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A Guide to Spa Etiquette & Best Practices

Whether you spend your day in the steam room, sauna, massage table or wrapped up in seaweed, you can guarantee that you’ll leave refreshed and relaxed to the max. While choosing services from the spa menu can be confusing for spa noobs, spa etiquette can be even more so. Why is it so quiet? Can I talk at all? What do I wear? How much should I tip? Ahh.. so many questions!

This step-by-step spa guide will answer these questions for you so you can turn up and tune out!

• Before you arrive, visit the ATM.
• Review the spa menu ahead of time.
• Preparing for your day, show up early, shower, stay comfortable, and forgo your accessories.
• Don’t be afraid to direct your masseuse or technician.
• Tip and review afterward!

Before you arrive:

1) Head to the ATM. Cash tips are appreciated, so grab some ahead of time. Many spas allow for tip on charge cards, but some do not. To prevent oily bills or ruining your nails rifling through your wallet, place the cash in easily accessible envelopes.

2) Review the spa menu before you arrive so you don’t get sticker shock and also so that you can call with any questions you may have.

3) Check out the spa website for monthly specials and deals. Most spas have great monthly or seasonal specials that can save you money, and also introduce you to services you might not otherwise try.


1) Show up early. Aim for 25-30 minutes before your appointment. Use that time to confirm the services you want and get acclimated to the spa’s environment. Many spas have amazing amenities that you may want to take advantage of before your services.

2) Shower. At home or in the locker room, shower before your spa service. This serves two purposes. One, a hot shower starts the relaxation and circulation process. Two, it’s a hygienic courtesy to the person giving you a massage or facial. Additionally, if you’re enjoying a service that involves a water feature this serves as a hygiene courtesy to other spa goers.

3) (Un)dress in confidence. Don’t feel the need to undress beyond your comfort level for your mud bath or time in the sauna. Strip down completely, leave on your underwear, or a swimsuit. Wear what makes you comfortable. If you do choose to go commando make sure that your spa allows it and that you aren’t headed into a coed area.

4) Remove your accessories. Necklaces, rings, earrings, and watches. They can get in the way of either a massage or facial. Not to mention, there is the chance of the water or oils damaging your jewelry. Don’t leave items lying on a locker shelf to slip on later! Spa treatments can leave you loopy and mellow, causing you to leave an accessory behind.


1) Voice your preferences. Don’t afraid to tell your masseuse or technician to change the music, use more pressure, avoid a certain area, or to stop talking and let you relax. Aestheticians and massage therapists want to make sure you enjoy your service. They can’t do that if you don’t communicate your desires and preferences.

2) Take your cue from the other guests and be polite. If no one else is talking in the sauna, don’t chat up the woman next to you. In communal areas that need a timer reset, the person closest is the unofficial turn-the-jets-back-on person. Always respect other guest’s privacy! If someone is changing, or nude in the locker room, by all means be respectful.


1) Tip for your services. The standard is between 18% and 20%. While it’s best to personally give a cash tip to the technicians, many spas will put it on a card and divvy it up between multiple people if needed. Even if you were treated to a free service, be it by a friend or because of a gift card, still tip. Some spas do add an automatic gratuity, so do take note of this policy before tipping.

2) Leave a review. In today’s world, Google and Yelp reviews have a determining factor on a business’s ability to attract customers. Take the time to either rate the spa or leave a full review.

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