Spa Etiquette for a Relaxing Day

I am a pushover for a massage and for me, few things are more relaxing than an entire “spa day.” But if you’ve never enjoyed the benefits of a day of pampering, the culture can be a tad intimidating. When you know what’s expected of you while you are there, you will be able to more fully appreciate your relaxing experience. Here are some of my spa etiquette tips to help you best enjoy your day:

  1. Ask questions. When you are making your appointment(s), don’t hesitate to inquire about anything you are unsure or uncomfortable about. If you prefer a female rather than a male, let the scheduler know upfront. Any special requests, such as a female masseuse, or allergies to certain products should be mentioned at the time of the appointment and then again on the day of the treatment.
  2. Arrive a few minutes early. Plan to get there approximately 15 minutes before your first appointment.  You will need to check in and fill out some basic paperwork.  Then you can relax in a designated area and enjoy a cup of green tea or vitamin infused water while you wait for your first spa session to begin.
  3. Respect your surroundings. No cell phones allowed while in the spa, and taking calls before or after your appointment is viewed as rude and prevents you and others from fully enjoying the spa experience. Keep your voice low, unplug and recharge.
  4. Expect to be bare. Professional massage therapists follow strict guidelines when it comes to privacy and the draping of the sheets. What you choose to expose, or not to expose, is up to you. Your comfort is their first priority. Take advantage of the soft robe you are offered to wear around the facility. Therapists typically leave the room and allow you to undress and get situated on the massage table, under a sheet, before they re-enter and begin the massage.
  5. Shhh… No need to make conversation during your massage. Unless you are particularly interested in being chatty throughout your massage, close your eyes, relax and enjoy the relaxing experience.
  6. Be a gracious tipper. Some facilities include the gratuity into the cost of the session. Others offer an envelope at the front desk that you can place your gratuity in. The standard tip is between 15 and 20 percent of the session.
  7.  Walk in fresh and clean. Larger spas will have locker rooms with showers for you to freshen up after a sauna or yoga class, and before your massage. Avoid applying heavy scented cream before your massage.
  8. Take advantage of the amenities. Spas vary in what they offer but some provide shampoo and conditioner, hair spray, tooth brushes, etc. to enjoy after your treatment. Others do not so ask in advance to be prepared.
  9.  Be aware of the spa’s cancellation policies. Things happen and you may find the need to cancel your spa day. Most places will charge a fee if you cancel with little to no notice so make sure and cancel in a timely manner.
  10. Drink lots of water. Replenish and hydrate your body after your massage and throughout the day while enjoying your multiple spa treatments. Don’t forget to have lunch or eat a snack so you don’t experience a lull in your mood or energy level.

Lucky you…enjoy!!!


Diane Gottsman

Diane Gottsman is a national etiquette expert and modern manners professional, sought out industry leader, television personality, accomplished speaker, Huffington Post blogger, author, and the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in executive leadership and etiquette training. Diane is routinely quoted in national and international media including The New York Times, The BBC, CNN, Bloomberg Business Week, Kiplinger, Huffington Post Canada, U.S. News and World Report, and Forbes. She is the resident etiquette expert for two popular morning talk shows, SA Living and Good Day Austin. She has been seen on The TODAY Show, HLN Headline News, WGN Chicago, and CBS Sunday Morning. Her clients range from university students to Fortune 500 companies and her workshops cover topics ranging from tattoos in the workplace to technology at the dinner table and the proper use of social media.


  1. Mary says

    Another excellent article!!! I’m going for a pedicure today and the staff at the spa is always polite and professional, that’s what keeps me going back!

  2. Becky Edwards says

    Thank you for the information. I am planning a couple’s spa day in January for my husband and I when we stay at Ravella. It will be a first for both of us so the tips are greatly appreciated!

  3. Diane says

    Becky, Thank you for your comment. I wish you and your husband a relaxing and wonderful time at the spa! ~ Diane

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