10 Secrets of a Spa Reviewer

Writing spa reviews for an online city guide certainly has its perks. In addition to free or discounted services, I help keep my body and mind stress free. Here I share my best spa secrets plus one: taking time for yourself is a surefire method for happiness, health and beauty.

  1. For the very best massage, stay away from salon/spa combos. They’re generally too noisy and impersonal. Look for Registered Massage Therapists (RMTs) who set up their own shops. These are more serene, friendly and sometimes half the cost. Search for a licensed practitioner in your area in the yellow pages or try searching online.
  2. Scope newspaper and bookstore bulletin boards for mobile RMTs. “In calls” can be 75% less than spa prices since mobile therapists have no overhead. If you’re skeptical about having a stranger in your home, book back to back sessions and ask a friend to come over too.
  3. I hardly ever get manicures, but my nails are always ooh la la. I stopped paying the full manicure price when I discovered that a “polish change” ($8-$12) includes nail prep like filing, buffing and cuticle oil – not to mention a pro paint job. Sure, you don’t get the hand massage, but a weekly polish change is a quick, affordable luxury.
  4. A package is usually the best value. Getting a combination of 3 or more services for under $200 is a great deal. You can also stretch the value of a package if it entitles you to complimentary use of a spa’s pool, sauna and fitness facilities. Make a whole day of it!
  5. Buy in bulk. Spa gift certificates make great Christmas or birthday gifts. If you purchase more than five ask the manager to throw in one free – and use it to treat yourself!
  6. Look online for spa discounts. Most day spas post specials and even coupons on their websites. Call a spa in your area and ask their URL.
  7. If it’s your first time at a particular location, always ask if they have an introductory offer for new clients.
  8. Take the spa home with you. Steal ideas to extend your Zen: cut up cucumbers and throw them in your Brita for “spa water” and always ask for the name of the CD they’re playing so to cop one for bath time. If you liked a product, ask for a sample.
  9. Go during the week if possible. Fewer clients always translates into better service.
  10. Develop a friendly relationship with the booking staff. They’ll try harder to schedule you in and remember if you’re on a wait list.

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