How to Prepare for a Spa Visit

Ahhhh, the spa…just the sound of the word puts me in instant relaxation mode. But if you’ve never been, it can be hard to know how to prepare for a spa visit. Going to the spa is so much more than just a self-indulgent pampering. Relaxing and de-stressing is beneficial for your health both physically and mentally.

How to prepare for a spa visit Villa Manzu Spa
I got to experience this dreamy spa while vacationing in Costa Rica!

There are different types of spas you can go to.  They can range from a national chain to a local boutique massage parlor to a luxurious hotel spa with all the fixings. No matter which type of spa you go to, here is some advice to get the most out of your spa experience.

Service options

Different spas offer different services, but they typically include massages, facials, body wraps and nail services. Before deciding on a location and service, go to their website and check out all of the details and their menu. Then call ahead to schedule an appointment and ask any questions.

Marilyn getting facial at spaMassage table in spa room

Arrive early

Try to arrive at least 15 minutes early. I like to arrive about 30 minutes early depending on the type of spa. If it’s your first time to a new spa, arriving early is mandatory. You’ll need to fill out paperwork plus you’ll want a tour of the facility and the last thing you want is using your massage time to do this.

If you are late, you will cut into your service time as your treatment will need to end on time in order to accommodate the next appointment. So, get there early! Arriving early also ensures that you have time to enjoy any amenities available such as the sauna, steam room, pools, hot tubs, showers, heated chairs, and more (depending on the location).

Tea on lap in spa Heated stone chairs in spa

IMPORTANT: If you have any injuries or certain spots you don’t want serviced make sure to note it on your paperwork and let your therapist know. I recently had to do this with a severely sprained ankle.

Leave valuables at home

When going to the spa it’s best to leave any valuables (like jewelry) at home. Some spas do offer lockers so worst case you can take off your jewelry and leave it in the locker. I take off all jewelry when going to the spa including earrings, necklaces and all rings.

Massage room with a view
This massage room had quite the view much to my surprise when I opened the door!

When getting a massage some places will massage your ears lobes and that can’t be done if you have earrings on. Same thing with rings, a hand massage is so wonderful, and you’ll want to enjoy it fully (not a partial hand massage because you left your rings on).


This is probably the biggest question most people have (mostly because it can feel a bit awkward). For most services (minus nail services) you are required to undress. But don’t worry, these are professionals and many places are trained on draping techniques, so they can’t see your private parts.

How much undressing exactly is needed? Do I leave my underwear on? Do I take everything off? Well, this usually depends on your comfort level (though some services like a body wrap it’s best to take it all off). Some places will tell you exactly (leave your panties on, etc). Take off your clothes, shoes, socks, bras and panties. When getting a massage, I used to be so self-conscious and would leave my panties on. Now I take it all off so it’s just me in my birthday suit on the massage table.

Manzu spa inside
Inside that dreamy spa in Costa Rica

If the location has a locker room, you will most likely be given a robe. If so, get changed in the locker room, put the robe on (nothing underneath unless you want to keep your panties on) and leave your clothes and items in the locker. I personally will leave my panties on under the robe. I just feel more comfortable especially walking around and getting up from chairs I’m always afraid I’ll flash someone! After getting to the treatment room and the therapist steps out, I then take them off for my massage/body wrap; I’ll stick them in the robe pocket when hanging the robe for my service. I’ll leave them on if I’m getting a facial.

If the location doesn’t have a locker room, chances are you’ll undress in your treatment room. The therapist will step out and give you a few minutes to get undressed. There will be a bench or table for you to leave your clothes during your service. Your therapist will show/tell you before stepping out.

Time to relax

Before your therapist steps out for you to get undressed, they will let you know how the treatment will start. For example when getting a massage they will let you know whether to lie down facing up or facing down on the table. Many massages start facing down but listen to what your therapists tells you and get on the table accordingly.

Take a deep breath, it’s now time to relax, decompress and enjoy your service!

Do you have any specific questions about going to the spa? Ask me in the comments!

Hugs & Gratitude,

Marilyn at the spa
Get to the spa early so you’re not stressed when you arrive. Plus you’ll get to enjoy the amenities.
Spread of tea at the spa
Tea and treats!

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  1. I’ve never been to a spa so this is very helpful… if I ever get to go. LOL! I’ve always wondered about how much you are supposed to take off.

    1. admin says:

      I’m so happy you found this helpful! I hope you get to go one day. Though once you go you have to go back LOL! It’s a wonderful experience and so beneficial to your health!

  2. This looks heavenly! I need a trip to the spa asap

    1. admin says:

      Yes, get to the spa! If you need justification, it’s great for both the body AND the mind. 😉

  3. I feel like I have to research more options before I book appointments. I always get stuck doing the same thing every time! Thanks for the tips!

    1. admin says:

      I’m guilty of the same thing! I have experienced different treatments but for the most part I choose the same thing. Time to expand our horizons!

  4. Oh my gosh that set up in Costa Rica looks soooo dreamy! It is funny how every spa is just a little bit different. If I go somewhere for the first time, I get a little anxious not knowing their routine! But that’s why I love to get there early, too. Ah, you’re making me want a massage like riiiight now. 🙂

    1. admin says:

      Good point! It is true, every spa is a bit different, so even if it’s not your first time going to a spa it’s still a good idea to get there early. I think it’s time for you to book a massage!

  5. Great tips, especially arriving early. It makes all the difference when you have a few minutes to prepare.


    1. admin says:

      Thanks! You’re so right! It does make a difference and gives you a chance to take a breather and really enjoy the experience!

  6. Going to the spa might be my favorite thing ever. I love all these tips and agree with all of them

    1. admin says:

      Thank you! YES going to the spa is so divine!

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