UK's biggest spa etiquette annoyances revealed

Published 08th Jul 2024 by Kezia Parkins

A new survey has revealed what vexes Brits regarding other people's spa etiquette while research simultaneously shows a 300% increase in people searching for "summer wellness" over the last month. 

The survey of over 1,000 Brits, conducted by Hekla Saunas, lifted the lid on the biggest pet peeves, from people going completely nude, to not showering before, and even people getting too steamy in the sauna. 

It found that 45% of female responses found ‘women going topless’ to be unacceptable, while interestingly, only 26% of men thought it was an issue.

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Alongside how people dress, attitude and spa behaviour topped the charts of people’s biggest issues. 39% of Brits think getting drunk is unacceptable, while 37% disagree with people using inappropriate language or swearing.

A lack of personal hygiene also scored highly, with 36% of people finding it poor behaviour to not clean feet before using facilities, and 35% disapprove of eating and drinking in the sauna, hot tub or steam room.

A breakdown of top 10 things Brits find unacceptable in the spa:

Which of the following do you think isn't acceptable when it comes to etiquette at a spa?


Going completely nude


Having relations within the sauna, steam room or hot tub with a love interest


Getting drunk


Bad language/swearing


Having dirty feet/not cleaning them before


Women going topless


Eating/drinking in the sauna, hot tub or steam room


Not showering before


Spending too long in certain facilities such as the hot tub, steam room etc. even though you can see others are waiting to use them


Wearing make-up/fake tan in water facilities e.g. the pool/hot tub


Lorela Movileanu, spa manager at Armathwaite Hall Hotel and Spa commented that conversations surrounding what to wear don’t have to be uncomfortable.

“We find the most common misconception for first-time spa guests is often around what to wear during a massage. Many might worry they need to be completely undressed, which can lead to unnecessary anxiety,” she said.

“The beauty of a massage is it's completely customisable! Therapists will always communicate what level of undress is necessary for the treatment beforehand and ensure guests are comfortably covered up throughout the service."

Emma Pridding, spa sirector at The Spa at Carden, added, “Clear communications mean a more comfortable and tailored experience,” says . “We also include a couple of questions like this on our pre-treatment forms so the therapist is aware before they start your treatment.”

Kezia Parkins

Kezia Parkins

Published 08th Jul 2024

Kezia Parkins is the deputy editor of Professional Beauty. She has a background in medical journalism and is also as trained nail tech. As such, she is particularly passionate about all thing nails, as well as the science behind beauty products and treatments. Contact her at [email protected]

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