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What are Spa Holidays?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 23, 2024
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Spa holidays are, simply put, a vacation to a spa resort. However, a spa holiday is often a package deal, meaning that certain meals, treatments, or events are included as part of the trip. Spa holidays are often quite expensive, but are a very popular vacation idea because they are quite relaxing. Spa holidays differ from a visit to a day spa because visitors stay overnight on a spa holiday, and often because of the variety of services offered.

Spa resorts are available in virtually any location imaginable. Tropical destinations are especially popular, but they can be found all over the world. The location is one of the most important considerations when planning a spa holiday, however. Another important consideration is the length of time to stay at the spa resort. A typical length of time is a few days to two weeks, but much longer spa holidays can be planned as well.

At a spa holiday, it is expected that one can receive the services normally offered at a spa. These might include massages, facials and other skin treatments, body treatments such as sugar scrubs, wraps, or mud baths, manicures, and pedicures, just to name a few. In addition, spas typically offer water therapy areas with hot tubs and pools, and they may offer a sauna as well.

In addition to the spa treatments on spa holidays, the resorts may offer exercise classes as well. These may include yoga, Pilates, meditation, or aerobics, among others. The food found at spas is typically very high quality and healthy; many spas offer vegetarian or vegan options as well.

Some spa holidays are sold as packages with specific themes. For example, one might go on a spa holiday for the purpose of losing weight. Another popular type of spa holiday is a detox or whole-body cleanse program. Other spas focus on natural, whole-body treatments for illnesses, though visits to these types of spas are not typically referred to as spa holidays.

Searching online is a great way to find package deals for a spa vacation. Many spas offer last-minute sales, and it is possible to save money this way. In addition, some spa resorts offer guests the ability to plan their days and make reservations for treatments or mealtimes online, so everything is all set when they arrive at the resort. For those looking for a tranquil, relaxing vacation where their every whim is catered to, a spa holiday is the ideal choice.

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Discussion Comments

By manykitties2 — On Oct 18, 2011

@Mae82 - I think heading into another country on cheap airfare sounds like a great way to get a spa holiday of your dreams. For myself though, I really love saving up for luxury spa holidays and treating myself with a solid weekend of bliss.

There is a gorgeous spa near my hometown and whenever I take time to go see my parents I spend a few days at the spa. I live in a much larger city, so it still feels like getting away from it all.

I think it all really depends on your budget and how long you want to do something for. I could certainly see a month in Thailand, but for me, a weekend at the spa is plenty.

By Mae82 — On Oct 18, 2011

You can actually get some great spa holiday deals if you know where to look and are willing to head into another country. In places like Mexico, much of Central America and in Asia, spa holidays can be had much more cheaply.

When I was in Thailand I was paying just $7 for an hour long oil massage and could enjoy both a pedicure and manicure for under $10. Body wraps and scrubs were also insanely cheap.

You can spend an entire week at a spa getaway like The Sanctuary in Thailand and pay as little as $15-$20 for a bungalow. Services are a bit more expensive there, but for under a $100 you could really treat yourself. It is something to consider if you spot a good airfare deal and really need to get away.

By snickerish — On Oct 17, 2011

@Sinbad - It really depends where and when and how long and what type of spa you stay at, so as far as I know there isn’t an average rate. If you are talking about a pamper and relaxation type spa, an average-priced one, in a non-exotic location could cost you anywhere from one hundred to three hundred a night for off-season months, like fall and winter months. In the peak season it could cost anywhere from around three hundred per night to six hundred. It also depends if you are getting an all-inclusive package, or not.

Usually the longer you stay, the more people you have staying, and the bigger package or packages you get, the more most places will be willing to negotiate and to work out a deal for you and your travel friends. Some spa/hotels will offer specials, which can be anything really. One common special is buy two nights, get the third one for free. Another popular special is if you book a room for at least a night, the spa will sometimes throw in a treatment for free.

By Sinbad — On Oct 16, 2011

A spa holiday sounds amazing! I have actually never been to a spa, but I want to go as soon as possible! This seems like a relaxing way to spend a couple days or even a couple of weeks! This seems like a great vacation to go alone, or with just a couple close friends. It seems like if you had a lot of people to go with, it would become stressful, instead of relaxing.

Some people just do not have the personality to be relaxed at all, or at least for an extended amount of time, but I have a personality that requires some relaxation every day, at least if I want to remain happy. Some people seriously can not wrap their head around the idea of pampering yourself, and just relaxing, but I can. I am more happy when I have at least an hour of relaxation time a day, but some people actually get more stressed and irritated if/when they try to relax.

All the vacations I have been on thus far have required me to take a couple extra days to recoup from. This spa holiday seems like one vacation I would not need any extra days to recoup from, unless I went to a spa that was a long plane or long car ride away. Does anyone know the average going rate for a spa holiday for two to five days? I would love to know this, so I can start planning my spa holiday as soon as possible!

By BambooForest — On Oct 16, 2011

@panda2006- I think I read about those too. I have a friend who did something similar, but it was not a total fast. They ate healthy food, did yoga and meditation, and so on. She came back claiming to feel great, but I wasn't too interested- they tend to be really expensive, at least based on what I think she spent, but then to me spas are not really bargain holidays.

I also think that if you have any health problems at all, even a tendency for heartburn, or something more serious like irritable bowel or something along those lines, not eating for even 3 days or so could be really damaging to your body; even more so if you have any sort of nutrient deficiency.

By panda2006 — On Oct 15, 2011

I don't know if anyone has heard of those "fasting" spas that seemed to be in the news a lot a few years ago. I remember reading about them as places that actually are made as spa breaks that "pamper" you while you eat absolutely nothing. The point, it seems, is that you meditate, maybe get massages or facials, drink tea, and then don't eat anything.

They claim to be for detoxing, but it seems to me like a weird celebrity crash diet thing. I don't know anyone who has actually done one, though.

By StarJo — On Oct 14, 2011

@wavy58 - Everything is either seasoned or drizzled with sauce. You don’t have to worry about getting plain broccoli or dry chicken. They generally offer gourmet meals.

A lot of food items were coated with what they called a “light cream sauce.” I could detect a hint of garlic and some sort of cream, but it obviously wasn’t the fatty kind. It tasted great to me.

The spa resort I went to was big on using fresh herbs to season vegetables. I ate a lot of things sprinkled and cooked with parsley and rosemary.

They also used bottled spices to add interest to the food. The broiled fish was flavored with Cajun seasoning, and the crab and shrimp were covered with Old Bay seasoning.

By lighth0se33 — On Oct 14, 2011

@julies - Having a spa holiday during the days leading up to your wedding can be stressful. Like you, I wish I had planned for one after it was all over rather than before, but I needed to pamper my bridesmaids.

I actually thought that all the relaxation and cleansing would calm my jittery nerves, but I couldn’t relax. My mind was focused on the wedding. I had a lot of anxiety about starting a new life, as well as worrying about whether I would trip going up the aisle or something equally embarrassing.

At least my bridesmaids enjoyed it. They glowed on the day of the wedding, and seeing them fresh and happy made me relax a bit.

By OeKc05 — On Oct 13, 2011

My friend owns a salon and a spa, and she came up with a brilliant plan for a holiday. She usually loses money when she goes on vacation, but she found a way to make money while enjoying time at the ocean.

She started advertising for tickets to a cheap spa holiday. She put an ad in the paper and told all of her regular customers about it. She planned to rent a condo on the beach and take all her equipment with her. Anyone who purchased a ticket could come along, stay in the condo, and receive pampering in the form of facials, massages, wraps, manicures, and pedicures.

It was a great idea, and through ticket sales, her vacation paid for itself. She spent half the time doing spa work, but she still had plenty of free time to enjoy the ocean.

By wavy58 — On Oct 13, 2011

I would love to go on a spa holiday, but I think I’ll try a day spa first. I have never been for a massage, a pedicure, or a body wrap, and I want to make sure that I enjoy it before booking an entire vacation.

It sounds absolutely wonderful. One thing I am concerned about is the food, though. To me, the highlight of any vacation is getting to dine at wonderful restaurants.

Can anyone tell me what types of food are offered at a typical spa meal? I’m all for eating healthy, but I don’t want to sacrifice flavor. Are the meats and veggies bare or do they come marinated or with some type of sauce?

By julies — On Oct 12, 2011

I have seen some good deals on spa holiday packages that I have been tempted to try. I had a friend spend a few days at a spa, and she came back so excited about it and is saving her money to go again.

It sounds like any time of the year would be a good time to get away, but there are times that are much more stressful than others.

We had two weddings within 3 months of each other and I think I could have really used a spa holiday when they were over.

Even though it was a happy time, there were a lot of stressful days leading of the the weddings. If I had a spa holiday planned when they were over, it would have really given me something to look forward to.

While my kids were on their honeymoons, I could have been relaxing and being pampered at a spa.

By sunshined — On Oct 12, 2011

I have never considered a spa holiday because I felt they were outside of my budget. They do sound very relaxing and when I am really stressed, this sounds like the perfect time away.

I am always envious when I see someone win a spa vacation on a game show or something. I can't imagine spending more than a week there, but a long weekend would be perfect.

Who knows, once I got there, I might want to stay longer than I thought. I am interested in eating and staying healthy and might learn a few ways to continue doing that when I returned home.

It wouldn't hurt to watch for some spa deals from time to time. It seems like a lot of vacations I go on, I need to take a vacation when I get home because I am so exhausted from running all around.

With a spa holiday, you really would come back home refreshed and rejuvenated.

By gravois — On Oct 11, 2011

I absolutely love the idea of a spa holiday. Lets be realistic, what is it that you want from a vacation? Do you really want to go look at a bunch of old churches and forts? Do you want to walk into endless stores and buy a bunch of stuff you don't particularly want or need? The answer is probably no.

What most people want on their vacation is to rest, relax and feel good about themselves and the things around them. That is why spa vacations are great. Its not a big tourist experience, it is about focusing on yourself. You get all the best parts of a vacation without any of the hassle and stress that usually comes along with them.

By ZsaZsa56 — On Oct 10, 2011

This year I go my wife a spa vacation for our anniversary. Just three days of her, the ocean and whatever spa stuff she wanted to get.

I know it might seem strange to get my wife a vacation by herself for an occasion that celebrates out wedding, but I now that is what she really wanted. We celebrated our anniversary together, went out for dinner and dancing and generally had a great time. But now she has this thing that is just for her and she can rest and relax a little outside the house. I think its a good thing. She is really excited about it.

By MrsWinslow — On Oct 10, 2011

@MissDaphne - No, maybe a facial won't actually take years off, but it can make a nice short-term difference.

Like anything else, spa holidays aren't for everyone, but they can be delightful if they happen to be your cup of tea. I took my mother on a spa weekend for her sixtieth birthday last year, and we both had a wonderful time.

Going with someone can be key to having a good time. We weren't just sitting around *alone* having people "work on us," as you put it; we were together. We had a lot of nice bonding time.

My mom and I have both had some health problems and it felt good to be pampered in a healthy way. The food was light, wholesome, and delicious, and we tried a Pilates class. There were no dishes in the sink, no clothes to wash, just the two of us and all our needs met.

And maybe a facial won't really turn back the clock, but I'll tell you, we both looked five years younger by the end of the weekend!

If you've enjoyed spending a few hours at a day spa, you might think about going with a girlfriend or a relative and staying a weekend. You might be surprised how much you enjoy it!

By MissDaphne — On Oct 10, 2011

I've gotten gift certificates from time to time for spa packages just at a day spa, and they were nice enough. A pedicure at a spa is so much nicer than a pedicure at a salon in a strip mall! I did a massage once, too.

But I'm having trouble imagining staying for days or (shudders) even weeks! Wouldn't it get incredibly boring just to sit around having people work on you the whole time? And you know most of those treatments don't do any good. A facial isn't going to turn back the clock!

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