Different Types Of Spas

In today’s spa industry, there are numerous types of spas and sometimes it is hard to know what the differences are between these spas from the name alone. However, there are actually many distinguishing factors from prices to services as well as where you will typically find each type of spa. Here, we will explore the definitions for several different types of spas so that whether you are in your hometown or on vacation abroad, you will be better able to select the spa that suits you best.

Day Spas

The distinguishing factor for day spas is that they do not offer nighttime accommodations and spa clients can go for an hour or an entire day but there are no rooms or hotel services connected to the spa. These spas typically offer all of the more traditional spa services like massages, facials and pedicures but do not tend to include the more specialized services like a destination spa. Day spas are what people typically visit on a day to day basis in their local areas.

Stay Spas

Like the name implies, stay spas are spas which you generally only access as part of a resort stay, hotel retreat, “health farm” or other accommodation package. You will still find typical services like massages or pedicures at stay spas but their purpose is more integrative with lifestyle goals. For instance, there are stay spas for people looking to lose weight, take a break from cell phones and social media or de-stress. These spas will generally have individual and group activities scheduled day and night which coincide with the lifestyle goal of the participants.

Health Farm Spas

Health farms, which are a popular sub-category of stay spas, combine beauty, health, fitness and relaxation as their goals for clients who generally stay for at least a week at the retreat. Clients will have fitness and exercise classes, prepared, healthy meals and salon and spa services like hair appointments and massage. The goal is to send the client away healthier and with a better appearance than when they arrived. Health farms have become popular destinations all over the word.

Destination Spas

Destination spas are typically part of resorts and the focus of these spas is on wellness and professional treatments. Many times found on beaches, destination spas will usually include educational health classes, group fitness classes and professional massage treatments. In addition to this, they can include games and other group activities.

Hotel Spas

While hotel spas can include typical spa services like massages or pedicures, the most definitive parts of hotel spas are usually saunas, jacuzzis and/or steam rooms. Hotel spas typically have less hands-on services and more self-serve accommodations that hotel guests can use as they please.

Holistic Or Alternative Medicine Spas

Holistic or alternative medicine spas generally have distinctive treatments which clearly set them apart from other spas. The focus can be traditional Chinese medicine, traditional Indian medicine or other holistic activities like meditation in nature and aromatherapy. When traditional services like massages are provided, they are almost always done with a holistic twist whether that be the essential oils used in the services or the food and drink accommodations provided alongside the services.

Hydro Spas

Hydro spas, as the name would imply, provide services which revolve around water such as pressurized jet massages. Thanks to the pandemic, these types of spas have become more popular recently since the services at hydro spas generally require little to no human contact. This is obviously appealing to the Covid-19 conscious. Hydro spas can include whirlpools or jacuzzis but their main feature is pressurized water jets which provide massages that claim to improve circulation, relieve stress and relax sore muscles. These massages which use pressurized jets have come to be known as hydro-massages.

Medical Spas

Medical spas combine the two worlds of medicine and spas. Usually, everything in medical spas takes place under the guidance of doctors and medical professionals and you may find some of the slightly more invasive treatments at medical spas such as laser hair removal, dermabrasion or microdermabrasion. Nutritionists, chiropractors and physical therapists are some of the other professionals you might encounter inside of a medical spa.


While health and wellness is a common theme among all of the types of spas, the way each different spa goes about achieving this goal is very different. Each of these spas also have their own demographic of clients. Younger people such as gen Z and millennials are more likely to visit holistic or alternative medicine spas while retirees with more time on their hands are more likely to visit destination spas, stay spas and other spas which typically come along with overnight accommodations. Now, if you are ever looking for a spa for yourself or a family member, you should have a better idea of which spa is the perfect fit.