25 things I’ve learned as a spa writer

I’ve been writing about spas since 2007 and visit around 30 spas every year. I’ve been poked, prodded, pampered, bathed, scrubbed and dried more times than I can remember. And I’ve experienced the best and worst of spa around the world. I try to seek out the newest and most unusual men’s spa treatments and am always on the hunt for the best spa around. Here’s a snapshot of what I’ve learned so far.

The Spa Man at Aman puri

1. A therapist can make or break your spa experience

2. A spa needs, by definition, to have water

3. There nothing better than relaxing post treatment looking out across the sea

The Spa Man in Indonesia

The Spa Man in Indonesia

4. There’s nothing worse than being cold on a treatment bed

5. Every skincare brand thinks that their way is best

6. Expensive facilities do not mean you’ll have a good spa experience

The Spa Man Beach massage Phuket

Beach Massage – Phuket, Thailand

7. A limp massage is worse than having no massage

8. I’ve never heard whale music in a spa

9. and, I actually quite like spa music

Coffee Body Scrub at Banyan Tree Bintan

Coffee Body Scrub at Banyan Tree Bintan

10. You can’t beat a proper Turkish hammam

11. A dirty spa should be named and shamed

12. Therapists deserve a medal, and better pay for the job they do

Spa Therapist, Banyan Tree Bintan

Spa Therapist, Banyan Tree Bintan

13. You get what you pay for in a spa

14. Women are driving innovation in the spa market

15. You can’t beat a treatment that uses fresh local ingredients


Facial workout at Face Gym

Facial workout at Face Gym

16. Voucher deals aren’t always the best value.

17. The hard sell at the end of a treatment is off putting

18. A little welcome drink on arrival at the spa is one of life’s little joys

Welcome drink, Sri Panwa, Phuket

19. Paper knickers for men are odd, uncomfortable and need a redesign

20. A facial can be just as relaxing as a massage

21. The word wellness is misused, overused and misunderstood

The Spa Man Bulgari pure flow

Pure Flow Machine at Bulgari Hotel and Spa, Knightsbridge

22. Cigarette smelling fingers do not make for a pleasant spa facial

23. You can’t beat a super fluffy towelling robe and slippers

24. A smile and a friendly face at reception sets the tone for your spa experience.

25. Spending time in the sauna and steam room before a massage really does improve the benefits of the treatment

Healthy Breakfast at Four Seasons Canary Wharf

Healthy breakfast at Four Seasons Canary Wharf


  1. Anne Bennett says

    A very insightful post on contemporary spa’s across the globe.

    I agree those paper knickers need redesigning ASAP – this is a call out to any entrepreneurs reading this?

  2. I had an embarrassing moment when a pair of those paper undies tore. I couldn’t agree more that a re-design is much needed.

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