Those who have never visited a spa before are often unsure about what clothing to wear and what items to take with them. Is it acceptable to arrive at a luxury resort wearing a casual outfit? What type of shoes should be worn? Should spa goers pack their own robe and towels? And are there any items which should be left at home?
Keep reading to discover the answers to these questions and ensure your first spa experience goes to plan. This page also tackles the (largely unfounded) fears newcomers may have regarding spa nudity.
While you’re likely to spend much of your time donning a robe once you’re at your selected spa, choosing clothing to arrive in can seem difficult. Comfort and practicality should be your two main considerations when deciding your outfit.
Both basic and luxury spas want their guests to be as comfortable as possible and so non-restrictive garments - such as yoga bottoms, lounge pants, T-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies - are encouraged at most resorts. Trainers and sports shoes are often allowed too but their use is likely to be restricted to dry areas only, for hygiene reasons.
IMPORTANT: Please check the official website for your selected spa to confirm its dress code before completing your booking.
If you want to travel lightly to a spa day, consider wearing your swimming costume/shorts under your outfit instead of your usual underwear, and wear flip flops to the spa if the weather allows (these can be easily rinsed and worn in most areas of a spa).
Ladies should tie their hair back if possible and arrive makeup free so they are treatment-ready.
NOTE: While those enjoying a spa day will be provided with a locker, it is usually best to leave valuable items - such as electronic devices and jewellery - at home.
*Inclusions and facilities vary between venues and spa packages - always check individual listings.
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At the vast majority of UK spa resorts, nudity is forbidden outside the privacy of guests’ hotel rooms (if reserved). Visitors are expected to cover up using a robe/dressing gown* between treatments and when occupying a spa’s public areas, and must wear a swimming costume/shorts while enjoying the venue’s Jacuzzi and steam room facilities*.
The practice of ‘draping’ meanwhile is often used within treatment rooms to enable full body massages, wraps and scrubs. Draping will see you strip (completely, or to underwear), lie down on a massage table and cover yourself with a large towel, blanket or sheet (the therapist is usually absent from the room at this stage). Once in position, the therapist will carefully move the fabric to expose an area of your body to be treated - an arm, leg, the lower back etc. - while ensuring modesty. Treated areas will be covered before the therapist begins work elsewhere on your body.
Most spas allow guests to keep their underwear on during draping to make them feel more comfortable. Alternatively, some spas may supply you with disposable paper underwear* for hygiene reasons and to protect your own from contact with (potentially staining) therapeutic oils or lotions.
All spas and their staff understand potential nudity can cause great anxiety for guests - even seasoned spa goers can feel uncomfortable in this regard. It is important to remember spas want their guests to feel as relaxed as possible - never be embarrassed to voice any concerns you have about clothing removal during your visit.
You should check the official website for your selected spa to confirm its specific rules regarding nudity. Those who are particularly concerned about getting fully, or partially, naked can choose to undergo treatments which will never involve such, like facials and manicures.