A trip to a destination spa should be a relaxing, rejuvenating experience, but for those unsure of spa etiquette, it may anything but relaxing. Following are some tips from Spa Finder to make the most of a destination spa experience:
Visiting a destination spa is joining others of like mind who are focused on improving their health through lifestyle changes and self renewal. For the first-timer, a destination spa experience might at first be daunting but a little preparation can go a long way in creating a stress-free vacation.
Destination spas are a total get-away spa experience where guests typically stay for a lengthier period of time – four to ten days are common. Therefore, destination spas ask for an advance deposit and prefer guests make their reservations many months in advance. This helps the property prepare and schedule programs, treatments, rooms, and other amenities. However, destination spas can also accommodate last-minute reservations.
Again, because destination spas build their programming around their guests, if a potential guest must cancel a reservation, to do so as far advance as possible. Cancellation policies will vary, however it is not uncommon for a destination spa to apply a deposit to a future visit in case of a cancellation. Last-minute cancellations may lose a deposit altogether.
Typically located in beautiful scenic environments, the drive to a destination spa from an airport or other location, allows new guests to begin unwinding from the cares of daily life. Some destination spas will provide transportation. Others will provide recommendations for arriving at one's own expense.
While making a reservation with a destination spa, inquire about pre-arranging spa appointments or other activities. While this is often done after arriving at the destinations, pre-booking is a good idea. Guests usually reserve more strenuous activities for the morning, and spa treatments in the afternoon.
Think casual when packing for a destination spa. Pack the basics, such as workout clothes, warm-up suits, swimsuits, and other necessities. Most importantly, pack appropriate footwear for exercising, including white-soled shoes for gym activities and hiking shoes for outdoor activities such as walking and biking. Leave items such as expensive jewelry, perfume and loads of makeup at home.
Evening attire will vary from spa to spa. Some properties welcome guests in their robes or warm-up suits at mealtimes. Occasionally, guests at a destination spa might wear something more pulled together at dinnertime or the last meal a group is together.
Guests will discover a myriad of things to do at a destination spa. These include hikes, exercise classes, mineral essential spa treatments, cooking demonstrations, education, and more. It's a good idea to consider the goals for a trip such as this and than plan accordingly. Be careful about overdoing it, especially on the first day. Take the opportunity to try something new. Use the first day or so to ease into the schedule and take on the more challenging activities toward the end of the stay.
Keep in mind that meals vary between destination spas. Some are vegetarian or vegan. Others may serve alcohol and caffeine – but most do not. Some limit the intake of food while others offer guests as much as they want. Inquire about a destination spa's meal program before deciding which spa to visit. But also go into the experience with an open mind and willingness to improve eating habits.
When scheduling spa treatments, make sure to request a male or female therapist if there is a preference. Feel free to ask questions during the treatment or let the therapist know of any concerns or requests. In community facilities such as a pool, soaking pool or whirlpool, always shower first. Guests taking a sauna or steam use their towels to sit on as well as plastic shoes provided by the spa. Typically guests using the wet rooms do so in the nude with a wrapped towel, but if modesty is an issue, feel free to wear a swimsuit.
Prior to the visit, check which gratuities are included with services and which are not. At US spa destinations, it's customary to tip therapists, aestheticians, beauty personnel, and others who provide services. Porters and others who help provide services outside the spa should also be tipped. In other countries, customs for gratuities can vary. Make sure to check ahead prior to a visit.