Spa Etiquette: Top Ten DO'S and DONT'S
Spa Etiquette: DO'S
After working at high end day spas, salons, and destination spas, I have compiled a list of Do's and Don'ts for the first time spa visitor as well as for the well traveled, well seasoned spa aficionado. These are from my personal experiences of witnessing spa faux paus and clients whispering questions of what to do.
First, be glad to know that once you become familiar with these, it is the same everywhere you go, whether it is a top-notch destination spa or the simple massage establishment down the street.
1. Do make a reservation. This really assists with planning for giving you the best experience . Sometimes it just cannot be avoided in walking in on an impulse....and you just want that massage right now!!! It also allows the potential guest to be informed of specials the spa might be having that day, and when to arrive. Sometimes, you find the spa is closed because of a bridal party or another private event.
2. DO plan to arrive 15 minutes early. The purpose of the treatment is to help the guest R E L A X. From the time they check in to the time they check out is the entire spa experience. If a guest is running late, the service runs late and now the guest is STRESSED. This allows time for the guest to mentally get ready for the service such as getting a tour of the facilities, finding the locker, turning off the cell phone, changing clothes, enjoying the refreshments, and filling out client information forms. I worked at a spa that gave a free salt scrub and foot bath to those that came in early.
3. Do remove jewelry. It is best not to come in with any jewerly on especially for facials and massage services. The massage is not too comfortable when rings, necklaces, anklets, and bracelets are worn...not to mention the jewerly will get oily. Also, many pieces of jewelry were found in lockers,robe pockets, and in the rooms. For Facials, the necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings all need to come off to avoid getting product on them. Facials include massage of the ears, neck and chest as well as the arms and hands. Treatments including Galvanic currents require that ALL jewerly be taken off (including navel rings, toe rings, etc) to avoid possible electrical shock.
4. DO Communicate with your service provider. If the massage if too firm or not firm enough, let them know. Even if it is several times during the treatment. The service provider does NOT know how it feels for the client. Remember, THE GUEST is paying to relax so let them know. If there is a specific area that is painful, or ticklish COMMUNICATE that to them. If you are very pleased with the service, if a certain massage technique felt wonderful, let them know. It makes them better at what they do.
5. Do try to remove all clothing for the massage. The areas that are being massaged are the only areas that are exposed, everything else is covered. It is very difficult to massage a back when it is inhibited by a bra strap. Of course, if you feel uncomfortable taking off clothes, then only do what is comfortable for you.
5. Don't speak too loudly. Remember that sometimes our regular voices carry even more in quiet places. Remember to speak in hushed tones in the hallway and in areas where the treatment rooms may be located, including the relazation areas. Just imagine trying to relax and hearing laughter, loud conversations and phone conversations. The service provider is trained NOT to stop the service to quiet other guests. This is NOT their primary duties and sometimes the reception staff cannot hear it because they are on the other side of the door to the reception area.
6. Don't forget your personal hygiene. This may be quite obvious to most but one would be surprised how many people smelled like they haven't showered, how many people forgot to shave/wax their legs, wash their hair, and trim their nails. It is both embarrassing to the guest as well as to the service provider. One massage therapist got a scrach from a guest who had long toe nails! Also, if you have Athletes foot, shingles, or any open wounds, let the massage therapist know...you could be transmitting contagious skin diseases to many, many people!!
7. Don't worry about conversations. The massage therapist/skin therapist is trained to take the client's lead. If a guest is chatty, the therapist will happily engage in conversation. If the guest wants to be quiet and have silence, there will be silence. The therapist also knows that the guest is coming to relax, whether it be to chat or not. They will not take it personally.
8. Don't eat heavy meals before a service. To curb an appetite and also enjoy the service fully. Have a small easily digestable snack such as fruit, yogurt, or a slice of cheese. Eating heavy meals and lying down soon afterward can cause gas, nausea, or an upset stomach.
9. Don't get up right away. After a 50 minute massage or facial, try to relax for at least a few minutes after the therapist has left the room. Don't get up too fast otherwise, you might feel dizzy or even faint (it has happened). Relax, slowly come back to real life, take a few deep breaths and then get up. Five minutes is sufficent for most people.
10. Don't forget to thank your therapist. Just like most service oriented industries, gratuity is involved. A typical gratuity ranges from fifteen percent to twenty five percent. If a gift card was used, a standard tip on the cost of the service is given. If the gift card giver included gratuity, the recipient of the gift will be notified. If a coupon or discount was used, tip on the original price. Don't short change the therapist when the business made the decision to lower the price. He/She is still performing the same service and should be paid accordingly. In this industry, most service providers are not compensated hourly but by service so please be sensitive of that. Of course, if the service was sub par, then it is at the guests discretion on how it should be handled.
So remember, whether the service is at a five start resort, a fancy day spa, or with the massage therapist at the local gym, all do's and don'ts are pretty standard .
Have a wonderful time in your spa experience!! Any other questions you may have, please feel free to contact me. There are no stupid questions!
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