If you’ve never experienced a spa day before, you might not know quite what’s in store. The following guide explains what typically happens before, during and after your selected spa treatments, and what else you can expect from your special day.
You may also find our ‘Spa Etiquette’ and ‘What to Wear and Take to a Spa’ guides useful.
What facilities are available on my spa day?
You’ll see that many of our spa day deals include full access to the spa’s leisure facilities, but what exactly does that mean? While facilities vary between venues, here are a few of the more common amenities.
Swimming pool: Many of our spas have inviting swimming pools for you to enjoy. Usually, they will be indoor pools, but some venues have outdoor heated pools.
Sauna: This is a room in which you relax in a dry heat that can reach up to 100C. Saunas can ease aches and stimulate the cardiovascular system. There are various types of sauna, such as herbal saunas, which infuse dried herbs to add extra wellness properties. Avoid alcohol before using a sauna but drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration and limit your time to as little as five minutes if you’re a first-timer (and never more than 20 minutes).
Steam room: Similar to saunas, steam rooms provide a much more humid experience at temperatures of up to 45C. Steam rooms can improve the circulation, promote skin health, and aid in your post-workout recovery. Aromas or salt might be introduced to further enhance the experience and promote wellness. Again, be sure to drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids to avoid dehydration and limit your time to no more than 15 minutes.
Tepidarium/laconicum/caldarium: Some spas provide alternative or additional heat therapy facilities that are less intense than a steam room or sauna. A tepidarium traditionally has warm stone benches where you can relax in low to mid-humidity at temperatures of up to about 40C. A laconicum provides a milder dry heat than a sauna and is simply a room with heated lounge chairs where you can relax in temperatures up to around 75C. A caldarium reaches up to around 55C with high humidity.
Jacuzzi/hot tub/whirlpool bath: These are large tubs filled with warm water in which you can relax and let hydrotherapy jets soothe away stresses, loosen tight muscles, and ease tired joints. Some spas offer outdoor Jacuzzis and hot tubs, which can be a great way to enjoy some time in the fresh air, while staying nice and cosy.
Hydrotherapy pool: These pools harness the wellness properties of water, with invigorating jets that help to relax the muscles and soothe away any tensions. Hydrotherapy pools are also great for easing stiff joints and improving overall mobility.
Rhassoul (or Rasul) mud chamber: This is a non-therapist treatment, in which you slather yourself with purified, mineral-rich mud and relax in a warm chamber before showering off. It’s great for detoxing and nourishing the skin, as well as being a treatment that you can enjoy as a couple.
Quiet rooms/relaxation rooms: Most spas offer calm spaces in which you can simply relax for a while, usually after you’ve enjoyed your treatments and the other spa facilities. These rooms are ideal for some distraction-free downtime.
Gym/fitness suite: You can find gyms or fitness suites in many of our partner spa hotels and health clubs. These areas feature equipment, such as treadmills, stationary bikes and weights, and some may offer organised exercise classes. Ask the staff for guidance if you’re new to this type of exercise.
Experience showers: These showers combine different temperatures and pressures, along with complementary mood lighting and sound, to offer an invigorating and refreshing experience.
Thermal suite: A thermal suite is simply a range of facilities that harness the power of extreme heat and cold to boost your circulation, encourage relaxation, and provide an invigorating experience. Facilities might include an igloo or ice fountain, sauna or steam room.
Please note that not all spa facilities will be suitable for every guest. Some facilities may be restricted for pregnant women. Likewise, those with skin complaints, heart problems or blood pressure issues are among the groups usually advised to avoid extreme temperatures. Ask your doctor or contact your chosen spa for guidance, and be sure to let the spa know if you have underlying health conditions or have undergone recent surgery.
What happens when I arrive at the spa?
If it is your first time visiting the spa, it is likely you’ll be asked to complete a health questionnaire upon arriving at reception. A member of staff may ask you to remove your shoes and socks and to slip your feet into a pair of slippers while you do this, to encourage you to start relaxing as soon as possible. You may also be offered some refreshments.
Once you’ve completed the requested forms, you’ll be directed to a changing area, so you can put on a robe (with underwear or swimwear underneath). You’ll then receive a tour of the spa’s premises and facilities. Assuming your spa treatments are booked for later on in the day, you’ll have an hour or two to enjoy the spa’s swimming pool, steam rooms, gym, and/or dining areas*.
Be sure to ask when, and where you need to be, in order to avoid missing or delaying any of your treatments. You may need to be in a waiting room 10 minutes before your facial, or back massage, for example.
For advice regarding when to arrive at your chosen spa, please see our Spa Etiquette guide.
What can I expect during my spa treatments?
All good spa treatments start with a consultation. The therapist will ask you questions about the condition of your skin, in order to tailor the treatment to your specific needs. The therapist should then talk you through the stages of the treatment, explaining the purpose and benefits of each.
If you’re unsure which garments you need to remove for any treatment, simply ask the therapist. Pedicures and manicures usually require nothing to be removed at all, while you may need to strip down to your underwear - and/or utilise the industry practice of ‘draping’ - for a full body treatment.
To learn about draping - and to discover why fears surrounding nudity at spas are largely unfounded - please see ‘Will I need to get naked during my spa visit?’ within our ‘What to Wear and Take to a Spa’ guide.
During your treatments, you can engage in as much, or as little, conversation with the therapist as you wish. Never be afraid to ask for anything which may make your experience more relaxing or comfortable.
What happens after my treatments are complete?
Once your treatments are complete, you can spend the rest of your spa day using the health and fitness facilities included as part of your package. You can have a dip in the pool, detox in the sauna, unwind in the relaxation room, or get your heart pumping in the gym* - it’s completely up to you.
You may be able to book additional spa treatments for later in the day, depending on the availability of staff and rooms. Booking treatments additional to those included in your selected package in advance of your spa day is strongly advised however, to avoid disappointment and to save money (advance bookings are often, but not always, subject to a discount).
While you’re free to leave the venue at whatever time you’d like, many spas ask their guests to sign out at reception before doing do, for fire safety reasons and to ensure all applicable charges are settled. You may like to explore attractions and sights local to the spa once you have departed - if so, you may find our city guides useful.
What else can I expect from my spa day?
Depending on the package and type of spa selected, you may receive a free glass of bubbly and/or a light lunch, or dinner, as part of your spa day*. If you do not have these inclusions, you can spend an additional sum to enjoy an alcoholic tipple, a classic afternoon tea or a meal at the spa’s bar or restaurant facilities, if available (advance reservations may be required - enquire with your selected venue in advance).
Before you leave the spa, you may be asked if you’re interested in buying full-sized versions of the products used as part of your treatments, or paying to become a full-time member if you’re visiting a club spa. Do not feel obligated to part with your cash if you do not wish to - you won’t be the first, or last, guest to refuse these upsells.
*Spa inclusions and itineraries vary - always check individual package listings before booking.
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