Spa Travel on a Budget

  • Posted on March 16, 2013 at 5:16 am
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Spa lovers who want to nab those massages, facials, scrubs, and jetted tubs without having to auction off your firstborn must read this. I’m going to save you money doing what you love most, and you can thank me by sending a treatment to me, Val the Spa Gal. (Or, you can just post something nice.)

Book Off Season

Your goal is to spa, yes? So, who cares if it’s 20 degrees outside when you’re cozily wrapped in a hot herbal cocoon in Montreal at, say, MBIOSPA? Don’t even think about avoiding Arizona in the summer. Starting 6/15 the rate for a standard room at The Camelback Inn Resort & Spa in Scottsdale plummets from $499 a night to $159 for the summer, and that even includes a nightly $50 credit toward the spa, food, golf, or tennis. You can float in their outdoor pool, oblivious to the melting cactus on the other side of the fence.

Say “No Way” to Friday and Saturday

If you can, travel Monday through Thursday, not only for the best flight deals but because spas often post promotions on their websites for midweek travel. The Lake Lawn Resort in Wisconsin offers a bunch of midweek spa discounts, including day spa deals, through January 2014.

Shuttle Me!

Many resort spas offer a complimentary shuttle to and from the airport. Most spas are so self-contained with on-site dining, fitness (and even stores)— you’ll have little reason to leave the property, unless you want to explore the area. If spa immersion is your goal, ditch the pricey rental car. The Green Valley Ranch in Las Vegas, Nevada, will shuttle you for free to and from McCarran Airport, and they will also take you to the Mandalay Bay Hotel, on the strip.

Check for Specials

Almost every spa posts special packages on their website. You might find a stay-three-nights-get-one-free deal, or a reduced rate on a mother-daughter getaway, or a spa/ski special in the Poconos. Do the math to make sure you will benefit, but these specials are usually better than budgeting a la carte. The Olympia Resort near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, offers a huge variety of spa packages that beat the a la carte menu by roughly $15 per package. Some of the packages are small—a 60-minute Swedish massage and a private bath for $110—so it’s worth it to steal a package a day and let the savings add up. Click on “The O-Spa” and then “spa packages.”

Look For Lesser-known Spas

The industry big shots—think Canyon Ranch, or Golden Door—and those associated with names like JW Marriott, or the Ritz-Carlton, are heaven but also costly (although the aforementioned Camelback is a Marriott property!) Look for the less popular spas. Their treatments, amenities, and cuisine are often just as good as the name brands, but cost less. SpaFinder is a great place to find spas anywhere in the world, designed to your specifications.

Bring a Friend

Not only do some spas offer girlfriend-getaway packages, but you can stay in a $400 room for $200. It might be worth bringing along your spa-loving buddy if you’re budgeting.

Today’s Tip

If there’s a spa you have your eye on, but it’s still out of your budget, consider signing up for their e-mail specials. In fact, why not enjoy offers from a few spas? You’ll not only benefit from first dibs on available dates, but you might also receive special unpublished rates not available to the public.

5 Comments on Spa Travel on a Budget

  1. MT says:

    Wow! Great ideas for keeping costs low and still getting pampered!

  2. Dean Kautzmann says:

    Being new to the world of massages, what is a fair cost for massage? What does it include and not include? Where are a few nice places to go for someone who is just starting to understand the health benefits of massages? Sorry to have so many questions but like I said, I’m new to this.

    • Valerie says:

      Hi Dean,
      Massage costs vary from roughly $40 to $200. The average massage is probably between $50 and $100. The difference is in where you get the massage (a five-star resort, or a day spa or quickie strip mall massage); the ambiance (candles, music, robe, slippers, high-end massage lotions, versus a table). So, it’s hard to say what a “fair” cost is.

      A few “nice” places to go would depend on where you live and how much you’re willing to spend. Peruse the websites you come across, and just make sure they seem professional, are well-reviewed, and offer what you want. When you make your first appointment, tell them it’s your first time. Let them know if you have a gender preference. Do a 50- or 60-minute massage rather than a 90-minute, and for a first massage, just go for the basic Swedish; nothing fancy.

      If you really start to see the benefits of massage (decreased stress, better circulation, pain relief, increased flexibility, relaxation, immune system boost, and (occasionally) emotional release), keep at it as much as you can afford to, and try different massage therapists. Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

      -Val The Spa Gal

  3. These are amazing points and the mindset will shift some but probably not all. Many may always think of Wellness travel as not quite as luxurious and relaxing as Spa Travel.

    “Spa, Travel and Skincare Experiences are not a Luxury, but Essential to a Healthy Body and Mind” has always been my motto!

    Spa Travel Gal Ava

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