When you finally escape the office for that long-awaited getaway, certain activities are probably at the top of your relaxation to-do list. Sleeping in and getting a tan might top the list, but there’s a good chance that “get a massage” or “hit the spa” also make an appearance on that list. And for good reason. A trip to the spa, whether at your hotel or somewhere nearby, adds a healthy dose of much needed relaxation and pampering to your getaway.
And while one could argue that simply getting to the spa is a welcome respite from the stresses of everyday life, there are a few ways that you can get the most out of your spa experience.
Book in Advance
There’s a lot to be said for spontaneity while you’re on vacation — that last minute side trip to an attraction or a spur-of-the-moment decision to try bungee jumping could be the highlight of your vacation — but doing a little bit of pre-trip planning ensures that you get the experiences you want. If your vacation just won’t be complete without a beachside massage or the spa’s signature treatment, make an appointment before you leave home. That way you know you’ll have that experience, instead of simply staring longingly at the massage cabana while you hope for a cancellation.
Splurge on Treatments You Wouldn’t Normally Get
Most resort and hotel spas offer a wide range of services, from manicures and pedicures to deluxe skin treatments and luxurious massages. Before you arrive, take a look at the spa menu (most are available online) to get an idea of the types of services available and what you might enjoy. For example, spa hotels in Las Vegas offer a wide range of decadent and unusual treatments that you won’t find anywhere else — like the cucumber green tea facial at the Red Rocks Casino Resort Spa or the rose petal wrap at Spa Mandalay. So before you request your usual French manicure, consider something a little out of the ordinary that will make your spa experience a memorable one.
Customize Your Package
Most spas offer package deals featuring several services at a slightly reduced rate, allowing you to indulge in several hours of pampering. But don’t be afraid to ask for changes or substitutions to packages to create the experience you want. You may wish to exchange a facial for a longer massage, for instance, or replace a body treatment with a pedicure. In most cases, as long as the services you’re requesting are comparable in price and duration, the spa will be willing to accommodate you. Just be sure to ask about substitutions ahead of time, when you make your appointment, to ensure that the proper technicians are available to provide the service.
Whenever you visit a spa for the first time, you’ll most likely be asked about your medical history and any injuries, allergies or other concerns that you have. It’s important that you be honest and upfront with the provider, or you could risk serious reactions or injuries. For example, some spas use tree-nut oil-based products for massages or skin services, but to someone with a serious nut allergy, coming in contact with those products could prove disastrous. Ask about the products used when you make your appointment, and make any allergies or sensitivities known beforehand.
Avoid Medical-Type Services
While it might be tempting to splurge on treatments that promise to leave you looking younger or firmer in just a few moments, if those treatments seem even remotely medical; i.e., they involve injections, lasers or require any type of anesthetic, you are better off waiting until you get home where you can see your doctor. Spa technicians may be highly trained and licensed, but because some treatments come with side effects and may carry serious risks, certain services are best delivered under the care of a licensed doctor. Not only can your doctor provide care based around your own medical history, you can recover in the privacy of your own home. When you are on vacation, you want to be able to go out on the town and have fun — or at least be seen in public — and in some cases, extreme spa treatments cause redness, swelling and bruising that you don’t want captured forever in your vacation photos.