Once, while enjoying an outdoor hot-tub – musing on nature, savouring the sensation of warm bubbles on my skin and forgetting my worries – a thoroughly-plucked and Botoxed millennial lowered herself into the water and began pouting for selfies. It kind of ruined the meditative experience.
Normally, I’m a live-and-let-live type. Bringing a book into the tub would not have bothered me. But other people’s phones are intrusive: they bring the whole world of Instagram followers with them. It’s attention grabbing, slightly narcissistic and shows little respect for the awareness of others.
Call me old fashioned but a spa should offer sanctuary; somewhere to escape from the world and relax. If you are constantly thinking about photos and how to stage-manage them, how can you fully immerse yourself in the spa experience? Or allow others to do so? It’s also a rare chance to reconnect to yourself and your body; to detox from the stresses of the world, to not have to care what you look like, and to discover that you can exist – happily – without your phone.
Having said that, when spa-ing solo, I might want to look at something other than the snoring person on the opposite lounger. My favourite spa relaxation room ever had an amazing library of wonderful books. But when stuck in a relax room with only an outdated, soggy copy of Hello! Magazine for company, I may end up reaching for my phone...
Scarlet Spy: Don't leave your phone behind, just be mindful
We Millennials love to splash out on experiences rather than material objects. But documenting the experience is the most important part – how else are we going to remember a great spa day or spread the word to our friends and followers? Spas themselves are on social media and our shared pics are gold dust in terms of marketing for them.
Bubbling hot tubs make the perfect boomerangs, while serene outdoor spaces are a calming reminder to look back on when we return to the normal world again. Also, let’s not devalue the thrill of the #humblebrag.
However, I have rules around my own phone etiquette. You’ll find me snapping away when I first arrive to capture the vibe, but there’s no way you’ll be seeing my post-sauna or facial selfie on the internet. After a few snaps and scrolls on the ‘gram I often put my phone back in the locker. First, it’s important to switch off to fully relax; second, I don’t fancy leaving my phone in the pocket of my robe as I head into the steam room. Who knows who might pick up my robe by mistake or otherwise? My precious phone could be swiped never to be seen again.
Most importantly, we need to respect other spa users and not post pictures of them without their permission. Oh and no phones in dark and silent relaxation rooms either – that’s as rude as taking a phone call in the middle of a movie.