© 2012; 2006 Connecting: Solo Travel Network & Anne Dimon. Information
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Get Maximum Value from a Spa Vacation

Anne Dimon

From Anne Dimon, Founder/Editor, Travel to Wellness.com. More than any other type of vacation, a spa holiday means close human contact. It's a personal, literally, "hands-on" experience – one that first-timers need to feel comfortable with, and one that meets and exceeds the expectations of seasoned spa-goers. Value, therefore, does not necessarily come with the lowest price. Here are some tips to help you get maximum value from a spa vacation:

1. Realize that the term "spa" is used for everything from a two-room facility at the back of a salon to an expansive destination spa complete with all-day workshops, lectures, and guided fitness classes.

2. Look for a spa that offers lots of extras. For instance, some offer workout facilities, wet and dry saunas, hot and cold plunge pools, aromatherapy rooms, comfortable and quiet lounge areas, and complimentary classes such as yoga or Pilates.

3. Ask about complimentary amenities in the locker room: robes, slippers, lots of towels, hair dryers, bath, shower, and beauty products. In the waiting or lounge areas, there should be added touches such as a variety of current magazines, herbal teas, bottled water, fresh fruit, or other healthy goodies.

4. Arrive early and stay late. Did you know that at most spas you can book just one treatment and stretch the experience out into a full day? Swim, steam in the sauna, work out in the gym, relax and read in the lounge, have your treatment, then do it all over again – swim, steam, work out, and lounge to your heart's content.

5. When you book treatments, ask about packages. Often spas offer a better deal if you book two or three treatments together.

6. When still in the research stage ask a spa receptionist how long a one-hour treatment really is. At many spas it's just 50 minutes with 10 minutes left for the therapist to clean up and turn-over the room.

7. Find out what little extras a treatment includes. Many spas today enhance basic treatments. Some spas even offer you the extra creams, lotions, potions, and scrub brushes that were used during your treatment.

8. Ask if the spa "ambience" is carried over into other parts of the inn, hotel, or resort. If spa administrators truly want to cater to their guests they will make the effort to reflect the philosophy or mood of the spa so there is no harsh and uncomfortable re-entry into the "real world." For instance, are there spa-quality amenities (higher-end shampoos, conditioners, bath products) in the guest rooms? Do they offer a place where you can order a spa meal and enjoy it in your robe?

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