Hot stone massage. Chocolate body scrub. Seaweed thalassotherapy wrap. All sound lusciously decadent… and expensive. Even the $10.9 billion spa industry admits prices are inching up with some massages topping $250 at the chicest of resorts. But you don’t have to pay full price. You just have to learn when and what to book. Our 10 tips for spa savings:
1. ID Yourself As Value Conscious. Whether going to a destination or day spa call and ask about any specials or packages. Most spa reservationists are trained to up-sell those they perceive as “big spenders” and steer more budget-minded customers toward economical treatments.
2. Weather Your Savings. Off-season specials may be only a thermometer away. Even five-star resorts offer room discounts to lure customers during slow months, then toss in spa savings to sweeten the deal.
3. Timing Counts. Every spa has its own non-peak hours of operation – when it first opens, around noon, or late in the day. Same for Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Ask if certain days or times are cheaper than others.
4. Bundle Up. Hotel spa packages are less expensive than the room or treatments alone and may feature freebies like lunch or product samples. Likewise bundling multiple treatments can reduce the cost 10 to 20 percent over à la carte services.
5. Frequency Pays. If you’re in a location for a couple of weeks or visit frequently, you may be able to purchase a series of treatments – say six for the price of five — to be used within a specified amount of time. Some spas offers a frequent-user card. After nine visits, the tenth is free.
6. Go Back To School. They may not be posh, but cosmetology or massage therapy schools charge a fraction of their spa counterparts. Most offer a student spa/salon or clinic where treatments are performed under the watchful eyes of instructors. Search for schools at the American Association of Cosmetology Schools or the American Massage Therapy Association.
7. Be A Virgin. Occasionally day spas slash prices for any “first” treatment like a manicure or facial in hopes they’ll convert you to a repeat customer.
8. Cast A Wide Net. Travelers should look off-property or just outside resort areas where the facilities are often equal in quality but less costly. A 10-minute walk can mean big savings.
9. Less Is More. Services that require extensive training – Thai Massage, Shiatsu, Cranio-Facial, etc — are going to cost more. So too will a spa’s “signature” treatments because of the more expensive products employed. Among the most over-priced spa services – manicures and pedicures, as much as triple what a typical nail salon charges.
10. Go Online. Spafinder.com and Spamagazine.com display dozens of deals and specials. Other spa saving options: try searching for “City Name” + “spa discount” to find promotions or sign up for your favorite spa’s website e-mail list for advance notice of any last-minute specials.
More ways to enjoy a spa experience for less money:
- Can’t afford a spa? Throw a spa party
- Spa treatments at home: DIY facials
- Spa getaways for $100 or less