What not to do on a Spa Break (we found out the Hard Way)

What not to do on a spa break - The Globe Wanderers

Do I keep my pants on?

Where do I look?

Do I sauna and then steam, or steam and then sauna?

These were just three of the many questions we were asking ourselves when we got away from it all at a spa break in the countryside last weekend.

This trip was a very lovely birthday present from my dad and step mum back in April (thanks guys!)… and when we realised it expired in less than a month, we knew we had better pull our fingers out. It couldn’t have come at a better time, we needed to chill.

Thought I’d tell you guys the story of our two days of pampering today. More accustomed to hostel beds and public swimming pools, we felt like royalty (and probably spent the majority of the two days looking like numptys who didn’t belong).

We should have done our research.


The Grand Arrival

What not to do on a spa break - fawlsey hall The globe wanderers

Our spa break of choice was at the beautiful Fawlsey Hall Hotel in Northamptonshire. The place was jaw-on-floor stunning. As we drove up the grand driveway in ‘Tina’ our rusty Vauxhall Tigra, we already stood out like a sore thumb.

We swung into a space in-between a Porsche and a Jaguar (yowzers) and walked into reception. The receptionist (let’s call her Penelope) was SO ridiculously polite and the check-in process was seamless.

Penelope asked for our number plate and if we’d found a parking space okay. We nodded and sheepishly pointed to Tina the Tigra. Penelope quickly suggested we move her to the ‘safer’ more concealed car park up the road.

Once we’d moved the eye-sore that is Tina, we checked in to the spa. We were given the grand tour by an immaculately dressed woman with her hair in the tightest bun known to man. And chilled? We wouldn’t be surprised if she’d just popped a horse-tranquiliser. Must be all the lavender and scented oils.


More than I bargained for in the changing room

After the tour, James and I obviously went our separate ways into each respective changing room (it wasn’t that kind of place guys). This we managed without too much trouble.

What not to do on a spa break, changing rooms - The Globe WanderersAs I walked through the door, the steam from the showers and the scent of aromatherapy oils surrounded me and I felt instantly relaxed.

Then came the boobs.

I turned the corner and there were boobs everywhere. I’m talking at least 16. No private cubicles, ohhh no. Everyone on a spa break is clearly very comfortable with their bits… and very comfortable with waving said bits around in front of anyone who cares to look. I tried not to.

Don’t get me wrong, I totally respect any woman who is confident enough to get naked in public. Fair play to you! Amen sister and all that. I’d love to have that confidence, and if I did, you bet your nelly I’d be running around in the nuddy with the best of them.

However, I unfortunately have a few too many wobbly bits for my liking and I like to keep them under wraps as much as possible. This resulted in me doing some awkward dress-off-shoulder-swimsuit-up-legs-without-flashing-bottom-dance, to avoid any unwanted grand reveals. By the time I’d succeeded, the boobs had left and I was able to take a quick snap.

After composing myself I left the changing room in my robe and slippers to meet James in the corridor. His face said it all. It would appear he’d had some close encounters of a different kind. He spent the next hour of our spa day contemplating why men always insist on dressing their top half first and leaving their crown jewels on display until the very last moment.

slippers on a spa break


Slipping into the hydrotherapy pool

This was basically a bath temperature mini-pool just outside the spa. And it was BLISS. Once I managed to get into it that is.

Am I the only person who struggles with those steps?

Do you shimmy down backwards or turn around and inflict your half naked bottom on whoever may be looking?

This is never my first choice (as to quote the classic Bridget Jones “I have bottom size of Brazil”), so I opted for option one. It didn’t quite go according to plan though as my hands slipped off the wet steps and I slid down the last three. Smooth.

We spent a good twenty minutes chilling in the calm, warm waters of the hydropool – it was so quiet and peaceful. There’s something magic about being out in the cold English weather whilst soaking in a big steamy bathtub.

Then a couple invaded our peace… and pressed the button. Turns out a hydropool is supposed to be bubbly. We nonchalantly vacated the pool, trying our best to look like we knew all along.


To sit or not to sit?

Spa Break Fawsley Hall swimming pool(Source)

As we walked back into the main spa room, everyone else looked the absolute epitome of relaxed. Lounging about, reading, sleeping, drinking tea – anything a relaxed person does, this lot had it down.

Queue the next dilemma. We were soaking wet from the hydropool, but wanted to have a little chill out on the beds.

Do we sit with our soggy towels and make the posh beds wet? Or do we stand awkwardly beside the beds hoping to drip dry a little before sitting?

We lingered for a few minutes, enduring glances of disapproval from the relaxed lot. Clearly we were making the place look untidy. So we sat.

We were wet, our towels were wet and now our beds were wet. What’s the deal with that? I’m still convinced there must have been some big human dryer we didn’t know about. No one else looked soggy.

I did manage to relax a little eventually. Well enough to drift off to sleep anyway… only to wake myself up snoring. Not cool at all.

The massage

This was the part of the spa break I’d been really looking forward to. I have a bad back, so any opportunity for a massage is good with me.

But wait. What’s the done thing here? We’re in our damp swimming stuff covered by our damp dressing gowns.

Do we sit in the beautiful conservatory sipping on tea whilst we slowly dry off? Or do we change before hand and put all our clothes back on? Who the devil knows. 

We opted for the slightly dryer, happy medium of underwear and dressing gown.

Spa Break - the massage

Here’s a very comfortable James. He hates this photo – thinks he has a pin head…

J’s masseuse came to collect him first. She was quite a scary looking hairy woman with one eyebrow… James shot me a look of terror as he followed her out of the room.

I think at this point he regretted circling ‘firm’ as his massage preference.

Five minutes later, my masseuse lead me into one of the treatment rooms and left me to get myself on the bed. Queue the dreaded question…

Am I supposed to take my pants off here? 

I quickly decided to leave them put and hope for the best. Then I had to manoeuvre myself onto the bed, face down, under the towel so that my brazil bottom was covered.

Easier said than done. I couldn’t see myself, but I’m almost certain I will have looked like a beached seal trying to shimmy it’s way down the sand.

Spa Break - beached seal has a massage(Source)

Aside from struggling to hold back awkward giggles when she massaged around my neck and a stray bit of dribble at times, the rest of the massage was fairly uneventful.

I think I may have even drifted off at one point. Lovely.


To sum up…

After our massages, we checked in to our beautiful hotel room and put our feet up. The hotel was absolutely stunning, it was like staying the night in a period film. We managed to blend in a little better for the remainder of our stay and everything else went fairly smoothly (aside from a trip up and flying croissant situation at breakfast the next morning).

Spa Break - Fawsley Hall - The Globe Wanderers

Can’t recommend it highly enough.

Just make sure you do your ‘how to act on a spa break’ research before you go if you’re a little bit simple like us. 😉

To give you a helping hand, here’s a list of 10 things not to do on a spa break.



1 – Don’t park your shit car next to one that costs the same as a small house.

2 – Don’t look straight at any stranger’s secret bits in the changing room. It could get awkward.

3 – Speaking of secret bits, don’t dress every inch of your body before them. Get your priorities straight people.

4 – Don’t get in the shower with your spa slippers on. Soggy is not sexy.

5 – Don’t wait until after you’ve put your swimming costume on to go for a wee…it’s most inconvenient.

6 – Don’t forget to make a mental note of your locker number. James spent a good 15 minutes trying to find his.

7 – Don’t choose your ‘massage preference’ lightly. You may get more than you bargained for.

8 – Don’t forget to shower. Shower before you do anything and after you do everything. If in doubt, just shower.

9 – If you choose to indulge in a chocolate muffin in the lounge, don’t wipe your hands down your white gown… it looks a little suspect.

10 – Don’t fall asleep on one of the loungers with your mouth open and snore yourself awake. It’s not sexy or dignified.


Have you ever been on a spa break? Did you manage to ‘style it out’ better than we did? If so, please tell us how! (We need all the help we can get).

Like it? Share our ridiculousness and give it a pin…

What not to do on a spa break - The Globe Wanderers


  • Rachel Wood

    This post gave me a good giggle, me and my boyfriend had been to one and definitely stuck out like sore thumbs, I’m sure there should be a spa etiquette handbook before you go in!


    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Pleased it made you laugh Rachel! Haha great to hear James and I aren’t the only ones to look like numptys on a spa break ;). Perhaps I’ll consider pulling together a spa etiquette guide, care to contribute? ;).


  • hyyperlic

    haha, great tips! 🙂

    Lisa | Joy Della Vita Travelblog

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Thank you Lisa!

  • Emily

    Holy shit! This spa looks amazing! It’s like the Downton Abbey of spas! I go to the spa a couple of times a year, and it’s always boobs and blobs (mine!) everywhere, I guess it’s something you get used to. Glad you enjoyed and thanks for the laughs!!

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      It was absolutely beautiful! Haha boobs and blobs made me laugh. Sounds like you’re quite the expert… perhaps I’ll have to pick your spa etiquette brain next time :). So pleased you enjoyed it! Thanks for the comment 🙂


  • Abbi from Life in a rucksack ✈

    Awesome post guys – this gave me a bit of a giggle! I think I am with you on the whole spa break thing. I love them, but they can be a touch awkward at times. I had a bit of a naked encounter with a hot Spanish man when I had my first ever full body massage (I was about 21). The underwear had to come off (as did my bra), and he literally massaged EVERYWHERE (including the chest area). I was mortified!
    I have also had awkward experiences with the dribble during a facial – I was proper relaxed, and laying there with my mouth half open (not attractive).

    I really giggled at the whole swim gear up the towel, not showing any skin comment – I still do that! I am still not comfortable with my body in public places.

    That hotel looks so grand and lovely, though – I think I need a spa break pronto!

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Hi Abbi – ah so pleased you liked it and that it gave you a giggle. That’s what we like to hear! 🙂 Haha absolutely, they are lovely but there’s just so many possibilities for awkward moments… and me, being me, whenever there is a possibility – it happens!

      Haha oh my goodness that sounds horrendously awkward! How ever did you stop yourself from laughing? You’re my hero – that’s a fantastic effort.

      Yep I’ve definitely mastered the subtle swim wear under towel dance. It’s not a very good look ;). I really do envy those who are comfortable enough to get it all out. Maybe i’ll be like that one day!

      Hope you get your spa break asap and that you manage to keep control of your dribble when you do! 😉


  • Amy

    This is so freaking hilarious!! OMG too funny! Especially the part about the masseuse! LOL

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Hi Amy, SO pleased you liked the post. It really was a slightly ridiculous experience… I’m not graceful enough for a spa break 😉


  • globetotting.com

    Haha! I’m glad I’m not the only one who gets confused my spa etiquette. That said, we had as much trouble when we lived in India. My husband gave up on massages after two in which he was told to remove all his clothes….he just found he couldn’t quite relax 🙂

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Haha oh blimey that must be horrendously awkward. But at least the ‘do I keep my pants on?’ question was answered for him! ;). Thanks for the comment!


  • Chris Nash

    Ha! Looks like a lot of fun, and the sort of place we’d walk into and they’d certainly look us up and down before deciding whether to let us in!

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Haha absolutely Chris, we definitely got those looks… poor Tina the rusty Tigra didn’t help matters either ;). It was a lovely break though and we did have a lot of laughs… mainly at our own expense! Thanks for stopping by!


  • Gemma

    HILARIOUS! Oh how the other half live eh? The only spa break I’ve been to was at Stobo Castle, I managed to wangle accompanying my Mum on her 50th, thanks Dad! And you know about the bum massage from Facebook. Really enjoyed this, made me laugh big time.

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Haha absolutely Gemma, we did NOT fit in. Oooo I’ve heard amazing things about Stobo Castle, bet that was beautiful! Your bum message on Facebook really really made me laugh. Treacherous things those spa situation ;). Pleased it made you chuckle. Massive Happy Friday to you!


  • Brittany Singer

    Oh I’m so happy I’m not the only one *sigh of relief*. Add to the list being super ticklish- I’ve both kicked a masseuse before and had an uncontrollable giggle fit. The struggle is real and really awkward.

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Ohh no Brittany, you’re not alone! Haha that made me laugh… bet the masseuse wasn’t too pleased? My masseuse did some weird around the neck massage thing too, when you’re claustrophobic that is not so relaxing!! She was VERY close to getting a kick as well ;). Hope your next spa experience is ever so slightly less awkward. Thanks so much for stopping by!


  • http://www.compassandfork.com elizabeth

    Very funny! If it makes you feel any better spa ettiquette varies not only from country to country, but also spa to spa. So no matter how many times we go to a spa, it is always a bit of trying to work out what the done thing is.

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Hi Elizabeth, thank you for this. Oh blimey, if I can’t cope with an English spa I had better seriously do my research before venturing out into any foreign ones – can you imagine the opportunities for embarrassment! Have you written any posts on your experiences? Would love to have a read :).


  • kimberly erin @ Walkaboot.ca

    ahah cute, just wait tilll you do a spa day in Finland and then write a new post, that I cannot wait to read. How about unisex saunas? ALL THE BITS ahaha

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Oh blimey! That does sound like an experience! Do you have a post on it?? Sounds like an interesting read ;).

  • http://www.tracietravels.com Tracie Howe

    This was welcome entertainment! Haha! Just remember that we are all our own worst critics and no one else will see you as you see yourself. 😉 I think some people have just gotten past that more than the rest of us. I’d be doing some awkward dressing under my robe too, if not hiding in a bathroom stall.

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Hey Tracie, so pleased you enjoyed it! Haha that is all too true, I am without doubt my own worst critic. It reminds me of a line in a Tim Minchin song when he writes about his body: “I spend so much time hating it, but it never says a bad word about me.” SO true. One day I hope to be able to throw the robe aside and bare all that wobbles. That day isn’t just yet though ;). Thanks for the comment.


  • Isabela Mariano

    Haha. I had fun reading this post! It’s very entertaining and informative. I’m not really into spas but now, I think I need one! 🙂

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Hi Isabela, thanks for your comment. Really pleased you enjoyed the post, hope you get yourself on a spa break before too long & that these tips come in handy!

  • http://www.girlonthemoveblog.com Julie DenOuden

    Oh my goodness this post was a lot of fun to read!! Thank you for sharing your experience and tips…especially for those of us who don’t have a lot of spa experience

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Hey Julie, thank you for the lovely comment – so pleased you enjoyed the post…. Even if it was ever so slightly ridiculous ;). Hope the tips come in handy if you ever find yourself in a spa situation!

  • http://www.psimonmyway.com Trisha Velarmino

    Totally jealous!!! This looked like a lot of fun and I really need to treat myself to one of these!

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Hey Trisha, it was fun I can definitely recommend! Get yourself to one asap :).

  • Tamara Wilcox

    Can’t even imagine! I would have had absolutely no idea what to do!

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Haha it was rather awkward at times! We tried our best to style it out ;).

  • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

    I’m sure you’d manage to style it out much more successfully than we did Rachel. It was a little awkward… still great fun though! We ate, we drank and we chilled (in between fits of hilarity). It was great! 🙂

  • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

    Hey Leonie, oh you should get yourself on one! It was lovely and relaxing (even for us lemmings) – hope you get to put your feet up before too long :). Thanks for stopping by!

  • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

    Hey Rebecca, so pleased you liked the post and that it made you chuckle – that’s what we like to hear! How was the spa break?? Did the tips come in handy? Were there boobs EVERYWHERE? Hope you had fun :).


  • sanketdhume

    HAHAHA. I loved reading this. Was imagining the whole scene unwinding all the while. It really does look like a real classy place. I’ve never had a spa treatment done. Not even the women I dated could convince me into joining them. The only person that gets to touch my sensitive bits in a platonic manner is my gym masseuse, and even then only about once a month. I do feel tempted to give it a shot though. I’m just incredibly awkward about people touching me outside of the bedroom. LOL

  • http://www.mccooltravel.com charlesmccool

    Don’t look at secret bits. Check! Love this article.

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Haha no don’t look them straight in the eye ;). Thanks Charles, so pleased you enjoyed it!

  • RunawayBrit

    I adore this article! I recently attended an ayurvedic retreat in India, where I committed a similar faux-paus (resulting in the masseur having to tie my ‘loin-cloth’ to me!!), plus in India you get breast massage too! It’s really weird the first time – I honestly didn’t know whether I was being taken advantage of, and whether it would be prudish to tell her to stop! I wrote about it recently, if you want to have a look 😀

    To be honest, I think us Brits are more reserved when it comes to nakedness than most. I lived in Sweden for 4 years, and had to get over my prudish British ways as the Swedes don’t need much encouragement to get naked 😀