The older your children, the more likely they are to be welcome at a spa, though there may be restrictions to what kind of spa treatments they can get. Manicures and pedicures are the easiest to accommodate, especially for ages ten and up. Massage is the most "sensitive" -- and often not offered to anyone under 18. This is because the whole body is touched and there can't be a hint of misunderstanding about what is happening. Sometimes it is allowed if the teen wears loose clothing or a bathing suit and the parent has signed a consent form. Often the parent needs to be present in the room. Is watching your kid be massaged YOUR idea of a good time?
Very small children aren't usually welcome is because spas are all about relaxing, and they tend to have the opposite effect. Traditional spa treatments aren't the right kind of fun for most small kids, who would rather be active and loud.
You're probably better off hiring a baby sitter or, if you're on vacation, putting them in the Kids Clubs and Teen Clubs that are available at so many resort spas.
That said, spas of every type are trying to be more accommodating to families and their children, without disturbing other guests. And there are a few "kids spas" out there where you can bring kids three and up for manicures, pedicures, facials and hair-dos. They are usually shortened versions of regular spa treatments, for kids' shorter attention spans.
Day Spas And Kids
Teenagers are generally welcome at spas, though the minimum age varies. While manicures and pedicures are no problem, there may be restrictions for services like massages and facials on teens under 18.
Teens can usually still get a service like a massage or facial, but the spa usually requires loose clothing or a bathing suit, signed parental consent forms, and sometimes even a parent present in the room with them. The therapist will be of the same gender. Spas might also restrict access to private lounge areas, wet areas, fitness rooms and the spa pool to maintain a quiet, adult environment.
Younger children can usually get a manicure or pedicure while mommy gets one. But think about whether it's really going to be fun for a small child -- or you. Can the child sit still? Can you relax? Maybe you're better off with a sitter.
A few larger cities have spas created for kids, like Simply Sassy Kids Spa in Winston-Salem and Charlotte, North Carolina. Kids can pick ice cream fizzie balls for their manicures and pedicures, get facials, and have their hair done. On Long Island NY, Seriously Spoiled Day Spa in Patchogue and Dix Hills has a fun atmosphere and looks like a full-service salon and spa -- for 18 and unders only. These are good places for kids spa parties.
Destination Spas And Kids
So what if you're going on vacation? Destination spas, with their active programs and emphasis on wellness, generally have an age minimum of 16. Canyon Ranch Lenox and Canyon Ranch Tucson are an exception, allowing teens 14 and up to accompany their parents. They can also receive many spa treatments with same gender therapists, as long as they wear loose clothing or swimsuits, and have parental consent.
Canada’s Echo Valley Ranch in British Columbia has special Family Ranch Vacation Packages during two months in the summer. Kids three and older can fish, take Thai yoga or roast s'mores around a fire (all supervised, of course), while parents have spa treatments and connect over a leisurely dinner. This is similar to the Kids Clubs that are commonly found at large resort spas.
While still a destination spa, Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa in Miami is more like a traditional hotel, where all ages are welcome to stay. KidFit and TeenFit exercise programs are available for children 8 through 16, and there are family activities as well. However, the spa itself is restricted to teens 14 and up.
Most people go to destination spas for their personal renewal and wellness, so consider whether bringing a teen along will support that goal.
Resort Spas And Kids
Most big resort spas have some kind of kids camp and teen clubs so that parents can relax and know their kids aren't getting into trouble.
But the spas, traditionally off-limits, are becoming more kid-friendly. Many resort spas offer facials, manicures and pedicures to teens 13 and up. And some resort spas, especially, those that are known as family destinations, are reaching out to families who want spa-time togetherness or offering services to younger children. Here's a few examples.
- Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa in San Antonio, Texas, is one of the few resorts to have an actual "youth spa" called The SPAhhhT (pronounced “spot”) offering Henna Tattoos, updos, airbrushed nail art, and basic salon services.
- The Homestead Resort & Spa in Hot Springs, Virginia, has a different solution -- a spa suite where the whole family can gather for spa treatments, including age appropriate services for kids.
- The Greenbriar Resort Spa in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, offers teen facials, manicures and pedicures, but also cater to kids six to ten with a mini-manicure and pedicure called the M.E. 2 Package.
- Wintergreen Resort, a ski resort in Wintergreen, Virginia, has a "Teen and Tween" menu with one of the options being a "Diva Day With Mom." So instead of watching your kid get a massage, you can get one, too!