This post was written by April Smith, spa manager at The Ocean Reef Club, for our Best Practices series.

Question: We’re thinking of adding a spa treatment room to our facility. What fundamental things do we need to know in order to create the right atmosphere and ensure the spa’s success?

The good news is adding a spa room doesn’t have to be expensive or complex. The main thing to keep in mind is that you want it to be a tranquil, relaxing space that’s comfortable for both the client and the service provider. Here are some important guidelines to consider:

Consideration #1: Size

Many spa rooms are either 10' x 14' or 12' x 14', which translates to 140 to 168 square feet. A typical massage table measures 72" x 30", but a face cradle can add up to 12" to the length.

You’ll need to make sure there’s at least 3' of space around each side of the table, as well as a treatment chair for the service provider. Of course, there should be room for the door of the room to open and close. You’ll also need space for a cabinet to store linens, treatment supplies, a sink with counter space, a comfortable chair for clients to sit on while taking off their shoes, and clothing hooks fastened to the wall.

Consideration #2: Flooring

The best choices include wood, vinyl tile, or cushioned flooring, rather than a hard surface, such as marble or ceramic tile. Keep in mind that your clients will be barefoot, so the floor shouldn’t be cold or slippery. Avoid carpet, as it can be easily stained and is hard to change out. Instead, try a nice, soft area rug that will create a warm feeling, and can be cleaned without difficulty.

Consideration #3: Lighting and décor

Lighting should operate by means of a dimmer, and not be positioned directly above the massage table. If there’s a window, add some kind of window covering or a blackout curtain.

If you want to use candles, I recommend the unscented, rechargeable variety to eliminate any chance of starting a small fire. Waterfalls and the like are also very popular for spa rooms, but the service provider needs to be able to turn these mechanisms on and off. Overall, the décor for this room should be minimal, with neutral earth tones and soft colors that create a sense of peace and tranquility.

Consideration #4: Noise level

Your spa room needs to be quiet, so, if necessary, you’ll want to soundproof it. Be sure to filter out sounds from outside, from mechanical rooms, and from bathrooms, locker rooms, and intercoms or sound systems. Utilize the quietest space you have, but don’t forget to add music, which will contribute to the soothing atmosphere you want to create. Equip the room with its own sound system and speakers with a volume control that your service provider can adjust, as required.

Consideration #5: Temperature control

The room should have its own thermostat, if possible. Keep in mind that the service provider will be hard at work, and the client will be relaxing, so the temperature should be comfortable for both.

Consideration #6: Access control

Finally, the door of the spa room needs to have some kind of “In Session” sign on the outside to eliminate interruptions by your staff or members.

Your goal is to create an oasis that your members will enjoy and want to use again and again. Have you succeeded?

I recommend that you try a spa treatment to see for yourself.