Get the Most Out of Your Spa Experience
A resort spa treatment is a special experience, adding the ultimate in relaxation to any trip. But are you really making the most of your time at the spa? Here, Meritage Collection experts offer tips to help guests pamper themselves to the fullest.
Give yourself time to take full advantage of the amenities: “Give yourself the time to really enjoy … [the spa],” says Magdaleena Nikolov, spa director at the Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara. “If you’re going into a deep tissue massage, for example, using a steam room or sauna … enhances your massage. Your therapist can work muscles more quickly because of the heat. If there are amenities, give yourself the time to go and use them.”
Linnea Robertson, spa director at the Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach, agrees: “Arrive early so you are not rushed into your service. Enjoy the hot therapies, including the eucalyptus steam room, Jacuzzi and dry sauna. Relax with a cup of our Calypso White Tea, infused with mango, guava and grapefruit … [which is] high in antioxidants, while relaxing in our coed treatment lounge.”
Each spa will offer different amenities, so find out ahead of time what’s available so that you can plan accordingly—including bringing a bathing suit, if needed.
“We encourage our guests to arrive early to enjoy our eucalyptus steam grotto and Jacuzzi tub in our separate areas for men and women,” says Maile Quigley, spa supervisor at The Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa. “There is also a lovely coed Serenity Lounge with [a] relaxing water wall that couples may enjoy together. Spa Terra is proud to be the only cave spa in North America. Situated 45 feet beneath our vineyard, it is a peaceful sanctuary from the outdoors—rain or shine.”
“Bring workout gear to top off your wellness experience with a gym session in our state-of-the-art fitness studio,” suggests Director of Spa Leo Castro from Paséa Hotel & Spa in Huntington Beach. “Ask about our fitness activities … conducted by our fitness activity coordinators.”
Don’t be afraid to speak up: “I always tell people to let the therapist know what they need and want,” Nikolov says. “Don’t be shy, and make sure you communicate with your therapist. The point is to get what you want and need out of your treatment.”
Debbe Evans, spa director at Ko’a Kea Hotel & Resort in Kauai, seconds that sentiment: “It’s really important to share with the therapist if there’s an area of the body that tickles or doesn’t feel good—we don’t have to massage it. The other point I would share is that if any therapist is pushing too hard or not hard enough, it’s encouraged to tell the therapist to lighten up or go deeper. Good therapists are eager to make sure that … [each] guest has a wonderful massage.”
Evans says guests should also feel free to note a gender preference for their therapist.
Hydrate and unplug: “Disconnect from your daily tasks and duties,” Castro says. “Turn off [or] silence your phones [and] electronic devices, and get away in Huntington Beach at Aarna Spa.”
Also? Remember to stay hydrated with plenty of water before and after a massage, Evans suggests.