Tips for Your First Spa Visit

Here are our tips for a smooth ride on your first spa adventure.

Decisions, decisions

It’s best to stick to basics on your first visit and opt for a Swedish massage or custom facial. A good massage therapist will ask you about any areas of muscle tenderness or soreness and then ease you into a massage pressure that you’re most comfortable with. Likewise, a skilled aesthetician will analyze your skin and customize the facial to best treat your skin’s condition. Let the aesthetician know of any medications you’re taking or known sensitivities. If you’ve never had extractions before, give them a whirl but let the aesthetician know if you’re uncomfortable.

To robe or disrobe

The biggest sticking point is how to far to go when it comes to disrobing. Here’s my rule of thumb: I always stash a two-piece bathing suit in my spa tote and if I have the slightest amount of discomfort with my body on a particular visit, I strip according to my comfort level. For wet room body treatments, I usually wear my bathing bottoms just out of shear modesty but it’s easier for the therapist if you’re in the buff. Therapists learn some pretty nifty towel tricks in their training and your private parts remain private throughout the treatment. Same rule applies to massages. For facials, I’ll usually lose my top to avoid any mask remnants and tuck my bra or bathing suit straps out of the way. But bottom line, there is no wrong or right; it’s what you’re comfortable with. And when you make your appointment, let the spa know if you’d prefer a male or female therapist.

The big tip-off

Tipping is easy. True spa girls never gyp the hand that soothes them. Depending on how happy you were with the service, tip between 15 and 20% of the treatment price. I usually approximate the tip before my service because of that post-treatment wooziness. One caveat: some spa packages and gift certificates include a gratuity so be sure to ask at the reception desk whether yours does or not. If it doesn’t and you had more than one treatment, ask for a tip envelope for each therapist and tip each accordingly.

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