Spa Etiquette

Spa Etiquette 101: From Tipping to Stripping

If you are a first-time spa-goer, then spa etiquette can somehow make you feel nervous. That’s understandable. You don’t need to worry, though. You just need to understand some of the basic spa etiquette rules as you are looking for another alternative of cosmetic surgical procedures without having to go under the knife. Here is a basic list that will help you manage your expectations, and feel at ease.

Arrive on Time

How early should you arrive? Well, it depends on what kind of spa it is, and the treatment you are having.

If it’s you are visiting a basic day spa with no sauna, steam room and other amenities, then 10 to 15 minutes ahead of time should be enough. There should be ample time for the initial paperwork.

If it’s a bigger, upscale day spa, destination spa or resort spa, you should be there at least 20 to 30 minutes in advance. More people will definitely be there, so you need a lot of time to fix the paperwork, tour the facility and change into your spa robes.

Is there a shower in the spa’s locker room? If there is, then you should use it before your treatment. Showering will help you freshen up before a massage or facial procedure.

The bottomline? Make sure to arrive a little bit early for more relaxation time.

Never Hesitate to Tell Them About Your Requests and Requirements

Are you planning to have a basic massage?

Then, the receptionist will ask you if you would prefer a female or male massage therapist.

If you don’t have any specific preference, you’re most likely to get a male therapist, since most people prefer female professionals.

During your massage session, feel free to tell them anything that will help improve your overall experience, may it be about quieter music, more pressure, less pressure or a blanket. They are trained to respect every client’s boundaries, so they would definitely listen to your specifications. For your therapist, your comfort is the most crucial thing.

Turn off Your Mobile Phone and Other Gadgets

Don’t let anything ruin your pamper day. Note that most spas don’t allow mobile phones. Of course, you wouldn’t able to relax if you keep on checking emails and answering calls. Even the person next to you will also be distracted.

Talking In Between Treatments

During the treatment, you can either talk or keep quiet. Whatever you choose, the therapist would follow your lead. If you want to share something, they will surely get the hint and engage in conversation.

The Massage Nudity Question

Massage is typically done nude.

However, in American spas, you are covered with a clean sheet at all times. Only the focus area of the body is exposed. If you want to keep underwear on, of course you can. The thing is, it can limit the massage therapist’s access to some of your muscles.


If it’s your first time, and if you’re very nervous about being massaged by a stranger, you can ask the spa attendant about other treatments where you keep all of your clothes on.

Canceling Your Spa Appointment

If you know you’re not going to make it to your scheduled appointment, then tell the spa as soon as possible. Remember that most of them have 24-hour cancellation policies.

Spa Tipping

This one really depends on the spa. In most day spas, a 15 to 20% tip is accepted. Various resort spas, on the other hand, add a service fee—not all of this goes to the therapist. In any case, if you’d like to give your therapist some extra for excellent service, you can.