Looking for more info on spa etiquette?
Another reason to arrive early and turn off your cell phone is to enjoy the perks of the spa. At the Lodge at Sonoma, they recommend their spa users arrive early so as to have the opportunity to indulge in amenities such as the eucalyptus steam rooms or outdoor hot tubs.
Take it all off?
When you’re led into the changing room of a spa, you’re usually given a key to a locker that holds a robe and slippers. You’re also told to undress, and the question that arises here is, “All the way?” For massages and body treatments, you should take it all off (under-roos, too!). For that modicum of modesty, some spas offer paper panties. They don’t cover much, but make the wearer feel like they still have something on. If this is too much for you, bring your bathing suit to wear.
“Massage therapists and aestheticians are well trained in the art of draping, so they’ll typically only uncover the areas they are working on,” says Lynne Walker McNees, president of the International Spa Association.
For example, when it’s time to turn onto your other side midway through a massage, more often than not, the therapist will raise the sheet or blanket covering you, hold it as a screen between the two of you, and then ask you to turn over.
At the end of the day, it is about your comfort level. What are you comfortable with (or without)? If you’re still not sure, when you call to book your appointment, tell the spa your clothing dilemma and ask what they would recommend.
If you’re having a massage, is the pressure okay? If a water bath is involved, how does the temperature of the water feel? Is it too hot or too cold? Your therapist isn’t a mind reader, so if there is anything they can do to make the experience a pleasant one, don’t be afraid to let them know.
Did you enjoy your treatment? Then let your therapist know with a tip. 15-20% is a standard gratuity of the original spa treatment cost. If you have a gift card that doesn’t cover the whole tip, pitch in the remainder. It’s a nice way to say, “Thank you for taking care of me.”
Also, it doesn’t hurt to ask whether gratuity is included. Some spas, like the Spa at Yellow Creek in Bath, Ohio, include it in the price of treatment. The Spa at Pebble Beach has the same policy. The 20% gratuity is built into the price of your treatment.
Now that you are equipped with tips on spa etiquette, call your local spa to book a session today. Not sure what to pick from their menu? Subscribe to this column today. Together, we’ll look at spas in the US and abroad, signature treatments, standard spa offerings, and what would be best for you.