Welcome to the who, what, why and where of spa-ing. This is our insiders guide for anyone and everyone who’s ever been to a spa, considered visiting one, or just wants to know the ins and outs of what happens behind the scenes. We’ll uncover everything from what to wear at a spa, the different types of spa you can visit, to how you can make the most of your time between treatments. And if after all that you want to try your hand at a spot of spa-ing, look out for our exclusive deals, indulgent offers and pamper packages. You can even treat someone else with the Wahanda gift voucher, so sit back, relax and let us do the dirt-digging for you.
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No two spas are the same and just like there are restaurants to suit every taste, so too are there spas to match every preference. The most common types of spa are:
Open from dawn till dusk, these honey-traps of tranquillity let you drop in for an express treatment, or you can set aside a whole afternoon of indulgence. Nestled in idyllic locations or city-centre hotspots, day spas provide an instant retreat even if you have little time to spare.
Guaranteed to reduce the usual stress that a dentist trip evokes, you can finally have your pearly whites seen to as part of a relaxing day filled with anything from massage to botox - you won't even notice the dentist's drill!
These health hideaways are full of facilities and programmes designed to improve your lifestyle and well being. Ideal for those with a few days to spend on themselves, the combination of dietary advice, exercise classes and beautifying techniques will give you a fresh outlook at your body's needs and wants.
Providing the expertise of health care professionals in a relaxing spa environment, traditional medical practices are offered alongside procedures including cosmetic surgery, all under the supervision of a trained doctor. Whether it's a specific illness you want to treat or body-busting nips and tucks, you’ll find the right remedy for you.
Bringing out the true meaning of holidays, hotel spas or spa resorts put all the spa goodness under the same roof as your chosen place of stay. With maximum benefits and minimum effort, spa resorts transform the average mini break into a satisfying sanctuary where you can literally be waited on hand and foot.
Health havens focussing on both the mind and body, holistic spas use alternative therapies and treatments to turn you into a better you. Using natural methods, the philosophy of the holistic approach is to treat the cause of all your ailments rather than to simply rub them away.
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One of the primary reasons people visit spas, get sent to spas by their loved ones, or get spa gifts bought for them is so that the recipient can make time to take time out and relax, so don’t be afraid of indulging – these are the few places where debauchery isn’t frowned upon. And with so many different types of spas at your fingertips, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Many people associate spas with simple manicures and mud wraps, but that's just the start. Teeth whitening, non-surgical facelifts, hypnotherapy, colonic therapy, and Reiki are just some of the treatments available. But a spa isn’t just about the treatments, they often have fabulous facilities for you to make the most of too, so if you have any time between pamper appointments, make sure you find out from the spa staff exactly what’s on offer. From luxury pools to steam rooms, saunas and Jacuzzis, they’re all little extras that will go a long way in making your spa experience unforgettable.
Depending on how much time you have to pamper yourself, there are different ways to enjoy the spa experience. Pop into a day spa for a mini fix of primping and preening, or splurge on a whole day of guiltless relaxation at a destination spa. You might even be looking for a single treatment, such as a back massage to ease those shoulders, or a spot of yoga to calm you down and pep up your posture. A spa break is another fantastic way to regenerate and unwind away from normal life. Tuck yourself away in the countryside or visit a new part of town to immerse yourself in a time warp where the outside world doesn't even begin to figure in your imagination.
Treatments tend to fall into two categories. The first are those that focus on relaxation and rejuvenation such as facials, massages, manicures and pedicures – these will get you glowing and are much more beauty-centric, whereas the others are active treatments that will work with your body to beautify you. Skin peels, exfoliation, slimming and firming treatments – everything that will prevent those sags and bags from forming.
Destination spas, hotel spas and health clubs also offer classes and therapies you can partake in, so whether you want to try pilates, ballroom dancing, karate or flower therapy, you can get a work out, as well as being ‘worked on’.
Most spa novices are anxious before they visit, it’s a natural reaction – especially if there’s some stripping-off involved. What you have to remember is there’s a first time for everything and everyone, and all spas have professional staff who will be more than happy to help. The whole point of spa-ing is to put your feet up and relax, so don't let embarrassment ruin your experience.
As a general guide, follow our do’s and don’ts for a fuss-free spa trip but most of all remember if you are unsure about anything, from where to go to what to do - just ask.
Worry about where to change. You'll be given your robe, towels etc on arrival and directed to somewhere where you can change in privacy - this will usually be in the spa’s changing rooms.
Panic about de-robing. If you’re having a treatment, the therapist will tell you what you need to do and how far you need to strip off. You’ll then be left alone to get under the sheet or towel to cover your modesty before your treatment begins.
Walk around naked. No matter how relaxed you’re feeling, most spas prefer your modesty to be covered, for your sake, as well as theirs.
Miss out. Even if you don't fancy getting undressed, there are still plenty of treatments you can indulge in. Thai massage requires you to wear loose, light clothing, pedicures and reflexology simply require some sock-removal and for most facials, you just need your shoulders and neck uncovered.
Ask what to wear. Depending on the type of treatment, there will usually be disposable paper pants on hand, but if you’d prefer to wear your own underwear or stay in your swimsuit, just check at reception or with your therapist.
Take appropriate footwear. Spas often hand out slippers to wear but to be on the safe side, it’s always advisable to slip in a pair of flip-flops so you don’t have to walk round barefoot.
Check in. Arrive at the spa about fifteen minutes before your treatment is due to start- this will give you enough time to swap your clothes for robes and start to relax. Get there even earlier if you want to use other facilities first- a stint in the hot tub is a great way to get yourself in the mood for some serious pampering.
Speak up. If you’d prefer either a male or female therapist, discuss this at the time of booking - the spa should be able to accommodate you! Plus, always let your therapist know if you are in any pain, or are pregnant.
Keep your phone switched off - for your benefit as much as everyone else's.
Think about what you want from your time at a spa. Whether it's to look better on the outside or feel better on the inside, use our guide to find the best spa for your needs.
Enjoy yourself! Spas are there to provide an escape from stress and strain. Sink into the experience and treasure every minute.
If that’s tickled your fancy but 24 hours of pampering just doesn’t sound enough, why not swot up on our beginners guide to spa breaks, or if you’d like to treat someone else to a spa experience, the Wahanda gift voucher is the perfect starting point. Redeemable at hundreds of locations across the UK, there’s over a hundred-and-one treatments to try, so you’ll always be spoilt for choice. Alternatively, why not head to the Wahanda shop and uncover the latest and greatest deals to get you spa-ing in style.