How to Host Spa Parties
Admit it. You’ve attended enough bridal shower parties with corny games and cheesy prizes to last a life time. You secretly wilt at the thought of one more interminable afternoon slumped back in lumpy furniture watching the guest of honor open her gifts of tea towels, cake stands, and storage containers. You despair at the thought ingesting one more spoonful of the omnipresent marshmallow and mandarin orange gelatin salad or something with the name “Trash” in the name, followed by the “fruit punch” chaser, which looks alarmingly nuclear in origin and consists of a rapidly melting brick of pastel colored sherbet floating in ginger ale.
Fortunately for everyone involved, it’s your turn to host this gig and no one is eating Warehouse Store salads on your watch. You vow to plan something creative, fresh, tasty, and FUN, and we are here to help you do just that.
Spa at Home parties are gaining popularity because they buck the curiously tenacious rituals associated with musty and unimaginative party planning. There is a new audience of women who would much prefer a pot of homemade cranberry lip gloss instead of a purchased party favor she won because she was the last guest to cross her ankles (who thought up that torturous game?)
We have some Spa Party ideas that both assure you a relaxing party and guarantee you’ll stay within your budget. No matter what choice you make, you and the guests will go home exfoliated, massaged, and soothed to silky perfection.
The Day Spa Event
First, decide where you want to host a Spa Party. You don’t necessarily have to host it at your own home, or another guest’s home. In fact, it doesn’t even need to be at a residence. Many Day Spa facilities will host a Spa Party for your guests provided you have a minimum number of guests, and reserve both the treatments and the facility in advance. The facility may close up shop for an evening and let you host your Spa Party after hours, giving you discount rates for the group, or, set aside certain treatment rooms just for your use.
The Spa at the Houstonian, in Houston, Texas (pictured) is a Mediterranean style spa surrounding a courtyard that offers a beautiful, natural garden environment seen through large windows located throughout the spa. The covered outdoor patio and second floor terrace provide a spectacular view of the lush Houstonian landscape, where you can host a seated lunch or reception during your party. Guests may arrive early or stay late to fully enjoy spa amenities which complement services. Take a refreshing dip in an indoor float pool located on the first floor, or wander upstairs to take advantage of a tranquil relaxation room with cozy chaise lounges and calming fireplace. Full-service locker rooms feature a jetted tub, steam room, and rainfall shower to utilize before and after your treatments. The Spa Cafe can cater a delicious lunch including Lump Crab Salad, Spicy Shrimp and Papaya Salad, Fruit and Cheese Plates, Desserts, and more. If your guests book and enjoy 15 or more 50-minute services, the spa provide your group with a 10% service discount along with a complimentary 50-minute service of your choice for the main contact or guest.
- The TallGrass Aveda Spa and Salon in Evergreen, Colorado, has a dedicated room called “The Sage Room” which is a private suite complete with secluded patio, fireplace and vaulted ceiling, ideal for parties and meetings of up to 10 guests. It is the perfect venue for creating an event that combines a meeting, a bridal shower, a birthday party – or any reason for a group to get together – with luxurious spa services. Events can be made even more special with a catered lunch set up in the Sage Room for guests to enjoy at their leisure. The room is available by the hour, half day, or full day, and the spa will create a Spa Retreat package which includes attention from a Personal Spa Host, private treatment room time, a catered spa lunch, and your choice of “Replenishment Rituals.”
These are just two examples of how a dedicate room in a day spa can be used to host your party. Use our comprehensive Spa Directory to find a list of day spas in your area, and begin getting some estimates for your party.
Mobile Spa Party
If your party is a bit too large to take into a Day Spa for the afternoon, consider the Mobile Spa Party, which comes to you in a variety of ways, ranging from a hired Spa Professional at your residence or, to make the afternoon a little more glamorous, in a hotel suite.
The Spa Index Day Spa Directory has many mobile spas listed, but you can also consult your local yellow pages for Massage Therapists willing to “cater” your party. Check references carefully — we’re talking legitimate Massage Therapists licensed for therapeutic services here, not “hotel out callers” from the back page of your local penny advertisements. If your massage “therapist” shows up with no massage table or supplies, or even worse, if he or she is attired in a rip-away Velcro costume, something has gone dreadfully wrong. On the bright side, you may still have a heck of a party, but it won’t be a spa experience.
Consider calling a local massage school or training facility. Not only can they give you some ideas for hiring a Spa Professional, but may be able to recommend their best students or soon-to-be graduates for rates less than what you’d pay at a Day Spa. Finally, consult your local Health Food Stores or Natural Foods Co-Ops. Often, they will have a pin board of references to Holistic or Homeopathic Health Practitioners who make mobile house calls.
If you have the enthusiastic support of your fellow guests, consider a shared party fee which covers the cost of a hotel suite, the spa professional, and the supplies. A top of the line hotel suite divided between fifteen people makes for a very reasonably priced day getaway. A special bonus? The hotel may well provide you with an on-site Spa Professional as part of the package, eliminating the need to search for someone on your own.
You can also hire a Mobile Spa Party giver that comes to you via the Party Plan. Think hand lotion and body scrubs instead of cookware. Many Spa Party businesses are cropping up, and they bring the entire experience with them, from candles to massage oils to tables and linens. You simply clear the space, and they set the scene. Be sure to check out our SpaDealsHQ Coupons tab, on our website, and use the coupons for many mobile spa service providers who will give you a discount on spa parties. Word of Caution: Try to avoid the Party Plans which are solely designed to sell products, unless that’s what you really want to do in the first place. We’ve tested several and while they tout a spa party experience, it’s really just a “Buy from our catalog” experience with untrained sales-persons — dubbed “spa professionals” no less — rubbing lotion on your hands and proclaiming it’s the best lotion ever.
Create a Home Spa Party
Finally, if renting a Day Spa or hiring a spa professional isn’t in your budget, do the favors chez toi. Or, if you’re the type who actually enjoys the idea of turning your house into a spa for the afternoon, and you want to relish the attention which will surely be lavished upon you when you open the doors and your guests see your newly created Spa Environment, the Home Spa Party is for you.
You’ll need to decide how much time and energy you have. You can take the easy route by buying a spa party kit readily available online and in stores, but there are none so wonderful we’d recommend any particular brand. It’s usually generic stuff in pretty bottles, and nothing to write home about. That’s why those expired and unsold products show up so frequently in discount stores like Marshall’s and Ross.
If you’re a crafty person, you can set the stage for your guests to craft their own spa products under your watchful eye.
If you are apt to say something like “I made these pine scented eye soothers myself, by weaving the cloth on the handloom I honed from a birch tree I planted last fall, using threads from the wool from my small herd of sheep” you are a crafty person.
If you have a wreath on your front door which you made from eucalyptus leaves you collected in a basket, berries you collected and dried on your blueberry picking vacation to Maine last year, and twine you crafted from a vintage burlap rucksack you found in your grandmother’s attic, you are a crafty person.
You could also just have a wonderful eye for tablescapes and scene setting, and that means you’re creative and crafty as well, which will serve you well.
Devoted crafters may want to allot enough time, materials, and work stations for the guests to craft and make their own spa treatments and party favors, which can range from homemade lip gloss to salt rubs to hair conditioners. You’ll find many DIY home spa treatments here on SpaFlyer, but even more on the SpaIndex Spa at Home Recipe Collection.
Set the Scene
First, set the scene and make a schedule using the following pointers:
Make space. Move any unnecessary furniture out of a large room and create an open, uncluttered space, with only comfortable seating, pillows, and select tables remaining. Stash kids’ toys, sports memorabilia, piles of your shoes, mail, or bags of stuff.
Arrange space. You may wish to provide a few guilty pleasure magazines in a basket, including a few for new hairstyles and beauty tips. Arrange spa related items around the room, possibly creating “stations” for specific spa activities. Have bowls of thinly sliced cucumbers available. This “treatment” for the eyes will cost you a whopping 50 cents for a large cucumber. Your guests can use the slices on their eyes during a pedicure, massage, or while listening to music. Plus, if you’re going to be taking pictures of this event for posting (of course you are!) you know you need cucumbers for the eyes.
Let there be light. If you’re going for an evening restful tone, dim the lights low and light the candles, light or spray scents, arrange robes and towels. If you’re going for a bright and airy spa day, open those curtain (to reveal your freshly washed windows, of course — no kiddie hand prints or dog slobber). We’ve visited many day spas and spa resorts and remarked on filthy windows with a demerit. We’re not talking outside a high rise in the city, of course — we mean a window that the owner just stopped looking at, a long time ago, and no longer notices the dead insects and cob webs. Similarly, if you are having your guests recline on a massage table, get on it yourself, and and look up and look down. Are there webs drifting down from the ceiling light? Clean them off. Is there a dried orange peel under the table? Put it in the potpourri bowl and pretend it was on purpose. We once looked through the face rest of a massage table and saw a dirty q-tip which had escaped the attendant’s view.
Candles. An assortment of large ones to use as centerpieces, and votive and smaller candles placed around the room. Don’t underestimate the power of sunlight fading into evening in a room full of votive candles. You can get a lot of mileage from that simple trick. Check our “Spa Shop” tab for some recommendations for water candles and wall luminaries, as well. If allergies or flames are an issue, invest in some simple LED flickering candle sets from your local warehouse store. They are simple but effective.
Music. Have soothing music playing, which is free from lyrics. Many libraries offer music on CD to check out, at no cost. This is a great way to offer symphonic selections you might not otherwise have on hand, or just load up your iPod with some new selections. Why do we see no lyrics? The idea is create some restful ambiance. We find that as soon as a singer vocalizes lyrics, the brain automatically pays attention and deciphers or interprets that information. There are a few exceptions — vocalists we enjoy listening to during spa parties — but we favor as background only, and not as a feature.
Scents. Fresh flowers, scented candles and oils wafting through the air introduces aromatherapy. If synthetic fragrances are an allergy issue, considering making home crafted scents. You’ve probably heard the old realtor’s trick of boiling a pot of water with vanilla extract on the stove of a house being shown for sale, or something with cinnamon sticks, cloves, oranges and nutmeg during the holidays. It works. Your aromatherapy can be as simple as a crock pot full of water with herbs and flower petals, set on low with the lid off, to simmer all day. We found some great tips for creating home scents on Pinterest courtesy of The Yummy Life. Take a look at them here.
- Linens. Towels and robes fresh from the dryer and folded into lofty cubes (use your best towels, of course) should be presented. If your budget allows and this is a celebratory event, consider investing in custom monogrammed spa robes — they are surprisingly affordable and make a perfect take-home gift. Check our Spa Shop category, and browse etsy, which has the best prices for spa robe packages.
Your Guests Arrive
- No Phone Zone. Turn off your telephone, and, insist that all guests silence their cell phones during the spa day. Collect them in a basket upon arrival, if necessary. This may be a tough rule to enforce, but we assure you, it will be well worth it. If you MUST have access to a phone due to childcare, etc., designate one person who is not receiving a treatment to monitor the basket in another room, away from the quiet zone. That person can answer cell phones if they ring and determine if the call is an emergency. If this isn’t practical, then insist all cell phones be set to “vibrate only” and that all important calls be taken and placed outside of the spa day area (a yard or porch is good), and using quiet voices. We cannot stress enough the level of stress created by constant telephone calls and the elevated decibel level used by persons talking on cell phones. If you treat your spa day with the same respect for quiet that is required of you in a day spa setting, you’ll reap the benefits, and all guests will feel respected.
Hydration. A champagne and cocktails spa party is well and good, but assure that you have plenty of healthy hydration ready as well — in the form of beautifully crafted spa water. This is so incredibly easy, and so appreciated. It’s a relief from the bottled waters, cans of soda, or containers of coffee people are used to having in their hands. If you put out a pitcher of spa water in any environment, including your own office, you’ll find you, your family, your coworkers, and your guests drinking a lot more water. What is Spa Water? It’s water which has been aesthetically enhanced with floating herbs, fruits or vegetables, simply flavored and light and refreshing. We’ve kept a large dispenser of spa water in our office for many years — sometimes nothing more than sliced cucumbers and oranges, and sometimes more elaborate, with frozen cranberries and orange slices. We’ve collected a few reliable recipes for spa water here, or you can browse our Spa Parties Board on Pinterest for dozens of beautiful presentations.
Refreshments. Present light fare (no Super Bowl dips here, please) and a selection of herbal teas or juices. You can’t have a home spa party without soothing and delicious refreshments. While it’s easy to pick up salads and vegetable trays and beverages from the store, this is the perfect opportunity to make your guests a both delicious and healthful lunch. We have an entire collection of recipes, from herbal water to decadent desserts, courtesy of some of our top Spa Members. Make them all yourself, or assign them out, potluck style. See our entire collection of spa recipes and browse our Spa Cafe Board on Pinterest.
May we tell you about one of the most simple refreshment presentations we’ve ever had? It was Moroccan. We visited a day spa in California with a Moroccan theme. The spa offered just 4 simple things, and it was really nice. We now have these four things sitting out in our offices on days we have clients and partners meeting with us:
Hot or iced mint tea with sugar
A bowl of whole roasted almonds
A platter of whole dates, no pits
A bowl of tangerines
For your spa lunch, you’ll want something a little more substantial, for instance:
Pitchers of spa water with fruit, cucumbers and mint leaves on a lovely tray
Pitchers of a light juice or punch, nothing heavy or sugary
Vegetables and dip
Tea breads, muffins or roll
A Hot Tea Service
Small cookies or cakes
Party Favors. Have favors available for your guests. These can be as easy as your favorite bars of soap in small sizes (or sliced with a sharp knife and individually wrapped), tins of lip gloss, pedicure favors and more. Part of the fun of the party can be making the favors yourself. Consider buying a deluxe box of guest soaps, and then place one bar in small organza gift bags (such as those used for wedding favors) with a bit of potpourri. This is an inexpensive and quick favor. Also, don’t overlook wedding favor vendors. Any favor for a bridal party or bridal shower can easily be made for a spa party.
- You can also put together a very reasonably priced party favors simply by visiting BulkSalts.com. BulkSalts will let you select your salt’s color and fragrance, and then a size, ranging from very small, to large. We’ve used the wedding favors as calling cards and at trade shows. Be creative — replace “Dick and Jane” and the customary wedding bells with “Jane’s Spa Party” or use your business name and URL. This company gladly removed the clip art for us, so it didn’t detract from our spa theme. Each mini packet of salts will come with a coordinated ribbon and paper wrapper. You may also go straight for the mini bags of bath salts, selecting your own fragrance and color, and purchase in lots for as low as .99 each, with no minimums. BulkSalts also makes tub teas, milk baths, powders, and more. Don’t miss this terrific resource.
- Another great resource is Etsy. Search for Spa Party Favors and you’ll find terrific ideas, from tiny washclothes tied like individual taffy candies to custom bath salts and scrubs.
- Itinerary. Make a schedule of activities, and post it, so that your guests realize they are following a (loose) program. Not all guests need to participate in all activities. If you are going to offer a choice, you can schedule two events at the same time — one group receiving pedicures, and one receiving manicures or a massage, for instance. This will keep your schedule shorter.
Sample Day Time Party
11 AM to 4 PM is ideal for daytime events
11:00 – 11:30 – guests arrive, change into robes
11:30 – 11:45 – review the itinerary and offer spa water while discussing options
11:45 – 12:45 – commence treatments — receiving or making
12:45 – 1:30 – break for a light spa lunch
1:30 – 3:30 – resume treatments — some guests may like simple and yoga stretching
4:00 – serve fresh tea and prepare for departure
What if you’re NOT a crafty person?
And you’re on a budget? Or your party is for a 14 year old who won’t appreciate rose scented water? Now what? No problem. There are several great Spa Party kits available for purchase. Raid the local pharmacy, discount, or department store for an array of polishes, files and masks. Don’t rule out the local “Dollar Stores” for campy and quirky products, as well. You don’t have to be sophisticated if it’s understood you’re going for the camp factor when your budget is a concern. We once found a bottle of Elvis Presley Love Me Tender Lotion for one dollar — we snapped those up and they were a riot.
You can also go the Spa Potluck route. Come up with a list of categories (lotion, soap, perfume, lip balm) assign each guest a category, and ask each guest to bring TWO identical items. One item goes into the group pile and everyone shares it for the party, and one item goes into a gift basket and the honoree takes home the entire booty, leaving the rest of to squabble over the used products.
Have Fun and Relax
We hope we’ve provided you with ample ideas and tips to create your own Spa Experience at home. Be sure to check our Spa Shop for a variety of products designed to help set the stage for a spa party. We’d love to hear some of your tips, ideas and innovations, in our comments below!
(c) Spa Index Media May 2002 (First Printing) September 2012 (Updated) May 2013 (Updated)