will always be covered with a sheet or blanket – only massaged parts will be exposed. There is always a possibility to keep your underwear, but it will limit the therapist’s access to muscles. Moreover, massage therapists are trained to respect boundaries, so you should not have any problems. But if you insist on keeping clothes on, you should think about other similar treatments with clothes on, like reflexology or Reiki. Thai Massage is also a clothed treatment.

Can I talk? Yes, but it’s not compulsory. The therapist will usually follow your lead, so if you are not talking he will rarely bother you. However, everytime you talk in spa, don’t forget to use quiet “spa voice”, because other people might want calm and peaceful atmosphere.

How much to tip? This solely depends on spa and country. In US day spas 15-20% is usually expected if you are satisfied. Many resort spas add on a service fee, but not all of it goes to therapist, so you can tip him additionally if you want. If you are in a country, where tipping is generally not a common practice, you can rest a sure that therapist will not expect tipping also.

Things you should not do at the Spa

Here are some main things you should not do at any spa around the world. In some countries the reaction of local spa staff might be easier, while in others you can receive quite harsh response. Despite that, not doing things we name will make everything much easier.

Don’t arrive for 1 p.m. spa at 1 p.m. We already mentioned that and should follow this advice, because having time to change, relax and use the amenities will make your stay at spa unforgettable.

Don’t spend your time at spa talking about problems you face in everyday life. No matter what kind of problems are these, but you should leave them outside spa and indulge into treating yourself the best way possible.

Don’t show up sweaty for a massage. Use a shower, because it’s not nice neither for you, nor for the therapist.

Don’t go to treatment directly from the Jacuzzi or pool. Use a shower and wash off the chlorine. It’s not good for your skin.

Don’t talk loud anywhere in the spa and don’t use cell phone in the meditation room, because it disturbs others and keeps you from relaxing.

Don’t expect miracles from your treatment. Spa is not about healing all your wounds in one magic session. You also won’t get rid of all your muscle tension in one massage.

Don’t treat the staff disrespectfully. Acting like a Queen won’t make your life easier at any spa. It’s also hard to imagine best work from the staff, when client is acting like out of this world. Also do not forget to tip.

Don’t come to spa after having a big meal with alcohol right away. Coming “full” will make treatment inconvenient for you. This also counts after the session, when you should drink plenty of water and not beer with a burger.