Destination Spa: Spa Etiquette and Summer Skin Care Tips


A retreat to a destination spa should be a relaxing, rejuvenating experience. You’re there to de-stress, unwind and enjoy the serene spa atmosphere. At Cal-a-Vie Health Spa, a destination health spa in Southern California, guests enjoy three, four or seven-night retreats to the spa haven and have days full of fitness, spa cuisine and of course…spa treatments. With up to as many as 16 spa treatments during a stay at Cal-a-Vie, we want to make sure guests feel comfortable before, during and after each treatment.

As Body Manager at Cal-a-Vie Health Spa and more than 10 years in the industry, I’ve given more spa treatments than I can count and with that in mind, I have a few tips to share. But bear in mind, each spa is unique, and you should always call ahead if you are unsure of anything. Also remember you are ultimately at the spa to relax and enjoy the treatment you booked, not to worry about “rules.”

Make a reservation: All destination spas require reservations, especially because you’re not just booking a spa treatment, but your overnight accommodations. The same typically goes for day spas as they often fill up fast, so book as far in advance as possible.

Punctuality: If you’re already on the spa grounds, like with a destination spa, then about 5-10 minutes or just right on time are ideal for arrival. If you’re going to a day spa, ideally arrive 15-30 minutes early so you can enjoy your arrival and check-in to the spa and fill out any necessary forms or papers. If you are late, your treatment time will be shortened (keep in mind spa therapist usually have one appointment right after another all day long). After a treatment, it’s customary to vacate the room within a few minutes of your treatment ending, though you are welcome to spend additional time unwinding in the spa’s relaxation or waiting rooms. For example Cal-a-Vie Health Spa has a lounge area with a Jacuzzi, water, tea for guests to enjoy while they phase out of their “spa brain”

Turn off your cell phone: Simple enough.

Communication: Communication is essential for your comfort and spa experience. You should share all your information (if you have allergies, wear contacts, have sore muscles, had surgery, etc), especially if you have any type of medical condition or prescriptions, which might alter your treatment and the products used. Be sure to communicate not only before your treatment, but during. If you’re uncomfortable or have a dislike during the treatment, don’t be afraid to say something. All aspects of treatment can be modified (amount of light, music, room temperature, pressure of massage). And if you have any questions, just ask.

Hygiene: We always recommend showering before a treatment, as a favor to the spa therapist! If you must shave, do so at least two hours before your scheduled appointment. Come to the spa treatment showered and if you enjoy the spa’s Jacuzzi or pool before your treatment, be sure to shower off and rinse the chlorine from the skin.

How to maximize your spa experience: The best way to get the most out of your spa experience is to stay as long as you can and take advantage of the other spa amenities. If you book a spa service at a hotel, you’ll usually get access to all of the hotel’s amenities, like the fitness room and pool. If you’re at a destination spa, enjoy the sauna or Jacuzzi. Also, determine what treatment is the best option for you, maybe it’s a 30-minute massage instead of 90-minutes, but then also add on a signature facial, getting the best of both!

Now for some summer tips! With the summer season here, it means more skin exposure and the quest to keep skin healthy and hydrated. After the dry winter months it is great to start off this “skin exposing season” with an exfoliating and moisturizing spa treatment. I recommend a Vichy shower, a customized exfoliating shower, or a body wrap, which typically includes an exfoliation step and a hydrating wrap.

This season at Cal-a-Vie Health Spa, we have a June Jacobs’ Papaya Enzyme Body Wrap. During the body treatment, you’ll be exfoliated from head to toe with a “slushy” combination of Lemon Sugar Body Polish & Grapefruit Shower Gel. Next, relax while enveloped with the Papaya Enzyme Masque – a blend of mango, papaya and pineapple, which purifies the skin as it moisturizes and tightens. To seal in the benefits, a Papaya Body Balm blends in the moisturizing miracle of shea butter with aromatic healing botanical oils and protective anti-oxidants.

June Jacobs’ products are great for the summer season because of the invigorating, refreshing scents of papaya. But try any favorite product line and look for body butters or balms, which are extra nourishing during the summer months. Also be sure to seek out a refreshing, light scent that will be enjoyable during the hot temperatures.

Whether you’re retreating to the spa this summer for some exfoliation and moisturizing before you put on that itty-bitty polka dot bikini or booking therapeutic spa treatments to de-stress from the troubled times, just know that you are there to relax and enjoy! A spa experience, whether one treatment at a day spa or sixteen at a destination spa, should never feel intimidating or rule-binding. But do take these tips into consideration so that the experience is all that you’re hoping for.

Cal-a-Vie Health Spa
29402 Spa Havens Way
Vista, CA 92084

About Cal-a-Vie Health Spa
Nestled away on over 200 private acres in Vista, just 40 miles north of San Diego, Cal-a-Vie is a health spa resort with 26 private villas and a 5:1 staff to guest ratio. Cal-a-Vie combines luxurious European Spa philosophies with the California concepts of fitness, health and nutrition. The French Provencal spa retreat features award-winning cuisine by Executive Chef Jason Graham, a program consisting of fitness, luxuriating treatments and mind-body awareness, tailored specifically to each guests’ desires. The resort is embellished with historical pieces and antiques from Europe, bringing the finest touches of the Mediterranean to California. Cal-a-Vie offers three, four and seven night spa vacation packages that include gourmet spa cuisine, fitness classes, hiking, beauty and spa treatments, mind-body awareness programs, lectures on health and nutrition, accommodations, and even workout clothes – taking the worry out of packing. For more information, please visit

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Subscribe to our Beauty News NYC Newsletter.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x