Every inch in a Spa is Psychology – Part IV – Spa Reception July 8, 2016

EuropeSpa Blog: The Spa Reception

After having dealt already with the design of the spa’s entrance area as well as with the rooms and hallways in a spa and how they should be arranged, today we are moving forward to yet another very important room in a spa: the reception.


After carrying out more than 100 audits across the world I have seen very different kinds of hotel spas. We have collected my insights regarding the atmosphere in spas on our blog in a series entitled „Every inch in a Spa is Psychology“.


In a good spa, the guest will receive more than just a simple treatment. They are rather setting off on a journey of impressions. It is advisable to keep this journey in mind when planning the spa or when altering it at a later stage.

The spa’s architecture, furniture, atmosphere and the behaviour of the staff signal the guests important statements such as

  1. „Here you are at a special place.“
  2. „Here you’ll not only get a massage but a unique experience.“
  3. „Here you’ll set off on a journey.”


Part 4: The Spa Reception

A reception can mean two things to the guests: distance to the Spa (a bad signal) but also safety (a good signal).

This is why there are a couple of questions you should ask yourself in order to enhance the atmosphere in the spa so that your guests feel welcome and comfortable from the very first moment.

How is the spa reception positioned in relation to the spa itself? If it is located right in front of it, the reception might be seen as a kind of barrier telling the guest: “You’re only allowed to come in when asked.” If it is positioned more laterally, however, it appears a lot more inviting and welcoming as it allows a first glance into the spa, a perspective and the expectation for what’s about to come.

The staff at reception play an important role, too, of course. How are they dressed? Is there an apparent relation between their clothes and the motto or theme of the spa? How and at what moment do the staff address the guest? In this context it is also important to note that the greeting should always be carried out standing. If the staff kept sitting, this would indicate to the guest when entering the spa “Please do not disturb me while I’m working”, and might seem intimidating or rejecting.

What can be seen on the spa reception desk or counter? Are there any working materials visible? Phones, printers, laptops, etc.? The point is: Is this an office or not rather a place that is about the undivided attention to the guest?

If there is an excessive amount of products displayed at spa reception such as cosmetics, it could send the message “We are a shop”. You should never underestimate just how clearly guests perceive what is behind the reception. Sometimes there are also TV screens with muted video sequences. They entice to watch and are therefore better suited at other locations in the hotel, for instance as a means of advertisement. In a spa, however, they are distracting and disturb the atmosphere even without sound.


EuropeSpa Expert tip: You should always keep in mind: A “decluttered” spa reception is of utmost importance as it is the first flagship of your spa. Everything on or behind the reception desk could potentially distract and confuse your guests. This is the reason why, ideally, there is only the name of the spa in plain and pretty letters displayed on the wall behind the reception desk.


Photo credit: © Trencianske Teplice, Slovakia

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Written by

Dr. Kurt von Storch

Dr. Kurt von Storch is founder and CEO of EuropeSpa med & wellness GmbH, the international quality system for medical spa and wellness of the European Spas Association (ESPA). Since 2013 he is president of the Academy of Balneology and Climatology and Member of the Board of the German Spa Read More