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Spa Etiquette Tips

Updated on March 30, 2014

Recently I was at my Nail Shop getting my No Chip Manicure. Since I was off that day, I made my appointment at the time the shop opened so I could get in and out. While there, a customer entered and specifically asked for one of the more popular technicians. The technician indicated that she had an appointment scheduled at 10:30 am. It was 10:10 at the time. The customer allowed another tech to perform her manicure. The customer was in a hurry and didn't want to wait.

I looked at the clock at 10:30 a.m. and there was no customer. The 10:30 appointment showed up at 11:00 a.m. She offered no reason. I discreetly watched the expression of the other techs when she walked in the door.They were making glances toward the technician to see how she would react. The technician patiently waited on her, but I thought to myself, how rude and inconsiderate! I'm sure everyone else felt the same way.

A trip to the day spa, massage parlor, nail shop or hair salon should be a relaxing, blissful experience. If it's your first visit, it can be slightly nerve-wracking not knowing what to expect. The following tips on spa protocol will remind you to mind your p's and q's even while you're being pampered.

Be on Time

Maybe you're saying to yourself the customer in the story above called and let the technician know she would be late. No. The business phone did not ring, nor did she talk with anyone between the 10:10 am and 11:00am. There was enough time for the tech to take care of the other customer who requested her. When going to spa services like this, please be considerate of the workers' time. If you're running late, many times you can lose as spas often can't push your appointment back more than 10 minutes. Do whatever you need to do to be early!

Need to Cancel?

Be conscious that short-notice cancellations may incur a charge, especially if you've left your credit card number at booking. Know the spa's cancellation policies when you book and give as much notice as possible if you change your appointment plans.

Massage Modesty

Are you too modest for a massage?

Nudity is probably the aspect of spa-going that causes guests the most anxiety. Let's be serious--baring it all to someone you've just met can feel awkward. But keep in mind that most therapists go to great lengths to maintain guest modesty. They will step out of the treatment room to allow you to disrobe and get comfortable under the sheet on the massage table. If you're uncomfortable about being in the buff, you don't have to undress completely; it's perfectly okay to wear underwear while having a massage. Second, there are select treatments for which spas will often supply disposable undergarments.

Male or Female?

It's up to you. Spas make every effort to accommodate guest wishes in this regard.

Your Spa Etiquette - Kathy at OHM SPA

Be Considerate

No Phones

Your cell phone should be turned off and kept off. How inconsiderate it is to hear phones ring and listen to A & B conversations while you are trying to have a relaxing and calming moment.

Say Yes to Gratuity

Leaving 15% to 20 % is customary. Tips should be left at the reception desk. They will be forwarded to the therapist. At salons and nail shops, you may give your gratuity directly to your technician. If you receive services from more than one therapist, leave a separate tip for each one. Also, more often than not, spa staff appreciates when the gratuity is left in cash. For this reason, always check with your spa prior to paying.


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