Spas can offer an incredible wealth of healing and relaxation. Once certain Davenport spa understands all too well the nourishing power of deep-tissue massage. However, as a newcomer, this can be intimidating. Here’s how to handle your first trip.

Before you arrive

After you’ve chosen and booked a spa you particularly like the sound of, make sure to check the gratuity policy. Some spas may include gratuity in their initial pricing, whilst others do not. Generally, the expectation is to tip 20% of the treatment price – though if you have an exceptional therapist, don’t be shy to match that with an even better tip.

Have a look at what treatments are on offer at the spa, too, and read up on the benefits and process of each option. Picking the treatment best suited for your needs and wishes is a surefire way to feel totally rejuvenated and fresh when leaving. So for example, if you struggle with muscle aches and stiffness, a Swedish massage can be a fantastic choice to boost circulation and ease the pain in your deep tissues.

Pick from the spa menu well in advance, so you remove any stress upon your arrival. However, if you’re torn between a few different treatments, don’t be afraid to ask the staff for their thoughts.

Pack Your Bag

Packing a good spa bag can elevate your spa trip from nice to divine. For overnight or residential spa trips especially, a spa bag is an essential part. Here, it’s best to pack one bag for the spa and another for your hotel or locker room with any non-spa essentials. Robes and towels are usually provided by a spa, but other things can be lifesavers. Consider packing in a similar way you would for the beach – pack a bathing suit, perhaps a change of clothes, some comfy sandals, a good book, sunglasses, and suncream. The goal is to make your day as comfortable and relaxing as possible, so if you’ve got long hair also look into hairbands or hair ties for when you go for a swim or massage.

Grab some moisturizer – great if your skin needs a little pick-me-up after the steam room or a thorough exfoliation, and lip balm and perfume can see you leaving the spa looking and smelling totally refreshed. Not all spas offer deodorant, so don’t forget to grab your own just in case.

Bringing along two swimsuits means that you can also avoid those ugly paper pants that some spas rely on; one for the massage, and another for the swim room.

Once you get there

It’s important to arrive at your spa free from any oil and soil. A well-informed guest will know to arrive as clean as possible. It’s also important to step into the shower and rinse off before using any joint facilities.

Once you’re in the changing area, be careful not to step on any cultural toes. Be aware that discretion is required: you’re sharing an area with others who may be more or less modest or self-conscious than yourself. Make sure to follow the guidelines that your spa puts in place, and wear the robe provided. Remember that, when you are in the changing area, you’re not in your own bathroom at home. Respect the proximity of your fellow guests around you.

If you’re booked in for a massage, be sure to arrive roughly an hour before the scheduled start time. This means you get a chance to unwind and enjoy the steam and sauna facilities. This is important to do before your massage, as relaxed muscles benefit far more from deep tissue therapy.

If you let the therapist know this is your first treatment, expect him or her to give you a good run-through of what to expect, as well as the opportunity to discuss any concerns or questions. This is a good moment to point out any previous injuries or sprains you may have suffered from at an earlier stage, as this can be addressed in your treatment.

The therapist will then instruct you on how you can support their physical treatment. This can include removing the necessary pieces of clothing or lying in a particular position. If anything the therapist says makes you feel uncomfortable at any point, make sure to speak up. For a successful and productive massage, you need to feel mentally and physically completely relaxed.

On your Way Home

Whether it’s been a day-long or residential spa trip, you’ll want to maximize the benefits of your spa treatment. Make sure to fully hydrate on your way out, as saunas and gym rooms can leave you dehydrated. Thank your therapist and the staff, then ride that zen bubble home!


Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.

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