Going to a spa on your own can be far more relaxing than going en masse or à deux: you don't constantly have to check with your partner or friend to see if they're ready for a sauna or a mint tea yet, or feel guilty for ignoring them to read a magazine or have a snooze. We women have a tendency to put others before ourselves, even when supposedly on holiday. Sometimes it's good to leave your excess baggage behind and focus on you.
Will I stick out like a sore thumb?
Not at all. At most spas, you will see solo spa goers enjoying some precious me time. Read our feature Top Five Spas to Go Solo for inspiration. When I see a woman alone, I assume she is strong and independent and knows what she wants -- time for herself.
In the age of Wellness, it’s perfectly acceptable – essential even – to make time for ourselves as part of our long-term health. The idea of treating ourselves to a spa day is balanced by the fact it’s good for us to take time out from our busy lives and look after ourselves, mentally, physically and spiritually. Being alone without thinking of another person gives you the space to check in and see how you really feel.
It’s not selfish to want to spa alone. Self-care may be a somewhat overused phrase, but it came from the realisation that those who care for others – from parents to nurses – often don’t look after themselves, resulting in burnout.
What can I do to make the most of my solo spa time?
On your spa day, you can immerse yourself in that book you’ve been meaning to read, join an exercise class, go for a run, hire a bike, work out in the gym, practise mindful walking in the grounds, or spend the whole days snoozing – you’re the boss, it’s totally up to you.
If you’re feeling social, residential destination spas offer talks, movies or activities in the evenings. Spa retreats can be social if it’s a group retreat, or tailor-made for you alone. They may offer a time-table where you can focus on health and fitness, or relaxation and mental wellbeing. Our Spa Spy went on a retreat on her own in Switzerland, and it changed her life, but you don't have to go abroad for a transformative spa experience.
If you are someone who finds it hard to just sit around relaxing, you could always create your own spa retreat-style schedule before you go. Decide what you want to do in the morning and after lunch. We often suggest booking your treatment nearer the end of the day, so that you don’t swim or sweat away your lovely products. Also, give yourself time to relax then wake up in time for your journey home.
Will I have to share a table at lunch?
Not if you don’t want to. You will often see solo diners at hotels and spas; some take books or read their phones while waiting for their food. We Spa Spies often dine alone at spas and very rarely do we feel awkward (usually if placed next to a rowdy table). We find that you can really savour your food without having to make conversation or worry about getting salad in your teeth – it’s also fun people-watching.
If you want to mingle with fellow spa goers, some spas offer club tables at mealtimes where you can sit with groups of solo spa goers.
I don't want to share a room. Are there any prices that aren't for two people sharing?
Most spas quote a price for a stay based on two sharing, but this doesn't mean they don't have single rooms. Single occupancy is usually available, but at a supplement.
Look for this supplementary price in the spa's brochure or on their website, or just give them a call. We agree about the sharing — sometimes a spa is best savoured alone!
Image courtesy of The Spa at Pennyhill Park, Surrey.
10th October 2018
Clever, inspiring design, sublime views, a vast, clean and empty pool, solitary relaxation areas to read, write or commune with my muse.
Small talk, discussions about spirituality or astrology, any products containing tea tree oil or aloe (sadly am allergic), busy pools where you can’t do laps.
Behind the scenes