More than any other type of vacation, a spa holiday means close human contact. It’s a holiday
that first-timers need to feel comfortable with, and one that meets and exceeds the expectations
of seasoned spa-goers. Value, therefore, does not necessarily come with the lowest price. The true value of a spa vacation comes not simply with the treatment but with the total spa
experience. Here are 10 tips to help you get maximum value from a spa vacation.
1. Remember that all spas are not created equal. Be sure to select a spa that suits your personal tastes, budget, interests and the occasion - be it romantic rendezvous, gal pals getaway, or solo sojourn. If you are a spa diva but your significant-other prefers manicured greens to the perfect pedicure, select a spa that suits both your interests.
2. Look for a spa that offers lots of extras. For instance, some offer workout facilities, wet and dry saunas, hot and cold plunge pools,
aromatherapy rooms (for inhaling such essential oils as eucalyptus for energizing), comfortable and quiet lounge or waiting areas,
and complimentary classes such as yoga or Pilates.
3. Ask about complimentary amenities in the locker room: robes, slippers, lots of towels, hair dryers, and bath, shower and beauty products. In the waiting or lounge areas, there should be a choice of herbals teas, bottle water, fresh fruit or other healthy goodies.
4. Arrive early and stay late. Did you know that at most spas you can book just one treatment and stretch the experience out into a full day? Swim, steam in the sauna, work out in the gym, relax and read in the lounge before or after you have your treatment.
5. When you are making a booking, ask about packages. Often spas offer a better deal if you book two or three treatments together – say, massage, facial and pedicure.
6. When you’re still in the research stages ask a spa receptionist how long a one-hour treatment really is. At many spas a one-hour treatment is really just 50 minutes with 10 minutes left for the therapist to clean up and turn-over the room. At other spas is a good 60 minutes with 15 minutes for the spa therapist to prepare the room for the next client.
7. Find out what little extras a treatment includes. Many spas today enhance basic treatments: a head massage included in a body treatment, or a hand or foot massage included in a facial.
8. Ask if the spa “ambience” is carried over into other parts of the inn, hotel, or resort. If a property truly wants to cater to its spa guests they’ll make the effort to reflect the philosophy or mood of the spa so there is no harsh and uncomfortable re-entry into the “real world.” For instance, are there spa-quality amenities (higher-end shampoos, conditioners, bath products) in the guest rooms? Is there a place to enjoy a spa meal in your robe?
9. Make sure you select a spa with experienced, qualified therapists. A knowledgeable, nurturing therapist, passionate about his or her “art” can make or break a spa experience. The best way to ascertain this prior to a visit is with recommendations from those who’ve been there, or through media articles written by professional spa writers.
10. Keep in mind that a spa treatment – any spa treatment - is not simply a case of “one size fits all.” Every treatment can, and should be, tailored to your specific needs and preferences. True value is never having to hear the words “I’m sorry but that’s how we do it here.” If you don’t like something, speak up and let the therapist know.