Day Spa Etiquette

Jul, 08, 2012

For many, the spa experience can be a stressful one, but it shouldn’t be. It’s not the dentist’s office! Each day spa is unique, but they all have one thing in common: They’re there to give you peace and serenity. Remember the 3Rs: Rest, Relax, Rejuvenate. For optimum spa pleasure, follow the guide below.

  • Decide ahead of time whether you prefer a male or female massage therapist. You will be asked when you make your appointment. Let’s face it: massages do require a certain amount of nudity, so you want to feel comfortable at all times. Of course, if you have a therapist you’re comfortable with, by all means request him or her.
  • Book your spa treatments in advance to get the best times and therapists.
  • If you are pregnant or have a medical condition, be sure to mention it when you book an appointment. Some treatments may not be advisable for you.
  • Leave all jewelry and valuables at home. Spas should be stress free.
  • Be punctual. Arrive at least 15 minutes early so you can enjoy your time in the spa. If you’re late, your treatment time will be shortened.
  • If modesty is an issue for you, avoid the saunas, which may be enjoyed either in a bathing suit or with no clothing at all. Check the spa policy.
  • If you must cancel, give the spa as much advance notice as possible. Be sure to ask if your money will be refunded, as cancellation policies vary.
  • Be sure to speak up if you have questions about your treatment. Your therapist will enjoy knowing your thoughts and clarifying any issues you may have. If any part of your experience is unsatisfactory, tell the therapist right away.
  • Avoid shaving one-day before/ after your scheduled appointment, particularly if you’re receiving a facial or body wax.
  • Drink lots of fluids, especially water, prior to your appointment.
  • Be courteous. Turn off all electronic devices before entering a spa.
  • Fifteen to twenty percent is a customary gratuity, but you may leave more or less, depending on the quality of the service. Leave the tip at the reception desk when you pay your bill rather than giving it directly to the therapist. If you receive multiple services from different people, leave separate tips for each of them. Lisa Mirza Grotts is a recognized etiquette expert, an on-air contributor, and the author of A Traveler’s Passport to Etiquette. She is a former director of protocol for the city and county of San Francisco and the founder and CEO of The AML Group (, certified etiquette and protocol consultants. Her clients range from Stanford Hospital to Cornell University and Levi Strauss. She has been quoted by Condé Nast Traveler, InStyle magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times. To learn more about Lisa, follow her on and

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