What to do and what not to!
Photo credit: costanavarino
One of the best things about going on holiday is the pampering and me time that it affords and for many this involves a spa treatment… or two or three. Most chic hotels and resorts have their own spa centres that tempt you with relaxing therapies and exotic sounding products. Depending on where you are (and which country you are in), treatments can range from reflexology and Reiki to Turkish baths and jacuzzis in the snow. But before booking a spa treatment, potential customers should be aware that there is such a thing as ‘spa etiquette’ and that this applies not only to the therapist, but also to you.
Photo credit: Raffi Asdourian
Time waits for no man
And neither do therapists. If you are late, besides being disrespectful to others and having no time to wind down, you will also have your session cut short. Be sure to arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled treatment to fill out any necessary paperwork and familiarise yourself with the amenities. If the spa offers a sauna, hot tub or pool that you would like to take advantage of pre-treatment, then allow yourself more time before your session. Also bear in mind that although you are not expected to jump off the table as soon as your therapy is done, spa etiquette says you should not take more than about five minutes to leave the room as it has to be prepped for the next client.
If you are unsure, this is furthermore a good time to check with the receptionist regarding tipping. While some resorts include a gratuity fee in their charge, others don’t and the percentage of tip may vary from one place to another.
Did you say disrobe?
Well, a back massage through three layers of clothing just wouldn’t be the same now, would it? Here it is generally best to follow the lead of your masseuse as they will inform you as to how much or how little attire you have to lose. You will then be given a robe or instructed to lie under an ample, fluffy towel so no need to worry about anything hanging out. Saunas and steam rooms have their own set of rules but do take a towel to sit on and remember that European countries are less conservative when it comes to nudity so expect to see it and that it may be of the co-ed variety. Conversely, spa etiquette in countries such as those that follow the Islamic faith has strict modesty rules that need to be respected.
While there is no need to scrub yourself to within an inch of your life, some common courtesy in this regard is expected. Try not to put whiffy feet on the massage table and pop a breath mint before a facial as no one else wants to know you had creamy garlic prawns for lunch. Many spas have showers where you can freshen up and start your relaxation process before you treatment begins. If you have had a dip in the pool or hot tub then a shower is also important to remove the chlorine from your skin.
Mobiles are a no-no
Leave your technology in your hotel room or at the very least switch it off. Telephone calls taken in a spa are frowned upon and loud talking is also against spa etiquette. Your ‘spa voice’ should be used at all times and noisy, unattended children should also be left in your hotel room, with your partner or a childminder of course. It is similarly a good idea to ditch the bling as your treatment will most likely require you to remove it.
Silence is golden
Speak or don’t speak, the choice is yours. Here your masseuse will follow your lead and politely entertain chit chat or respect your wish to zone out and chill. You should, however speak up if you are not comfortable or want more or less pressure applied.
This may sound like a silly point but it is actually very important. Know what your spa session is going to involve and prepare yourself accordingly. Don’t over cleanse before a facial, as your therapist will want to see your real skin; don’t dare sauna before a wax, it will only lead to pain and perhaps even tears; don’t have a tanning session before a body scrub and always blow your nose! Yes, that’s right, just do it; noses have a strange way of dripping and becoming itchy at the most inconvenient time. If you are sick don’t go at all as this is one situation where sharing your germs is not considered caring.
Finally and most importantly, relax, enjoy and submit yourself to the nurturing spoil. A quiet mind and loose limbs will only enhance your experience.
Now that you have your chic spa etiquette down, here are a few suggestions for pamper sessions with a difference.
Massage Maldives style
The AySpa at Ayada Maldives takes a holistic approach towards spa treatments and combines beautiful tropical vegetation with serene tranquillity and inspired natural products. They have eight exquisitely appointed treatment villas some with their own hydrotherapy baths. Hydrotherapy takes advantage of the physical properties of water such as pressure and temperature for pain relief and healing. Their signature treatments are designed for body balance and tailored to individual needs. The spa also offers a unique maternity option that targets areas prone to stress and tension during pregnancy, helps restore skin elasticity and reduces fatigue. Mind, body and spirit unite and align in this peaceful, gorgeous setting.
When in Turkey
If you haven’t experienced a Turkish bath yet then you just have to try it, and where better to do this than in Turkey of course. The Istanbul Edition’s ESPA has developed a range of treatments that include the hamman or traditional Turkish bath. This invigorating body ritual warms you in a steam room before you are given a stimulating body scrub, wrapped in body clay, and ends off with an indulgent aromatherapy body massage.
The Hotel Golderner Berg in Oberlech, Austria offers another unique and specially packaged spa experience. Not only do you get to enjoy the spa but you can plan your entire stay at the hotel around improving your wellbeing, health and mindset. Enhance your holiday by embracing the Golderner Berg’s concept of inner and outer balance based on good diet, exercise and body treatments. The programme blends exercise of your choice with good, pure, natural food and specialised body treatments ranging from detoxes to beauty sleep enhancers. Combine this with crisp, refreshing mountain air and you are bound to go home feeling better than ever.