“Do the robes fit?”

That was Elizabeth’s question about the Olympus women’s spa I went to Friday.   It’s a common question.   Over the years my general experience with day spas has been:

  • Make appointment, usually for a massage.
  • Arrive and check in.
  • Be handed a robe that is too small and be directed to a locker room to change.

I do understand the rationale.  Practically speaking:

  • Your wallet, purse, coat, et cetera is (frequently) in a locker.  You don’t have to carry it from treatment room to treatment room.
  • Easier to get naked for scrubs, massages, and so on.
  • If you use a sauna or steam room, your street clothes are unaffected.
  • Most massages include using oil to reduce friction.  When you’re done, you’re covered in oil.  Putting on the robe gets the oil on the robe.  You can often choose to shower before dressing in your own clothing.

There’s also the emotional aspect, in that you are taking a “time out” from your usual routine.  The robe means it’s time to relax.

So, what to do?  There are some facilities where there isn’t a locker room and the change-into-a-robe routine doesn’t exist.   Others where it’s optional.   The spa I visited on Friday not only asks you to change into a robe, but to go naked in the pool / body scrub area.

What I generally do is…

  • Check out their website, if they have one.  Often they will include their preferred routine, locker and shower availability, and so on.
  • Call and ask what their general routine is.  Do they have locker rooms?  Showers?  Do they ask people to change into robes?
  • You can ask about the general size of the robes, but be aware that the actual size may not be known.  Most robes I’ve experienced are XL or XXL.
  • If you think you’re going to need your own robe, take one!  I’ve never had a problem with this.
  • If you’re really nervous about it, take their robe, try it on, and only substitute your own if you feel theirs is too small.

During my highly-paid high-tech years, I was visiting one day spa monthly.   One Saturday the receptionist gave me a big smile and said, “Oh, we’ve got some new larger robes since you were here last!  They’re size 28 from Lane Bryant, want to try one?”   Guess what – it fit!!  :)

5 thoughts on ““Do the robes fit?”

  1. If you ever come to San Francisco, you should go to Kabuki Springs & Spa. I went there recently and was prepared for the robe not to fit, but they gave me a large one without my having to ask for it, and it fit.

  2. funny thing, I went for a massage w/ my aunt on friday, and I was just wondering if robe size was a problem for some. they only had one size of robe (as far as I saw, the robes were hanging up in the changing room). i would estimate that my aunt is about a size 20 or so, and the robe fit her, but if she were 2-3 sizes bigger, it wouldn’t have. having a couple extra-large robes seems like such an easy thing to do – after all, smaller people can wear big robes just fine.

  3. The one day spa I’ve been to had a robe that just barely fit me, and I would have preferred a nudist experience. These days, I don’t have a lot of issues with being seen naked by other women –or men for that matter :)–but I hate the feeling of things not fitting me, and struggling to pull too small bits of cloth over me. I’m not so much worried about accidental exposure (though I think it probably happened that day) as I am about comfort.

    If I go to the Olympus spa, I will bring my own robe, and I feel kind of dumb that that never occurred to me before. I’ve spent a lot of years trying to take up as little space, and notice, as possible. If I didn’t fit, I didn’t go, or I squished myself in with unhappy silence. Only recently have I started asking for accommodation, and I have been pleasantly surprised by the results, Aside from occasional embarrassment, people are very no-big-deal about it, if I am.

    Aside from the robes, how did you like the spa?

    (I really enjoy your blog, by the way, and I think it’s cool that you’re in Washington, too!)

  4. Stef – Good to know! Yes, spas with big robes are out there. :)

    Ellie – Great minds think alike?

    Elizabeth – I liked it overall. I thought they were very well organized – we were each given a numbered locker key, and it was emphasized that we also would use the same number shoe cubby by the door and towel cubby in the pool room. My massage (from Bea) was great. I would have been better off if I hadn’t had pot stickers while waiting for my friend in the restaurant, because they disagreed with me, but otherwise it was good. :)

  5. The only time I ever went to a spa was the Red Door Spa at one of the hotels in Atlantic City, with the bridal party for my sisters wedding- we got manicures and enjoyed the jacuzzi and sauna.

    I was probably a size 22/24 at the time, and when we went into the locker room and opened the lockers to take out robes which were waiting in them, the receptionist tapped me on the shoulder, handed me a robe, and took the one I’d been holding. All without a word, just a big smile. I’m pretty sure no one else in the group even noticed. And that robe was so comfy and big on me! I’d estimate it would fit up to a size 30/32 easily.

    I was so touched that the spa made no big deal out of my size, and made sure I didn’t have to wear an uncomfortable robe.

    She also brought larger slippers for myself and another girl- I wear an 11 and she wears a 12 and they fit! So red door spa can accommodate a very large range of sizes, at least the one I went to. As I recall the seats for the manicures were nice and wide, my hips didn’t touch the side and my hip was around 54 then, I think. Maybe a bit larger.

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