There are several types of spas: day spa; salon/spa; destination spa; resort spa; hotel spa; club and med spa.
The day spa offers spa treatments, such as massages, facials and body treatments, on a day-use basis. Most offer manicures and pedicures as well. Many hair salons have added day spas, which allow you to combine spa and beauty services in one day.
Facilities will vary at day spas, but most have treatment rooms, mediation or waiting room, and a locker room with showers. A "wet room" is a tiled room with special shower facilities for more elaborate body treatments. Hydrotherapy tubs are not that common at day spas, but desirable.
The Destination Spa offers a complete spa experience in an overnight setting (most require a two or three-night minimum stay.) Its sole purpose is to provide mind and body fitness, healthy eating, spa treatments and relaxation.
There is a great range in terms of size, style and luxury, but the facilities should be more elaborate and extensive than the average day’s spa. Ideally it will have hydrotherapy tubs, wet rooms, steam baths, saunas and some unusual treatments. Expect a wide selection of exercise and stress reduction classes, as well as outdoor activities. It should have gyms for working out, swimming pools, tennis courts, and sometimes Pilate’s studios. Classes and lectures are part of the programming. Healthy spa cuisine is generally included in the price. While some treatments are included, you will probably want additional services. Some destination spas allow non-guests to book services on a day use basis. Others are limited to guests.
The Resort Spa is a facility that is just one of the many guest amenities at the resort, not the sole or primary attraction. This can be a good choice when one person loves spas and the other loves golf.
The Club spa is attached to a fitness club, and the Hotel Spa is generally a luxury facility attached to an upscale urban hotel.
Finally, the med spa has been popping up in large cities. It offers treatments that require a doctor's supervision, such as laser resurfacing and Botox injections, in addition to traditional spa services.