Spa Etiquette


These spa etiquette tips from our experts are designed to make your trip to any spa a relaxing rejuvenating experience. This guide will teach you how to make reservations, what to wear and what to expect. Please keep in mind, each spa is unique, and you should always check ahead, if you are unsure or of any thing. Spas are designed to be peaceful calm experiences, knowing how to spa will insure that you always have the most Spavelous experience. 

 Common Spa Questions and Answers

Stream Room Etiquette

The steam room aids in detoxification by creating artificial fever. It speeds up circulation and body cell metabolism thereby causing toxic wastes to be expelled through the skin.

Shower both pre and post your steam room experience.  When you go into the room, you should have a supersize bottle of water with you.  You may also want to bring in a cool compress for your forehead, and a rolled up towel for under your neck if you choose to lie down.  

For best results, wrap yourself in a clean towel and sit or recline in a hot, but not painfully hot, steam room. Gently massage any painful areas. Cool gradually after leaving the steam room.   

Do not wear a bathing suit as the dyes can get into your pores.  The wrapped towel covering all private areas is adequate.  In Unisex Steam room or Saunas it is best to wear a bathing suit or adhere to the policy of the spa.

To close your pores after a steam room visit, shower with cold water.

Drink plenty of purified water while in the steam room. A typical stay should not exceed from five to ten minutes.  

There are contraindications for using a steam room such as pregnancy, high blood pressure and others so check with your Doctor prior to use.

Advance Booking

For resort and hotel spas best to book 1 – 2 months prior to your visit, as theses resort spas often fill up fast, book as far in advance as possible. Prefer a quieted spa experience; avoid the crowds by reserving a treatment during off-peak hours or during the week. Check to see if your spa offers a discount for off peak days or hours.


Most spas will provide spa bath robe and sandals for your treatments. Some treatments require special attire so ask when you book your service if you need to bring any other attire, change of undergarments. If you are having a pedicure and will be in your resort wear, make sure that your pant legs can be pulled up over your knees and make sure that you have sandals that will allow your toes to fully dry. In addition to a swimsuit, bring attire for other activities you plan to enjoy: light, comfortable attire for fitness classes, gear and boots for hiking, and sneakers for exercise class along with another pair of comfortable shoes.


Be sure to check with the spa before your visit as policies do vary. To avoid cancellation charges, best to schedule your appointment on a day when you do not have other things planned. It is also best if you are traveling to a spa from a great distance to not book any services the first day you arrive. Flight delays and other unforeseen circumstances may cause you to lose your service and be responsible for payment. If you are feeling ill prior to the day of your service, best to reschedule within the spas cancellation policy.

Cell Phones

Leave phones and pagers at home or in your room; or turn them off before entering the spa.


Check with the spa to see what their policy is. A spa is a great place to get a little alone time, so it is best to not to bring children under the age of 16 unless prior arrangements have been made.

Communicating Your Preferences

Be sure to speak up. All aspects of treatment can be modified to your taste: amount of light, music level, room temperature, and whether or not you choose to have a conversation or enjoy the treatment in silence. During a massage, let the therapist know if the pressure level is what you prefer. During body treatments or facials feel free to ask questions about the products, procedures or expectations of the service. If any part of your experience is unsatisfactory, first tell the therapist. If the response is not helpful, speak to a manager or the owner of the spa, if available.


Through out the spa, locker room area, relaxation room and elsewhere, all conversations should be kept at a low volume.

Eating and Drinking

Drink plenty of water prior to and after all treatments. Avoid the consumption of alcohol on the day of a treatment. Food should be consumed at least an hour before a treatment. If exercising or using the steam room or sauna, drink a minimal of one glass for every fifteen minutes you indulge.

Environmentally Friendly

Use only the number of towels necessary: washing them uses water and electrical, which are limited resources in some communities.

Exploring the Facility

Most resort and hotel spas have more amenities than the average day spa. Before you arrive for your spa day at the spa, have them send you an activity schedule, so you will not miss anything that might interest you. Feel free to request a facility tour before your treatment. The tour will acquaint you with your surroundings and introduce you to the spa facilities, such as saunas, steam rooms, Jacuzzi, relaxation rooms, fitness room and fitness classes. Generally, their use is complimentary if you are having a treatment, though there may be a charge at other times.

Gender of Therapists

Most spas will rotate and balance which therapists do your treatment. If you prefer either a male or a female therapist, you need to express this at the time you book the service. If this is a return visit to the spa and you have enjoyed the services of a particular therapist on a prior visit, feel free to request that person again.


Ask if gratuities are included, though that is not usually the case. If not, 18 – 20 percent is customary, but you may of course leave more or less, depending on the quality of the service. Leave the tip at the reception desk when you pay your bill rather than giving it directly to the therapist. If you receive multiple services from different people (a massage therapist, a facial esthetician, etc.), leave a separate tip for each of them.

Medical Conditions or Allergies

Inform the spa before booking a service of your medical condition or allergic concerns so you may select the right service for you. Some services may have contraindications for who should receive them. Also, tell the technician if you are wearing contact lenses before you have a facial.

Spa Services and Alcohol May Not Mix

Alcohol should never be consumed prior to a spa appointment. When suns bathing before a service use a proper ph to avoid sunburns. After exfoliation services, sun bathing is not recommended. After a spa service, you should not indulge in heavy physical activity. Check with the spa for their recommendations for approved after spa activities to insure you receive the maximum benefits of your service.


Check with your spa to see what their policy is. All therapists who are professional will properly drape you so private areas are always covered. Feel free to disrobe to your comfort level. Therapists should not be present while you are getting on or off the table. In the steam room or Jacuzzi area. Bathing suits are certainly optional.


It is best not to wear perfume or cologne in the spa area or to exercise classes. Some people may be allergic and the scent may take away from the relaxation and comfort of the spa.


Unless your pet is for guide purposes, pets are best to stay at home. Check with the policies of your spa.


Arrive at least 15-30 minutes early so you can enjoy an unhurried transition into the spa and shower if necessary. Spas start and end all treatments on time. If you are late, your treatment time will be shortened. Check with the spa to see their specific policy. You should exit the treatment room within 5 minutes of the service. Should you require additional relaxation time, enjoy the relaxation areas of the spa.


For the most part spas are non-smoking establishments. Check with the spa to see if there are any designated smoking areas before your visit if this is a concern.


Men should shave their face at least 2 – 4 hours before a facial. Woman should shave any body parts at least the day before.

Using Shared Facilities

Always shower before entering a Jacuzzi, swimming pool, steam room, or sauna. When enjoying the sauna or steam, always sit on your towel and wear the plastic shoes provided by the spa. Women should not shave their legs in the steam room. If you shave in the shower, please place razors in the trash receptacle.


Should be left at home or in the resort safe. Most spa treatments will require the removal of jewelry.

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