The Proper Unwritten Rules and Spa Etiquette

No matter if you are new to going to a spa or day spa it’s a good idea to understand the etiquette involved in going to these types of establishments.  Whether you are going for a massage or a mani-pedi it’s important to know these unwritten rules.


First and foremost if you make an appointment, be on time.  If you are late for an appointment you are throwing off the entire schedule for the rest of the day’s appointments.  That is not fair to the staff and to the fellow customers.

In some cases, if you arrive too late you may be bummed to a different time slot.  So do yourself a favor and arrive early.  A good rule of thumb is to arrive about 5-7 minutes before your appointment.

No Phones

There is nothing worse than sitting in a relaxing massage and having to hear someone’s conversations as their talk on the phone.  This is a huge no-no.  You can read more about phone etiquette on Destiny Day Spa’s website.

The same goes for text messaging. If you are texting during your spa time it’s rude to the staff and it can hinder their work.  It’s best to put your phone on silent and not look at it during your spa treatments.

Good Hygiene

Nobody likes a dirty smelly client.  If you were a spa employee would you like to work on a client that smells or is dirty?  It’s gross, don’t be that client.

As a good rule of thumb, you should take a shower prior to arriving at the spa.  Unless you know 100% that the spa makes you shower at their facility ahead of time.  That would be the only exception.

Outside Food/Drinks

Don’t bring in any outside food or drinks with you.  Most upscale spas provide you with either water, wine, or champagne. We found that Viva Day Spa in Austin provides hot tea or wine and chocolates with some of their nail care services.

This isn’t always the case though.  The only acceptable food item to bring in would be a water bottle.

Why is it so bad to bring in food?  First off you will stink up the joint with your French fries.  Plus, the main reason is the staff wants to work on you and not having you chomp your food in their face.  Respect their time and eat before you head to the spa.


Almost all spas offer add-on or upgrades to their service.  Sure, this is an upsell but that is not a bad thing.  Most of the upgrades will make your special day even better.

Most of the time (but not always) the upgrades are value priced to enhance your main treatment.  A good example is if you are getting a massage.  The spa might offer an add-on service and a better price compared to if it were a stand-alone service.


No talking!  Well, that isn’t entirely true.  But you should keep your conversations to a minimum.  It is OK to do some talking.  You can quietly in a whisper as to not to disturb everyone else in the place.

Keep your conversations as brief as possible.  Spas are quiet places where people go to relax and get away from the world.


You are expected to tip your spa associates.  Personally, I believe you should tip spa employees and anyone that works on your appearance more than you would a waiter or waitress.

Generally speaking, it is a good idea to tip between 15%-25% of the price of your services.  Ever give someone an hour massage?  Yeah, me neither.  It’s hard work and most people get tired after 10 minutes.  Can you imagine how hard it must be to complete an hour massage?  Tip good as the spa employees deserve it.


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