Destination And Resort Spa Etiquette

The difference between a destination spa and a resort spa, is that resort spas simply offer spa treatments though the resort may also have a gym and activities, and most restaurants in resorts provide healthy options on their menus. A destination spa is more like a training camp where clients have their needs assessed upon arrival and are given a program of very specific meals, activities, educational classes, and therapeutic spa treatments.

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When you are at a resort you will meet other guests, but you won’t find the same camaraderie you experience at a destination spa. Depending on the size of the spa, you may end up in classes, on hikes, and at dinner with the same people and really bond over the shared experiences. You will also find that there is a high staff-to-guest ratio, and the staff is enthusiastic and committed to ensuring you challenge yourself.
Destination Spas

Before your trip, you will receive a questionnaire to complete so that a curriculum can be set up specific to your needs. Upon arrival, you will very likely be given an orientation, tour of all the facilities and an itinerary with all your scheduled meals, classes and spa treatments.

You will be given detailed instructions on how early to arrive, what to wear and have the opportunity to ask any questions.
Resort Spas

• Book your activities and spa treatments in advance because they usually fill up fast. When you arrive at your resort, visit the spa and enquire whether they advise avoiding alcohol, vigorous activity or sun prior to any of the treatments you have booked. Let them know if you have any medical conditions. If you have a preference, let them know you want a male or female therapist. Ask for a tour of the facility and find out what is included in the price of your treatment.

• Don’t wear jewelry to the spa, leave it, and any other valuables, in the hotel or room safe.

• Plan to arrive 20 minutes early so you aren’t rushing and stressed. Spas usually have a very relaxing vibe, and you can often enjoy a cup of herbal tea in the waiting room and relax before your treatment.

• Don’t get stressed about having to get naked, therapists are trained to make you completely comfortable and keep you carefully covered during your treatments. You are always welcome to keep underwear on if your own modesty requires it and they can work around bra straps though you may wish to wear an older one because the oils and lotions will stain.

• For those fully comfortable with nudity, always carry a towel to sit on in the sauna or steam room. The spa will provide plastic sandals to prevent the spread of fungus. Shaving your legs in the steam room is not ok.

The spa is a tranquil place so don’t bring your cell phones. Conversations with therapists or other guests should be at low volume so as not to disturb anyone. This is not the place to wear heavy perfume. Most spas use products with some fragrance and adding a blast of your favorite perfume will be offensive to others.

Cancelling a Scheduled Service

Call immediately if you realize you won’t be able to make it to your appointment. Most places will not offer a refund for last minute cancellations because they cannot rebook the time slot.


Find out the tipping policy from the resort or hotel. Some destination resorts have incorporated a service charge into the price and discourage tipping. Most resort spas accept tips at the reception desk, and 15 to 20% of the price of the treatment is customary; however you are free to leave more or less depending on your satisfaction with the service.