If you're wondering whether you can bring your kids to the spa, the answer depends on the spa and the age of your children. If there's a specific spa you want to go to and bring your teen or child, call the spa and ask.
The older your children, the more likely they are to be welcome at a spa, though there may be restrictions to what kind of spa treatments they can get. Manicures and pedicures are the easiest to accommodate. Massage is the most "sensitive" because there can't be a hint of misunderstanding about what is happening.
Very small children aren't usually welcome because spas are all about relaxing, and they tend to have the opposite effect. Traditional spa treatments aren't the right kind of fun for most small kids, who would rather be active and loud. You're probably better off hiring a babysitter or, if you're on vacation, putting them in the Kids Clubs and Teen Clubs that are available at so many resort spas.
That said, spas of every type are trying to be more accommodating to families and their children, without disturbing other guests. And there are a few "kids spas" out there where you can bring kids three and up for manicures, pedicures, facials, and hair-dos. They have usually shortened versions of regular spa treatments, for kids' shorter attention spans.
Teenagers are generally welcome at spas, though the minimum age varies. While manicures and pedicures are no problem, there may be restrictions for services like massages and facials on teens under 18.
Teens can usually still get a service like a massage or facial, but the spa usually requires loose clothing or a bathing suit, signed parental consent forms, and sometimes even a parent present in the room with them. (Is watching your kid be massaged YOUR idea of a good time?) The therapist will be of the same gender. Spas might also restrict access to private lounge areas, wet areas, fitness rooms, and the spa pool to maintain a quiet, adult environment.
Younger children can usually get a manicure or pedicure while mommy gets one. But think about whether it's really going to be fun for a small child -- or you. Can the child sit still? Can you relax? Maybe you're better off with a sitter.
There are a few dedicated kids spas, like Seriously Spoiled Day Spa in Patchogue and Dix Hills on Long Island. It has a fun atmosphere and looks like a full-service salon and spa -- for 18 and under only. These are good places for kids spa parties.
What if you're going on vacation? Destination spas, with their active programs and emphasis on wellness, generally have an age minimum of 16. Canyon Ranch Lenox and Canyon Ranch Tucson are an exception, allowing teens 14 and up to accompany their parents. They can also receive many spa treatments with same-gender therapists, as long as they wear loose clothing or swimsuits, and have parental consent. Most people go to destination spas for their personal renewal and wellness, so consider whether bringing a teen along will support that goal.
Canada’s Echo Valley Ranch in British Columbia has special Family Summer Stay periods during the summer. Kids three and older can fish, take Thai yoga, or roast s'mores around a fire (all supervised, of course), while parents have spa treatments and connect over a leisurely dinner. This is similar to the Kids Clubs that are commonly found at large resort spas.
Most big resort spas have some kind of kids camp and teen clubs so that parents can relax and know their kids aren't getting into trouble. But the spas, traditionally off-limits, are becoming more kid-friendly. Many resort spas offer facials, manicures, and pedicures to teens and sometimes even younger kids. Here are a few examples.
- Spa Django at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines near Bastrop, Texas, offers services for kids 8 to 17. Adults have to be there to sign them in, but then they can get the massage, facial or mani-pedi services on their own.
- The Greenbriar Resort Spa in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, offers teen facials, manicures, and pedicures, but also cater to kids six to ten with a mini-manicure and pedicure called the Junior Royalty Package.
- The Omni Homestead Resort & Spa in Hot Springs, Virginia, offers a wide range of services to teens age 14 - 17. It also has a spa suite where the whole family can gather for spa treatments, including age-appropriate services for kids.
- Wintergreen Resort, a ski resort in Wintergreen, Virginia, has a "Teen and Tween" menu with one of the options being a "Diva Day With Mom." So instead of watching your kid get a massage, you can get one, too!