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The Experience

Depending on the type of Spa you are visiting, the experience may vary slightly, however, for the most part, there are some basic stages that are somewhat universal. The Chart below provides you with the ability to understand each part of the experience, the different spaces and activities it may include and how you can maximize your visit.

Experience & Space Experience and Tips to Maximize Your Experience
Make an Appointment All spas require a reservation or appointment. If you are staying at a resort, hotel or destination spa, you can make this appointment while you are at the property or ahead of your stay. However, if you are going to a spa that does not have overnight accommodations, call ahead to book your appointment.Tips:

  • Get Inside Scoop: Before selecting your treatment, ask the Spa Manager which treatments are most popular and who are the most popular therapists at the spa. Don’t ask which treatments or which therapist is best, as they will most likely tell you everything and everyone is great.
  • Book Time: Ask the spa if you can book time instead of specific treatments. This commits you to the time but not the service(s), allowing you to be more spontaneous in choosing what feels right at the moment when you arrive.
Check-In Just like at a hotel, there is a check-in process at a spa. Even at Destination Spas, Resorts and Hotels where you check in for your stay, you will most likely have to check-in for your treatments.Note: Some spas are now booking time instead of treatments. If you do this, this is when you can have a consultation with a therapist or consultant to discuss options and schedule treatments.Tips: Tipping: Although unlikely, if payment is requested at this point during your visit, request to leave the tip at checkout. That way, you can be sure that your tip reflects the quality of the experience.
  • Tour: If you have never been to the spa before, an attendant will show you to your locker and will provide you with a tour of the facilities.
  • Locker Area: Once you have checked-in, you will most likely enter a locker area, generally referred to as the ‘woman’s or men’s spa,’ where you can change and store your valuables.
  • Clothing: Most spas provide a pair of sanitized spa sandals or slippers and a key to a personal locker that holds a fresh robe.

Tips: Clean off: Depending on the time of day and the type of treatment you are getting, take a shower before, especially if you are getting a massage. Showering rinses off any sweat and oils, preparing your body and skin for the treatment. It is also respectful to your therapist.

  • Some larger spas offer you extra amenities and facilities (sauna, steam, Jacuzzis, water circuits, mineral and mud baths) with your visit.
  • Some will provide access to these facilities for a flat fee, even if you don’t get a treatment. Why is this good? Because you can get a lot of healthful benefits from these amenities at a lower cost than a treatment.
  • These ‘do-it-yourself’ or self-treatments give you ways to relax or rejuvenate without the help or cost of a therapist.


  • Call ahead: Prior to arriving at the spa, call and ask what facilities they have so that you know how far in advance of your treatment you would like to come
  • Loosen Up! It is often recommended that you take saunas or steams prior to your treatment so that you loosen up muscles and decompress, maximizing the effects of the treatment..
  • Waiting Area: Most spas ask that you wait in a designated ‘waiting area’ or lounge, where a therapist will meet you and escort you to the treatment room.
  • Aromatherapy: Some spas incorporate aromatherapy bars in the waiting area, allowing you to choose a scent for your treatment while you wait.


  • Allow extra time to wait. Often spas make an effort to make the waiting lounges experiences within themselves with aromatherapy, relaxing music, soft lighting, a beverage and/or a snack bar, magazines, and more.
  • Enjoy anytime! These spaces can be used regardless of when your treatment or service is scheduled.
Treatment / Service Each treatment, therapy and service has different experiences and processes. (Refer to the Treatments section for more detail). That said, most treatments will include the following:

  1. Greeting and Consultation: The therapist greets you and escorts you to the treatment room. She will talk about the treatment, options and what you can expect.
  2. A private moment: If your treatment requires you to disrobe, the therapist will leave the room to allow you to undress and get positioned as she instructed you to. If not, then the therapist might leave you for a moment to allow you to get settled into a position or designated place in the room.
  3. Treatment: The therapist will return and deliver the treatment. The treatment should last the full time quoted on the menu.
  4. Ending and Adjustment: When the treatment is over, the therapist will signal you in a gentle way (a soft phrase, a light touch, a rain stick, etc). They will then leave so that you can redress or adjust to the service being over.
  5. Exit Room: When you leave the room, the therapist will be waiting outside, often with a cup of water to re-hydrate. They will escort you back to where they picked you up.


  • Allow extra time to wait. Often spas make an effort to make the waiting lounges experiences within themselves with aromatherapy, relaxing music, soft lighting, a beverage and/or a snack bar, magazines, and more.
  • Enjoy anytime! These spaces can be used regardless of when your treatment or service is scheduled.
  • Do it Yourself: Soaks in Jacuzzis and taking a sauna or a steam after a treatment can keep you relaxed longer, as well as add some holistic benefits to boot. Just be sure not to over do it and to keep yourself hydrated. Check with your therapist to ensure that it is advisable.
  • Get Ready: If you are completely finished using the spa, you can shower, dress and get ready to be out and about in the world again. Many spas offer amenities like hair dryers, lotion, and other vanity necessities to make getting ready more convenient.


  • Drink lots of water: This is one of the most important parts of post-treatment. It is likely that you lost a lot of water, released toxins and drained lymph nodes, all requiring hydration and flushing of the system to ensure that the treatment or therapy is most effective.
  • Prepare: Prior to your visit, call and find out what amenities are offered in the locker areas. If you are going somewhere afterwards and want to look your best, you want to be sure that hairdryers and other necessities are available.
  • Clothing Return: Once you are completely dressed and done using the spa facilities, you will check out. You can leave your used robe in a ‘used-robe bin’ and used towels in a ‘used towel bin.’ Leave both your shoes and locker-key with the attendant who greeted you in the locker area.
  • Retail: Often therapists will recommend products. You can purchase these products from the retail section of the spa.
  • Pay: Depending on whether you paid upfront or not, you will settle the bill.

Tips: Provide feedback: If for any reason you are unsatisfied with your treatment or the facility, vocalize your concerns to the manager. They need to know what guests experience and whether or not the spa is meeting guest expectations.

Inside the Women’s and Men’s Spa

Depending on the type of spa and its size, what lies inside the women’s and men’s spas (also known as locker rooms) can vary. Some are very elaborate and others are very basic. However, below is a list of the various amenities that one might see and experience once inside:

Locker and Grooming Areas:

  • Toilets /Vanities / Sinks /Changing Rooms /Showers /Lockers
  • Beverage stations with Water, Coffee, Tea and Juice
  • Healthy snack stations (nuts, fruit)
  • Dry Grooming Area (Often supplied with grooming tools:
    • Hairdryers, Hair products
    • Razors, Shaving Cream, After Shave
    • Makeup Remover
    • Sanitary Napkins/Tampons
    • Moisturizer

Wet Areas:

Many spas have wet areas in the women’s and men’s spas, which give you an opportunity to relax and administer ‘do-it-yourself’ treatments. These may include:

  • Steam and/or Sauna Rooms
  • Jacuzzis, Cold Plunges, Water Circuits, Experience Showers, Hot Springs, Mud Baths
  • Meditation and Relaxation Lounges
  • Aromatherapy Bar

Many resort and hotel spas allow you to use these facilities for no additional charge if you are getting a treatment. However, if you are interested in using the facilities, but do not want a treatment, you will most likely have to pay a fee for the day. Destination Spas are different in that when you check into the property, these amenities and others are generally include.

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