What Is A Hotel Spa? (Explained)

Young woman enjoying head massage in spa salon


Whether you need a day of rest or a few hours of relaxation, hotel spas are an excellent choice.

There are many types of spas throughout the world, such as day spas or resorts, and each one offers different options.

Although spas, in general, are meant to be places of peace and rejuvenation.

Named after the town of Spa in Belgium, spas were originally located near mineral water springs or hot springs and they offered health treatments.

Dating back to Ancient Roman times, spas offer escape and physical, as well as mental, space to revitalize yourself.

Spas today are still widely popular, seeing 173 million visitors in 2021 in the United States.


What Is a Hotel Spa?

Close-up of loungers in cozy spa room


Hotel spas are typically day spas located inside hotels or resorts that offer any number of services and beauty treatments.

Hotel spas are usually located inside upscale hotels.

Common hotel spa services are massages, facials, nail services, haircuts and styling, steam rooms, saunas, aesthetician services, and more.

Hotel spa services may also be available as room service, depending on the hotel or resort.

You can usually book your services in advance, either online or in person, or book your appointments on the day of service if there is availability.

You usually do not have to be staying at the hotel to enjoy its hotel spa.

In fact, a study done in 2018 found that only 53% of those who visited hotel spas actually stayed at the hotel, while 43% of hotel spa visitors came from the general public.

Depending on what services you purchase, you can expect to spend as little as an hour or an entire day at a hotel spa.


Where Can You Find a Hotel Spa?

Young woman lying with closed eyes spa massage


Of course, not every hotel has a spa, so check with your specific hotel if this is still in question.

Most high-end and luxury hotel chains have spas as well as many boutique hotels.

Some hotels and resorts are known more for their spas than their lodging accommodations, and visitors stay at the hotels specifically for their spa services.

Popular luxury hotel chains with spas include The Four Seasons, Omni, and Marriott (which includes the Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton, and The Westin).


What Services Do Hotel Spas Offer?

Young woman sitting on wooden bench in sauna


Hotel spas offer various health and beauty services.

Each hotel spa will be a little different, so it’s best to research or browse their website before arriving at the spa to ensure they offer what you’re looking for.

Traditionally, hotel spas offer massage services, saunas, hot tubs, manicures, pedicures, haircuts and styling, hair coloring, facials, waxing, body scrubs, body wraps, and men’s facial shaving.

Hotel spas usually have a menu of services and prices for each of their services.

At some hotel spas, you can purchase packages that combine a certain number of services for a cheaper price than buying them individually.

Common massage services include Swedish, deep tissue, therapeutic, aromatherapy, hot stone, couples, sports, and prenatal.

Swedish massages use kneading and rolling to loosen your muscles and improve blood circulation.

You can typically choose between soft or firm pressure depending on your preference.

Deep tissue massage involves more intense pressure that digs deeper into your muscles and knots.

Therapeutic massages focus on specific areas of your body that are sore and need special attention.

This type involves many of the same massage techniques as Swedish massage, but more time is spent on specific areas.

Aromatherapy incorporates essential oils or certain aromas to help you relax or invigorate the senses during your massage.

This usually involves your masseuse using scented oils or lotions on your skin and muscles.

Hot stone massages involve the use of hot stones placed on painful areas of your body to help loosen tight muscles before the massage therapist rubs that area to relieve pressure.

Couples’ massages allow you and your partner to get a massage at the same time, in the same room, while prenatal massage uses special massage techniques on pregnant women.

Hotel spas may also offer hand or foot massages.

When you purchase multiple services at a hotel spa, you usually get free access to their saunas, steam rooms, pools, or hot tubs in between treatments or afterward.

You can oftentimes purchase light lunches, snacks, and drinks to enjoy between sessions.


How Do Hotel Spas Work?

Young receptionist working with client at desk in beauty salon


You usually do not have to be staying at the hotel to utilize their spa services.

You can pre-purchase your hotel spa services and make your appointment in advance to ensure availability, especially if you plan on getting multiple services and spending your whole day at the spa.

Menu items and pricing are often listed on the hotel spa’s website, and you can also sometimes view package pricing, which typically includes your choice of two or more services.

If you are staying at the hotel, you can usually charge your spa visit to your room or pay at the time of service.

Once you arrive at your spa appointment, you’ll typically be escorted to a locker room and given a robe so you can undress if you’d like and store your personal items safely in a locker.

You can then put your robe on and begin your services.

When you purchase packages or multiple services, you can choose your appointment time, but the order of services may be chosen by the spa staff.

The order of services is determined by which employees are available at that given time.

For example, if your aesthetician has a 10 am appointment already booked, but you included a waxing in your spa package which starts at 10 am, you’ll probably receive your massage (or another service you chose) first.

In between services, you’re usually invited to enjoy the spa’s saunas or hot tubs if you have time to kill.

This is a great option when you visit a hotel spa with a group of people, as your times will likely be staggered depending on the availability of the hotel spa staff.

After your spa service, you usually have access to the hotel pool.

This is a great benefit if you are not staying at the hotel.

It’s often a good idea to plan to spend the whole day or at least a few hours at the hotel to enjoy these added benefits.

Light lunches, such as sandwiches and salads, are usually available to purchase or may be included in your spa package.

They are sometimes served in private spa dining rooms, allowing you to stay in your robe while you eat.


How Much Do Hotel Spas Cost?

portrait of young beautiful woman in spa environment


Though you may be able to find good deals when some hotel spas offer discounts for packages or seasonal markdowns, hotel spa visits are usually not cheap.

According to Statista, “During a 2019 survey in the United States, it was found that spa facilities in luxury hotels contributed approximately 5.2 percent of the hotels’ total revenue.”

Though greatly affected by the pandemic, the hotel spa industry is bouncing back and was estimated to be worth 18.1 billion dollars in the United States in 2021.

Each hotel will offer its services at different prices, depending on the hotel name and location, so it’s best to research available hotel spas in your area to ensure you get the best deal.

Using the Omni hotels spa menu as an example of costs, massages range from $235 to $290 for a 65-minute massage.

65-minute wraps cost between $210 and $285.

Facials cost anywhere from $120 to $350 depending on the type and length of the facial.

Manicures range between $95 and $120, while pedicures cost anywhere from $85 to $130.

Hair services range from $45 to $270, depending on the length of hair and type of service or treatment.


Benefits of Using a Hotel Spa

Young girl in spa massage


Depending on which services you receive at a hotel spa, you’ll get different benefits.

However, no matter what you get, you’ll likely leave a bit more relaxed than when you went in.

Those who get massages probably receive the most benefits, as massages have been shown to have a number of mental and physical benefits.

According to WebMD, “Swedish massage may help reduce symptoms of depression, stress, and anxiety. Some of the symptoms that could be managed by massage therapy include back pains, headaches, muscle issues and other chronic pains.”

Additionally, Swedish massages help boost mood, relieve tension, stimulate nerves, assist with lymph drainage, and improve flexibility.

All these benefits help you feel relaxed and more comfortable.

Facials also have many benefits, including relaxation, increasing circulation, slowing down the aging process, and providing deep cleansing that clears out your pores by removing bacteria, oil, and dirt build-up.

Your face will feel refreshed and glowing after a facial.

The benefits of manicures and pedicures include infection prevention, stimulation of healthy blood circulation, and boosting nail and mental health.

Pedicures can also help with back and foot pain by relieving pressure and pain from callouses and improving blood flow in the feet.


Are Hotel Spas Safe Since COVID?

A cosmetologist in a medical mask does a facial massage procedure for a client


Though many hotel spas shut down or temporarily closed during the height of COVID in 2020, they are becoming popular again.

Many hotel spas will list the specific measures they take to ensure customer safety and health.

Common COVID protocols of hotel spas include staff members wearing masks at all times, washing hands frequently, and continuing air and surface sanitization throughout the day.

Air purifiers are common in hotel spas, as well as the frequent wiping down of surfaces using approved sanitizers.

Some hotel spa saunas, hot tubs, and pools may still be closed due to COVID, so call ahead and make sure those services are still available before you arrive if you wish to use them.

Hotel spa guests may be given hand sanitizer, asked to wash their hands, or keep their masks on depending on the hotel locations’ local COVID guidelines.

You may be asked to adhere to social distancing rules when such restrictions can be applied.


What Is Hotel Spa Etiquette?

Two young women and tea time at spa resort


Since hotel spas are places of peace and relaxation, it’s to be assumed that customers should be generally quiet and refrain from loud and disruptive conversation and talk.

Some hotel spas may ask you not to talk on your phone and may even ask you to leave your phone in your locker.

Though robes are usually distributed, bathing suits are typically required to be worn in the pool or hot tub.

Most hotel spas also give you flip-flops and ask you to remove your shoes before leaving the locker room.

It’s also customary to leave a gratuity for the hotel spa staff.

Since you typically pay for all of your services together at the end of your visit, you’ll probably just want to add one tip to the final bill, which will then be distributed evenly among the staff.

Ensure that a tip has not already been added before leaving one.

18%-20% of your total bill is a common tip amount.

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