A spa offers a stress-free sanctuary and a welcome escape from daily life. In fact, the spa and wellness tourism industry has grown considerably over the past decade increasing 58 per cent between 2007 and 2013. More than 586.5 million wellness-focused trips were taken in 2013, and there are close to 3,000 spas in Canada alone.
However, how do you know what type of spa to choose? Here are a few tips (and questions to ask) that will help make your decision a bit easier.
1. Decide on the purpose of your spa visit, for example, stress relief, therapeutic or medical reasons, or a romantic escape.
2. Are you looking for a full spa experience with all the bells and whistles, like water therapy rooms, a pool, relaxation lounges, saunas and a juice bar?
3. What is your budget? Keep in mind the most expensive and lavish spas are not necessarily the best spas, nor do they always employ the best therapists.
4. If you are interested in pampering, stay away from the medically focused spas. The decor and manner is generally more clinical and you really won’t have a true escape.
5. Are you visiting the spa alone, with family members or with a group of girlfriends? This is a critical factor when choosing a suitable spa.
6. If your spa visit is intended as a romantic getaway, make sure it offers couples massage suites, co-ed saunas, steam baths, hot tubs, relaxation lounges and a pool area. Some spas keep men and women separate.
7. For a girlfriends’ spa getaway, you want to choose a spa that isn’t too strict on the noise level and that has relaxation areas that puts some distance between you and other guests so as not to disturb them.
8. Determine what you really need. If it’s just a massage and time is limited, go to a no-frills day spa or massage clinic. Don’t pay for things you won’t use or experience, like water therapy, a steam room, etc. If you want the full spa experience, ask specifically what is offered upon booking.
9. If you have a specific treatment in mind, make sure the spa offers it. Also, if it’s important to you for personal or insurance reasons, make sure staff are registered in their field.
10. If you want to experience a variety of treatments, look for spas that offer sampler packages. Relax and enjoy – you deserve it!
Chris Ryall is a freelance writer who has been visiting spas in more than 60 countries on six continents for almost 30 years. He writes about spas and wellness for various publications and was on the judging panel for SpaFinder’s 2014 Global Wellness Travel Awards.
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