A gentleman's guide to spa etiquette

We dispel the spa myths and lay out a few ground rules for the beginners.

EDGAR staff November 19, 2014

Some men have the idea that spa treatments are just for women, but we say why let them have all the fun? As the UAE is home to some of the best spas in the world, there's no reason why we shouldn't be taking advantage of them more. 

But we do admit that the first visit can be slightly intimidating without any knowledge of the proper etiquette. How is anybody supposed to know what to do and say if nobody tells them?

That's where we come in. Read this guide and you'll walk into that spa for the first time like you own the place.

Arrive early

A spa treatment is usually geared around relaxation, so you render the whole exercise pointless if you stress yourself out by being late and rushing to make your appointment.

Aim to arrive at least 15 minutes early, and once you get there you’ll have plenty of time to check in, get changed and enjoy a refreshing drink in the spa’s relaxation area. 42-23336707

Switch off your phone

We can’t stress the importance of this one enough. Up there with arriving late, taking work phone calls or checking emails immediately before or after your treatment will reverse all the relaxing effects.

Even if it’s a personal call, it’s disrespectful to other guests who don’t want to hear what your dinner plans are. 42-15484754

Have a shower

Would you like to massage the sweaty body of someone who hasn't had a shower all day? No, thought not. And neither does your masseuse.

If you’ve used the facilities like the jacuzzi or pool, showering before your massage is vital in order to avoid the chlorine and other cleaning chemicals from the pool being massaged into your skin. 42-18131952

Wear what you like

For a standard full-body massage, the normal attire is the rather unflattering paper pants on offer that will just about retain your modesty. Most people are fine with that – your therapist is a professional who has seen it all before and most of your body will be covered with a towel throughout the treatment anyway.

However, if you’re not comfortable then you can leave underwear or certain clothing on – just be aware that your therapist might not have easy access to muscles that need work, so you won’t be getting the full experience. 42-22577166

Speak up

Before your treatment begins most spas will ask you to complete a form specifying any health concerns, old injuries or allergies. If this doesn’t happen and you do have any special requirements then always make these known to the masseuse.

Similarly, if your therapist is being a bit overzealous and the massage is starting to become painful, don’t just lie there and take it! This isn’t an exercise to prove how tough you are, so just politely ask for less pressure. 42-17015821

Relax afterwards

At the end of the massage your therapist will probably tell you not to rush straight up and that you have as much time as you like to relax.

This is true, but the reality is that the room will most likely be needed for the next treatment, so it’s good manners to get up within five minutes and, if you’d prefer to take a bit more time then head back to the spa’s relaxation area. 42-23902731

Tip, but only in the right way

The question of tipping is always a difficult one when it comes to spas. The situation you absolutely want to avoid is chasing after your therapist in your robe and slippers clutching a grubby AED 50 note.

However, if you enjoyed the treatment then it’s nice to show your appreciation, so leaving your tip with reception is probably the most dignified way to go about it. 42-56707763