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17 Things to Do at a Spa, According to the Experts

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Going to a spa should be a relaxing, stress-free experience. But, there is some prep work involved—and some specific things to do at the spa—to make sure you get the most of it. Plus, if you’ve never gone to a spa, you probably have some questions. Here’s what the experts say is essential to know on the road to relaxation.

1. Shave or wax the day before you spa, as many types of body services may cause your skin to react if you just recently shaved or waxed, suggests Josie Feria, director of spa operations at Fontainebleau’s Lapis Spa in Miami.

2. Feria also stresses it may be smart to shower before going to the spa facility, in case they don’t have a well-equipped grooming area.

Rely on the Hydro Helpers

3. Also on the water front, leave extra time to actually use and enjoy the available water facilities, encourages Mourad Essafi, general manager of Impression Isla Mujeres by Secrets. “The onsite PURE SPA experience at Impression Isla Mujeres by Secrets provides a myriad of benefits and offers guests the perfect way to detox, relax and indulge in a rejuvenating journey. Included as part of the experience is a beachfront hydrotherapy circuit, which offers picturesque views of the Caribbean Sea and is at the heart of the PURE SPA experience. The optional five-step hydrotherapy circuit is complimentary with any service of 80 minutes or more and includes multiple modalities, such as a steam room, sauna, dynamic pool, showers, and access to Isla Mujeres’ first floatarium.”

4. Carmel Valley Ranch’s interim Director of Spa, Retail & Recreation, Youliana Roussou, also agrees with the water way as one “do” to do at a spa (the Ranch is hosting a retreat this weekend in conjunction with Jobi Manson and Sēfari focused on all-things relaxation and restoration): “Treat yourself to a full wellness session, including massage. It can work wonders for releasing tension and promoting relaxation. And consider booking a water-based service with the water emersion. Water can relax tremendously.”

5. Arrive early. The spa staff at Anantara Kihavah Maldives says being overly punctual is a good way to enjoy the facilities in full and start the relaxation process.

Go Light + Loose

6. Leave your stuff at home. A good spa facility will provide all you need—with the exception of a bathing suit, Feria says. “You can achieve relaxation more easily if you are not burdened with a lot of personal items that you have to store in a locker room or take with you to your treatment room if no locker facility is available.”

7. The same goes for your phone, says Roussou, who suggests the best thing you can do when you arrive to any spa resort after a day of travel is to unplug and disconnect. “Put away your electronic devices and allow yourself to be fully present in the moment. This will help you mentally disconnect from the stresses of travel and get started on relaxation.”

8. Wear comfy, loose clothing. “Who wants to pull-up Spanx and slide into stilettos after you’ve relaxed?” Feria asks. “Plus, when you get a body treatment, your skin will most likely be very moisturized and can almost ‘stick’ to your clothing.”

9. It’s best to leave valuables—especially jewelry—at home (or in your room).

10. Bring a pair of flip-flops. Walking barefoot in a public facility is neither smart nor fashionable, Feria says.

11. While most spa facilities should have them, if you have long hair, bring a hair tie. “It’s actually hard for a therapist to do a great massage when he or she has to fight through your hair to get to the muscle group,” Feria notes.

Plan Ahead

12. Check out the calendar. You may be going to a spa to forget your hectic schedule, but many spas offer well being–focused add-ons that are a nice accompaniment to an actual treatment. “In addition to the spa treatments, PURE SPA features a robust activities calendar centered around holistic well-being, offering activities such as sound healing and bike tours daily,” Essafi says.

13. Grab that book or magazine you’ve been wanting to read. Oftentimes, that disconnect from your phone is good for the body and brain.

14. “Leave your highly critical, you-better-impress-me attitude at the door,” Feria recommends. “A little humility and grace works wonders when interacting with service providers.”

15. Have a good, healthy meal beforehand. “Massages and other spa services can affect a drop in blood pressure, so having some food in your stomach is highly recommended.” Feria says.

16. Avoid alcohol the day before. “Contrary to urban legend, a massage isn’t good for a hangover—it may make you feel even worse!” says Feria.

17. On the other hand, it’s wise to hydrate before a treatment. “Drink plenty of water before your spa treatment,” Roussou says. “Hydrating your body will enhance the effect of the treatment and help flush out toxins.” Anantara Kihavah’s spa experts agree, and tag it as their collective number-one tip: “Hydrate, hydrate hydrate. This will help to improve the circulation and promote toxin elimination which will enhance the overall effectiveness of the treatment.”

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