How to Spa

Spa etiquette and everything you need to know about what to expect from the spa experience.

Arrive Early

During Spa Week, many spas are booked solid. If you arrive late, your treatment will most likely be cut short. You must arrive 15-20 min. early to fill out paperwork, change your clothes and secure your belongings. Almost every single spa we have pulled information from requires that you arrive 10-20 minutes before your scheduled treatment time.

You don’t want to start off your spa experience in mad dash to get naked or be annoyed at having lost 15 minutes off your facial. It will best serve your peace of mind to arrive early. Most full spas will have a comfortable waiting room with refreshments  for you to relax in while you wait.

If the spa has a steam room, sauna, hot tub or other specialized facilities, get there even earlier to enjoy a soak or steam.

If you are at a nail or hair salon that offers spa services, or if  you are only having a mani/pedi, the requirements are usually less strict; you may not have to fill out paperwork, but check with the spa to be sure. If you know you will not have ample time before your appointment, arrange to fill out the intake paperwork ahead of time.

Cell Phones and Noise

Almost every spa has the same no cell phones policy. You will be asked to turn off all electronic devices upon entering the spa.  Loud conversations are disruptive to other guests and any chit-chat with your partner or BFF should be kept to a minimum as well.

What to Wear

If you don’t arrive in loose, comfortable clothing, bring some with you to change into after your treatment(s). Your treatment should leave you feeling revitalized and you don’t want to ruin the experience by buttoning yourself up in restrictive clothing.Also, if your treatment is heavy on the oil, there may be traces left on your body and you don’t want that rubbing off on to your best Tori Burch trousers.

If you are having a mani/pedi remember to bring flip flops! Most spas will have flip flops to sell to you, but you might end up paying $5 for 99 cent store flip flops.

If you are having a body treatment such as a wrap and are unsure if the spa’s disposable undergarments will fit, leave your best La Perla at home and make sure to wear undergarments that you don’t mind getting soiled with oil or products. (That’s if you don’t want to go commando!) The disposable bra provided is usually a bandeau-type strapless bra, so it does not fit larger breasts very well.

What Not to Wear

Lots of jewelry. You will need to remove rings, bracelets and ankle chains for mani/pedis, necklaces for facials and almost all jewelry for massages. Most spas do have lockers for you to secure your belongs, but to keep your mind at ease, it is best to not bring valuables to the spa in the first place.

What to Take Off & Nudity at the Spa

This is probably the issue that creates the most anxiety for spa goers, especially spa virgins.

At a full spa, you will be provided with robes and (usually) disposable underwear for treatments that require you to remove all your clothes. There will also be a private changing area or locker rooom.  The therapist will pick you up in a waiting area or lounge and take  you to the treatment room, leave you to hang up the robe and  get under the sheets and return in a minute or two, always knocking before entering. Your privacy is respected at all times.

Most smaller spas may not have full facilities and will have you change directly in the treatment room.

Massage: With the exception of Thai massage, generally you are nude during the massage, but always covered with sheets. Only the body part being massaged is exposed. The therapist holds the sheet so you’re covered when you turn over. You may leave your own underwear (panties) on if you are uncomfortable with being fully nude or wearing the disposable underwear. The therapist may even indicate to you that this is an option, however, they may not be able to massage your hips as well and will stay clear of that area not wanting to get oil on your garments.

Facials: Facial wraps (like a towel wrap with Velcro) or conventional robes are provided for facials. You will only need to take your top off to change into the wrap or robe and can leave trousers on if you feel more comfortable that way.

Body Treatments: For body wraps and scrubs you will be provided with disposable undergarments. (See above note about sizing.) If you are having a scrub, expect to be fully exposed at some time during the treatment.

Vichy Shower: Generally you will be draped with two towels, one over the hip area, and for women, one over the breasts. However, due to the nature of the treatment, expect some full exposure at times.

Take Your Time Does Not Mean Take a Nap

The therapist will usually tell you to “take your time getting up” when your treatment is finished. This means you don’t have to jump up so fast you get woosy or rush so quickly out of the room you forget your undies. However, it does not mean lie on the table for more than 5 min enjoying your post-treatment bliss. The room must be prepared for the next guest and during Spa Week most spas have a heavy schedule.

Children and Teens

Most spa have a policy of not treating anyone under the age of 16-18 and will not allow children and teens in the spa.