Spa Etiquette

Spa Etiquette

Spa treatments…a blissful experience!

There is a movie that many can relate to, “Confessions of a Shopaholic.”  My confession is similar; I’m a spa-a-holic. Spending a day relaxing in a luxurious spa is delightfully divine.  My ultimate goal is to experience the ambiance of the top spas around the world.  I often share with others that I will exchange etiquette services for spa treatments.  The outcome of treating oneself to spa treatments can be extremely exhilarating if all follow these simple guidelines of spa protocol. 

Be Punctual

Arrive to your spa appointment in enough time to relax and unwind before your treatments.  Spas begin and end services on time and your treatment can be shortened if you arrive late.

Most upscale and resort spas offer guests complimentary usage of amenities such as a fitness center, swimming pool, hot tub, sauna and steam room.  Do not shortchange yourself.  Take advantage of these offerings before and after your treatment or just relax in the serenity of the lounges.


Shower before your treatment and don’t wear scented lotions, perfumes or colognes.  Other guests may be allergic or sensitive to these scents and it can negatively affect their experience.  It is highly recommended that you shower after indulging in a pool or hot tube that uses chlorinated water. Massaging this chemical into your skin is not good. Remember to sit on a towel and wear water shoes when using the sauna and steam rooms. 

What Not to Bring to the Spa

This goes without saying, turn off your communication devices (cellular phones, laptops, etc.) or better yet, leave them in a secured area.  Never disrupt the tranquility of the facility.  A variety of magazines are available in most spa lounges.

Expensive jewelry should not be worn.  Most likely, you will be requested to remove it prior to your service.

Make Your Preferences Known

Spas provide their guests with choices and make a sincere effort to accommodate wishes.  Communicate in advance (usually when booking your appointment) if you would prefer a male or female therapist.  Treatments can be modified to your taste.  It is perfectly okay to share your preferences with the therapist during treatment such as pressure levels, room temperature, lighting, scents and music levels.  You can talk in a low voice while you are being serviced or choose to be quiet.  This is your special time and your comfort is the priority of the staff.


The standard tip is 15 -20.  Sometimes the gratuity is included in the bill, but not likely.  If you had more than one therapist, tip each separately.  Spas often supply envelopes for tipping and they should be left at the reception desk.  It is highly recommended to use cash when leaving a tip.

After Your Service

Be sure to take all of your personal belongings. Tidy up your dressing area and return borrowed amenities. Then for the remainder of the day, drink plenty of water to replenish your body.

Have a favorite spa or treatment to share?  Let us know in the comment section below.

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Tina Hayes is the founder and owner of The School of Etiquette and Decorum in Antioch, CA. As a passionate instructor dedicated to providing quality and professional etiquette training to her clients, Mrs. Tina Hayes promotes the awareness that social presentation and behaviors are important to be successful in today's society for all ages.