I recently relocated to Ithaca, NY, and one of my first priorities was finding a massage therapist with a specialty in prenatal massage (I am in my third trimester of pregnancy). After searching online, I found a few private massage therapists with this specialty and a few spas that had therapists trained in this area.
Upon entering the spa that I chose, I was immediately given a tour of the facility. The spa sold me on its large relaxation room with tea, water, comfortable lounge chairs, books, magazines, blankets and a beautiful view. The spa kept me coming back with a skilled and thoughtful massage therapist, but it was the relaxation room that made me anticipate the treatment. As I paid for the massage, I mentioned that I was going to the café downstairs for lunch. The receptionist responded that the spa would be happy to bring lunch to me here or do this for me on my next visit. She said the spa’s policy was “come early and stay late.” I had found my sanctuary.
In many spas, the relaxation room is treated as a beautiful holding pen between treatments – an area in which you’re not comfortable staying to read a book or have another cup of tea. True, a lack of space is a reality for many spas, but even for these, there are often less-busy times during the day when lingering would not cause problems. For most spa guests, it is the staff’s lack of sincere and repeated encouragement that keeps them from thinking that spending additional time in the relaxation room is not a hardship for the spa.
I now budget three to four hours for every massage and order lunch to the relaxation room. The additional cost of visiting a spa over a private massage therapist seems a great value for a half-day of peace.