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Spa Etiquette and Manners

First-time spa goers sometimes feel awkward because they don't know the etiquette and protocol of spas and spa treatments. These tips will answer some questions, help you relax, and get the most out of your spa time. Enjoy.

• Arrive at least 30 minutes before your spa appointment so you have time to check in, shower, change into a comfy spa robe and slippers and relax. If you plan to use the hot tub, bring a bathing suit to the spa. If the spa has a lounge with snacks and tea; a steam room, sauna or hot tub, plan to arrive early to relax you before your massage or other treatments. Feel free to return afterwards to continue enjoying all of the amenities of the spa.
I remember a delightful hot tub in the Ritz Carlton, Cancun, I longed to step foot in but had neglected to bring my bathing suit. Boo hoo.

• Spa goers can choose to have their a massage in the nude or draped with sheets while on the massage table. Either way, the massuese leaves the roo, closes the door so you can slip under the sheets. Privacy is observed at all times as the sheet always covers the client except for the part being massaged. But if you prefer, keep your underwear on. Or, opt for a Thai Massage or reflexology and keep all of your clothes on.

• During treatment, stay relaxed. If you’re uncomfortable with the masseuse' pressure, music (I like jazz), or the room temperature -- ask the therapist to change whatever is bothering you. Guesswork just won't work!

• Always have a massage before a facial, and any body treatment before your a massage.

• Some therapists like to chat; some clients do, too. But if you want a quiet time-out from the hustle of the world, politely tell the therapist you want to “chill,” and don't feel apologetic. It's not your job to entertain the therapist. Sometimes I forget that.

. Finally, at the end of your session, if the therapist says, "Take your time getting up," just stay for a few minutes. Ask the therapist to write down the products used in your treatment; sometimes you will get a free sample, but usally you can purchase the same products at the lobby desk or gift shop.

Payment can be made at the beginning or end of treatment, but make sure the tip is included on the form. If not, quietly give your therapist a tip before you leave the treatment area; I usually give at least 20 per cent, but sometimes even more.

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