“I really want to book myself a spa day – everyone raves about how lovely it is to go to a spa and what a relaxing time they’ve had. But I’ve never been to a spa and I haven’t got a clue what to ask for. I don’t want to sound silly – what should I do?”
If you’ve never been to a spa before, it might feel like a daunting experience. What should I wear? Where do I need to be at what time? And will I even enjoy it?
First thing is to decide on where you want to go, but that can be a tricky decision if you have no idea what you can expect from a day at the spa. The facilities and treatments available can vary, and what’s the right choice for you will depend what you want from your trip – whether that’s a relaxing day with girlfriends or romantic mini-break with pampering treatments at a luxurious bolthole.
Most hotels above a certain size will have a spa facility, with several treatment rooms plus a pool and thermal suite with sauna, steam room and hot tub.
Hotel spas are the best option if you’re looking to combine a spa break with other things, like fine dining and golf.
However, that’s not to say you have to be an overnight guest to enjoy a hotel spa – most hotels welcome day guests in their spas, to enjoy a treatment or simply relax in the facilities.
Destination spas or health farms are usually much bigger, with lots of treatment rooms and more in the way of thermal facilities – think several, scented steam rooms, perhaps a large hydrotherapy pool, possibly a rassoul or hammam.
Alongside treatments like massages and facials, the treatment menu at a destination spa might include longer retreats that focus on diet, fitness or general wellness and include several spa treatments.
Another avenue to consider is the many gyms and health clubs that now have spas – professional spas with a long list of high-end treatments. If you live near one of those, you can get really good deals on a day that will give you the run of the spa facilities plus maybe one treatment while you’re there.
Some spa taster packages give you the chance to have a simple introduction to the spa, and use the facilities like the pools, sauna, steam room and hot tub. This might be a good way to test out a nearby spa and find out a bit more about the different treatments they offer before booking yourself in for some real, hands-on pampering.
For example, Champneys offer Spa Evenings at its various spa across the UK from around £40, which include a three course meal and the chance to explore the spa and ask about the treatments while you’re there. Or Ragdale Hall in Leicestershire offers a Twilight Taster Evening for £86 that also includes a treatment.
If you’re booking a bigger package, look at what’s on offer – some packages will include two mini treatments, so you can have a taste of different things, whereas others will include just one, longer treatment, so you can really indulge. There are so many types of spa packages on offer, from couple’s breaks to hen packages to afternoon tea spa days. And if you can be flexible when you go, for example on a weekday rather than peak weekends, you snag some even better deals.
If you’re stumped on where to start, call the team at SpaSeekers, who will be able to help you find something that’s right for you, for a great price.
When it comes to booking treatments, knowing what to choose can seem like a mammoth decision if you don’t know where to start. A massage is the perfect introduction treatment if you haven’t visited a spa before. Whether you’re after something to restore sore, aching muscles, relieve the knots and tension you’ve been carrying around, or just to soothe your senses with aromatic oils, a massage will help.
They’re easily tailored to different tastes and physical needs and will leave you feeling relaxed. Spas are the perfect, tranquil environment in which to have a massage (top tip: 10 minutes in the sauna beforehand is a great way to prep your muscles to get the maximum benefit from your massage treatment).
If you’re not sure a massage is right for you, maybe stick to something more familiar, like a manicure or a pedicure. Spa manis and pedis tend to be a more luxurious version of the nail treatments you have at a high street salon: a soak, nail- and cuticle-tidy up, and polish, but often with an indulgent foot or hand massage and possibly other extras like hot stones to ease tension in the muscles or a mask to rehydrate and nourish the skin.
Check out SpaSeekers’ Treatment Guides, which will give you a taster of what you can expect once you’re in the treatment room. Or alternatively, call a member of the team at SpaSeekers for their expert advice.
Be sure to arrive in plenty of time, as the last thing you want on your relaxing spa day is to be rushing around. You can call ahead to check what time you can access the facilities from, to let them know if you have any specific requirements or queries, or to ask any questions you might have.
In terms of what to bring, don't forget to pack your swimming costume, but everything else you need – towels, robe and slippers – should be provided by the spa.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, whether that’s on the phone beforehand or when you arrive. Not everyone has been to a spa before, and in fact, many spa staff will expect it to be your first time and will happily explain where you need to go and when, and what to wear.
So, what are you waiting for? Book your spa day, now.