Hate spas? One of the biggest trends in travel, spas are everywhere vacationers venture. Yet spas aren't for everyone. If you haven't yet been to a destination spa, or only have been to a day spa (which, as my husband likes to point out, are the first two syllables in the word "despondent"), you should know what you're in for when considering a spa vacation. These are a few things about spas some people hate (and you may too).
The Medical Exam
Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires once said I needed to have a medical exam to participate in the activities. I replied that since I had no intention to submit to a medical exam on my vacation, I wouldn't be participating in their activities, thank you very much. Besides, Caesars Palace, a far more salubrious place in my humble opinion, doesn't require medical exams.
Another spa required a three-page form that included numerous prying medical questions as well as a query about your choice of birth control -- all in order to get a simple pedicure!
While not all spas are so intrusive, you never know when you might get the third-degree from the staff.
Healthy spa food removes as much fat, sugar, and carbohydrates from each meal as possible. Know what else they remove? The taste! Honestly, which makes people happier: Pilates or pies?
6 am Nature Walks
The only living things that should be up at 6 am are roosters and milkmen. Stay in bed with your significant other and work off calories in a more pleasurable way. Then have the sense to go back to sleep.
New Age Spacey Nonsense
In terms of credibility, spa science isn't always the most plausible. Plus, life is too short to spend time on therapies of dubious value, including color therapy, chakra alignment, aromatherapy, and the truly unappealing colonic therapy.
At spas, strangers' hands reach out to push, pummel, pick, and squeeze various portions of your anatomy -- if you let them. Some people like this. But if you hate the idea of anyone but your significant other touching you or your beloved, spas are not for you.
Spa stays do not come cheap. Not only do customers have to pay for services and tip for them, but most spas add to their bottom line by having staff push products. Usually, there is also a spa store where you can stock up on their brand of high-priced robes, emollients, and other spa products to recreate the experience at home. That, you can do for less at Wal-Mart.
Other Spa Goers
Ever see the types of people who gravitate to spas? These are not healthy-looking people. I'm not saying you could catch something from them, although their unhealthy obsessions with skin, looks, and bowels can threaten to raise similar questions among those in proximity.
Another thing: Spas sometimes host guest lecturers chosen to inspire guests. Yet these are not necessarily individuals worthy of being emulated or even listened to. At the previously mentioned visit to Canyon Ranch, the celebrity guest was a former Miss America who had been involved in a messy bribery case and subsequently arrested for shoplifting. Sure, she had shapely legs and no cellulite... but she was hardly a role model.
Spas are Boring
Would you rather spend your travel dollars seeing and doing, tasting and experiencing -- or getting a facial and massage? Some people certainly find the latter relaxing. But for my money, an outer journey beats an inner one any day of the week. And have you ever been a captive audience to that wordless, atonal, monotonous spa music? It's the aural equivalent of a drive-by lobotomy.
Lots of people think sweating is healthy, and spas foster that with their steam rooms, saunas, and hot baths. And don't get me started on sweat lodges and temazcals. Personally, I start to think I'm sick and running a fever the moment I begin to perspire. And the more I do it, the sooner I need to lie down in an air-conditioned room until it passes and I return to a normal body temperature.
It's Like Gym
Maybe you liked gym class in school. Or maybe it was a torture to be endured. And spas are a lot like that. From the front desk (where the staff is the answer to the question, "Where did all those dumb but snotty girls from high school go after graduation?") to the treatment rooms (which are the answer to the question "How would you decorate a rabbit warren to freak out a claustrophobic?") to the heat, the sweat, and the communal locker rooms, spas are high school gym redux. And some of us just can't wait for the bell to ring soon enough.
One More Good Reason...
Comic Jim Gaffigan ensures you'll never look at a masseuse in the same way....