Spa Etiquette in NOTL: 5 Tips to Avoid Awkwardness


Niagara-on-the-Lake is known for its world-class vineyards and renowned Shaw Theatre Festival. But for many visitors, no trip is complete without a day of pampering at their favourite spa.

If you’re a veteran of the spa experience, then you’re no stranger to the industry’s rules when it comes to etiquette. But for many of us, massages, saunas and steam rooms are breeding grounds for awkward moments. No reason though to avoid a pleasurable spa treatment because of a few potential slip-ups. That’s why we’ve got some handy tips to ensure your next trip is a smooth one!  

Arrive Early to Settle In

Nothing ruins a good day at the spa like rushing around late. In NOTL, all facilities try to foster a serene environment that promotes peace and tranquility. So if you arrive late and frazzled, chances are you’ll have a hard time feeling relaxed during your treatment. Popular spas are very strict about staying on schedule so that their clients are not left waiting around. And this means if you’re late for your treatment, they’ll deduct that from your overall service time. A good rule is to arrive at least 15-30 minutes early. This will give you ample time to check-in, change into your robe and enjoy a warm beverage in the waiting lounge. Your overall experience will be exponentially better if you make the simple effort to arrive early.

Read Up on the Spa’s Policies Prior to Arrival

Most policies are pretty consistent from facility to facility. They’ll advise that you arrive about 15-30 minutes early, and that bathing suits are mandatory if you wish to use the pool. But make sure you read up on their rules around pricing and cancellations. If you’d like to use the spa’s additional facilities — like the whirlpool or exercise room — make sure these amenities are included in your rates. Otherwise, you’ll be surprised when they charge you extra. Many spas also restrict their facilities to clients who are 19 and over.

Clothing Etiquette During Massage

Many novice spa-goers wonder what to wear during a massage. Massages are most comfortable when no clothing is worn, but most spas will respect a client’s wishes to keep their attire on. Professional massage therapists are trained to use sheets to cover your body, so that only the area being worked on is exposed. If your therapist does not use this industry-approved technique, you have every right to question their tactics if you’re uncomfortable. Your massage should be administered by a licensed therapist, and feel free to ask for credentials during time of booking.

Keep Noise to a Minimum

No doubt a trip to the spa is exciting, especially if it’s a group getaway. But be mindful of most spa-goers who prefer a quieter experience. Because spas in NOTL are known for their tranquil vibes, loud and disrespectful groups are not usually welcome. If you do feel the need to chat with friends, keep voices to a whisper. Also, keep cell phones tucked away in your locker, or consider leaving it behind altogether. Phone conversations are usually restricted anyways. And never bring your mobile device into the treatment room. Not only is it disrespectful to your spa professional — it will also disrupt relaxation should you get a phone call.

Rewarding Good Service

Tipping is customary for good service in NOTL, and that rule applies to spas too. If you enjoyed your experience, consider adding on a few extra dollars to show your appreciation. For massage therapists, the standard is an extra $10-15. And for a good manicure, the average tip is about $5 — while a good pedicure can garner a tip of up to $10. Spa employees are trained to make you feel comfortable and offer the highest quality of service. However, you should never feel pressured to tip if the service felt substandard.

Lakelands + Spa = Best Trip Ever

Consider staying at Lakelands B&B during your trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Your hosts, June and Zoli, would be thrilled to recommend some of the best spas in the area. Relax at the spa, and enjoy more relaxation afterwards in one of our guest suites. After your day of pampering, we’d be happy to help you organize other activities in the area. Simply check out our Packages page to enhance your stay. We look forward to hosting you in the weeks ahead!