[The Spa Spy]
You’d think a trip to the spa would be a relaxing experience, a time to forget all your worries and chill. But for some it’s a minefield… What do I wear? What if I feel fall asleep and start snoring? What if the therapist is horrified by my stretch mark (singular). We spoke to Lisa Stokes, celebrity makeup artist, beauty and travel writer and founder of The Spa Spy, the hotel and spa recommendation website, to discover her tips for a super-chilled, stress free visit...
1. Book before you go. Good spas get booked up in advance, so if you’re off on a spa jaunt try and book your treatments before you arrive at the resort or hotel. You can find spa treatment menus on most of the properties’ websites.
2. Choose your therapist. If you prefer to be treated by a male or female therapist state this when booking. You may turn up for your treatment to find your therapist is of the opposite sex. Some people feel uncomfortable, don’t say anything and endure their treatment in a state of terror!
3. Get there early. Try to arrive 45 minutes before your treatment. This will give you time to fill out the health questionnaire, use the spas hydro/thermo facilities and relax prior to your treatment.
[The Spa Spy]
4. Health questionnaire. All good spas will require you to fill out a health questionnaire before any treatment. This will cover any allergies or health problems you may have and ensure you are treated accordingly. Be sure to let your therapist know if you may be pregnant as some oils will be unsuitable for you.
5. Hygiene. Always shower before and after you use the spa facilities, and before a treatment.
6. Attire. You should be provided with a robe, slippers a towel and disposable underwear. If you feel you prefer to wear your own underwear you can do so, just let your therapist know. For body treatments you are usually required to remove everything apart from pants. For facial treatments you can wear a gown or underwear.
7. Discuss. Before your treatment talk to your therapist about any concerns or preferences. If there are any areas you would like them to avoid, the type of pressure you would like for your massage, if you would like some relaxing background music, or if you’d like your therapist to be silent during the treatment. Most good therapists will ask you these questions, but if they don’t then you should ask them. Don’t be shy about this. The whole point is to enjoy your treatment! You should never feel uncomfortable. If you have any problems or you are not enjoying the treatment you should let your therapist know.
[The Spa Spy]
8. Dignity. Your therapist should leave the room whilst you change and will ask you to lie on the treatment bed and cover yourself with a blanket. The therapist will only uncover the parts of the body they are working on. All other parts should be covered.
9. Snoring. Don’t worry about falling asleep during your treatment. It’s normal!
10. Après treatment. When your treatment is over you should be shown to a relaxation area, usually you will be offered herbal teas, juice and water. Some treatments can leave you feeling slightly dizzy or disorientated so it’s important to take 15 – 30 minutes to relax and acclimatise.
Top Tip: Tipping. It’s at your discretion but I always tip if I feel I’ve had a good treatment. Therapists work hard for little pay. I usually tip between £5 and £10 depending on the treatment.
Relax, enjoy and don’t feel intimidated. Remember that therapists treat people of all shapes and sizes, young and old. Forget about others for a few hours and concentrate on you. It’s your time to relax, enjoy and reap the benefits of a luxury spa experience.