How to guides

How to…classify spas

Spas vary in shape, size, location and brand. The first experience of a spa is often at a hotel, but limit yourself to this style and you limit your experience and enjoyment. Here is a quick guide to the different types of spas you will find with a short explanation of each.

Destination Spa

Destination Spa

Destination Spas are just that – the spa is the destination and main reason for visiting. It offers accommodation, spa cuisine and a whole programme of activities and events. Your stay will be all-inclusive and include spa treatments, fitness regimes, therapeutic treatments, educational classes and other wellness options. Minimum stays are often required. Destination spas are not just for holidays but to remedy problems and can be life changing. 


Hotel Spa

Hotel Spas are likely to be one of the first you will encounter. They should include a fitness suite or gym, a pool and sometimes other outdoor pursuits. The spa will feature a full-service treatment menu for beauty, grooming and therapeutic treatments.  The spa is an add-on to the hotel stay, but research indicates that the presence of a spa is a deciding factor for guests when choosing a hotel.  

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Day Spa

A Day Spa is simply a location that you visit for the day, it may include a whole day package with lunch, use of the facilities and treatments or you might pop along for a single treatment and leave. It’s a flexible way to include spa into your life. Some Day Spa locations are salons that have adopted the use of the name. Not all Day Spas include water and hydro facilities or even a steam room and sauna. Check in advance what facilities are offered when booking a Day Spa.

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Medi Spa

Medi Spas will have a focus on clinical and aesthetic enhancement, and invariably operate under the supervision of a doctor or nurse. Invariably, the more invasive treatments are conducted by medically trained professionals, but some of the low level treatments will be handled by spa therapists. Medi Spas do not always offer accommodation – operating in a similar way to the Day Spa.

what is a spa

Wellness Spa

Wellness Spas are focused squarely on providing comprehensive wellness and preventive care. It draws on concepts of complementary and alternative therapies and may fuse this with traditional Western medical concepts.  Spa treatments included in the wellness programmes will be designed to promote, health, fitness and wellbeing – usually to resolve a health concern like stress, weight management, fitness or sleep disturbance. 

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Dental Spa

A modern take on the Dentist, Dental Spas have grown in popularity in recent years and incorporate spa elements into their practices. It makes a trip to the Dentist more enjoyable and luxurious. Dental Spas invariably include some form of facial aesthetics on the treatment menu.

what is a spa airport

Airport Spa

Airport Spas are designed to give passengers some pre- or post-flight pampering in the form of express spa treatments. Some treatments are designed to offer fine tuning like manicures, pedicures, spray tan or a neck and shoulder massage. Quick chair massages and express facials are popular. Spa treatments are usually found in airline travel lounges, but more recently pay-as-you-go travel lounges have opened that include a Travel Spa – opening up the experience to all travellers.


Cruise Ship Spa

Cruise ship spas provide guests with pampering spa experiences at sea. Accessible to all passengers, most spas feature salons, full-service fitness facilities, and extensive treatment menus. Occasionally some treatments are offered in other areas of the ship and can extend to wellness programmes that incorporate yoga and walking. Wellness and beauty are the core concepts of the Cruise Ship Spa.

Mobile Spa

Mobile Spas have emerged over the past few years and they bring the spa concept to your home or office. Spa therapists are able to offer spa services such as facials, massages, manicures, and pedicures, anywhere, at any time. They will bring the products, tools and tables required to offer the spa service on-the-go.