Don’t Be That Girl – 10 Tips on How to Act at the Spa

I went to the spa this past weekend to get a massage. I went to my preferred place, the Lorien. I like the Lorien for a couple of reasons, but primarily: it’s pretty.

It’s part of a Kimpton Hotel, so it’s sleek and soothing. The spa is located in the basement, down a long corridor, and is totally tucked away from the hustle and bustle, so it’s quite the cocoon of relaxation. The locker rooms and showers are sleek and white, very spa-minimalist. The relaxation rooms are done in warm beiges and light greens. There’s a fine help-yourself selection of herbal teas and granolas, and reading materials along the lines of More or Organic Living.

01 lorien


It’s all very nice.


Until other people enter the tranquil scene. People who have not, apparently, ever been to a spa. So, to help out those clueless novices, I’ve compiled some tips on how to act at the spa.

Done up. Don’t come to the spa in full makeup and hair. If you are wearing a spa-appointed robe, you are probably there for either a facial or a massage and either of those activities are going to mess up your hair and makeup. I actually left my massage with hair on end, Albert Einstein style, and a blanket indent running from my forehead to my left cheek. That’s what I call a successful massage. It’s also the reason I bring a wide head band and a pair of oversized sunglasses to the spa.

Unless you’re Lisa Vander pump, leave the makeup at home.

Be quiet. This would seem to be self evident. It’s a flipping spa. A place designed for relaxation. And yes, I know, you brought along your best friend/mother/mother-in-law/semi-friend-who’s-having-a-birthday/bridal party for some well-deserved relaxation. So, let’s just do that: relax. Nobody wants to hear you gushing about the tea selection (we can all see it), how nervous you are that the masseuse might be a man (you can request a woman when you book, you know), or working out your post spa plans. Let the busy little thoughts stay in your busy little brain, mkay?


About that granola. By the way, you might want to leave the granola alone as well. If it’s just you and me reading quietly in the relaxation room, the incessant scooping and refilling of your little snack bowl, coupled with the intermittent masticating of loud, crunchy granola, followed by the manic brushing off of the granola crumbs from your spa robe is all going to draw some glares from yours truly. Eat at home and don’t make a meal out of some measly free granola.

Don’t think we can’t hear you. While the spa may seem like a cocoon of silence and tranquility, voices actually do carry in that underground cavern. Sometimes, I can even hear muffled conversations from the relaxation room while I’m in the actual treatment room. Keep it to a dull roar, or, even better, shut your pie hole and think how relaxing your massage is going to be.

kyle what is that noise
Do you hear that? That the hell is that noise?

That goes for doors too. Is it too much to ask that you not slam the locker doors shut? What about the doors leading to and from the treatment rooms/relaxation rooms? Could you maybe, just maybe, gently hold the door while it’s closing to keep it from snapping loudly? What about holding a conversation while you’re in the shower? Maybe that conversation could wait as well?

Spa gear. Generally, you receive three items in your appointed spa lockers – a robe, a towel and some flip flops. This should not cause the masses of confusion that it does. These are generic items, meant for use while you’re in the spa. You are not required to wear them out into the world forever and ever and ever. There’s really no use complaining about the robe or flip flop sizing – it’s kinda one size fits all and that size is large. So get over it.

“But I’m so tiny and the robes are so, so big.”

The showers. I actually think it’s a really keen idea to take a shower before your massage. It’s free. There’s nice soap. You don’t have to wash the towels. And the poor masseuse doesn’t have to touch your gross street feet. Also: they do provide razors and shave cream, so go ahead and give the legs a once over so the poor girl doesn’t cut her hands on your stubble.

clean feet
Clean feet, Kim. Well played.

Nekkidness. No. Just. No. Keep it to a minimum. Don’t want to gaze in wonder at your lady-scaping as you walk around repeatedly between the lockers, the shower, and the steam rooms and then repeat the circuit again and again. I just want to get a damn massage.

Modesty. However, let’s not be ridiculous either and wear our underthings into the massage. Just get naked and put on your robe. No need to make a big deal of it.

parks and spa
“Pssst. I’m not wearing anything under my robe.”

The steam room. If you know that you are someone who does not enjoy the heat, you might want to just skip this. Do not, under any circumstances, go in, sit down, and then complain about how hot it is in the steam room. Of course it’s hot, you moron. Also: do not come in, spill your cold water everywhere, flop around adjusting your towel (honestly, I find it just easier to wear my robe in there), proclaim to the other steamer (ie: me) how disruptive and clumsy you seem to be, flop around and fan yourself a bit more, and then get up and stick your head out the door to talk to your friend in the shower, only to then exit the steam room about 30 seconds later. You’re letting all my steam out and pissing me off.

These are just a few of my spa tips, for the clueless and confused. Feel free to share them with those in need. Or, print them out, tape them up in your favorite spa.

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