Part Four – Free In-Room Spa! A Getaway from your Getaway
While traveling recently, I needed to give myself some much-needed pampering. My hair was fried, my nails were turning into talons, and my skin was breaking out in a rash from all the harsh hotel detergents and soaps. The problem is, when you’re traveling for work, you may be trying to save money, confined to a hotel, be on a wacky and sleep-deprived schedule, or simply be trying to get by on a set budget.
For me, it’s pretty much all of these things. After wringing my blotchy hands and vicariously going to the spa by stalking several websites and pretending I had the luxury of visiting one, I decided to treat myself. Here’s what I came up with, and it works for guys, gals, and couples.
Get set up, trick yourself out in a few of my ghetto-fabulous in-room treatments, and spend a little time doing some hair removal, prettying up your nails, rolling your hair, or even sneaking in a little nap.
GET SET UP:
Read the manual. Those little flyers and binders in the room should state what the hotel offers you for free. Some offer complimentary robes, slippers, or even yoga mats, but you have to ask.
Crash the lobby/ continental breakfast buffet for useful items, like honey, oatmeal, lemon wedges, apples, oranges, cucumber slices, herbal tea bags, sugar packets, bottled water, etc. If you feel weird or guilty about it, just remind yourself of the room tax and occupancy tax you’re paying. Don’t be an obnoxious hoarder, and don’t make a mess. But help yourself. You can always tip housekeeping generously. Speaking of…
Raid the Housekeeping Cart. Make sure you have 2 extra hand towels and at least 2 bath towels, but get all you can. Also get extra conditioner and lotions, like several of each. An extra sheet and pillowcase is also a good idea, if they have it. Some rooms have sofa beds or cots and provide extra sheets in the closet already.
Visit Vending. Fill up your ice bucket. Want something sweet to treat yourself? Get some chocolate or candy from the vending machines. (I myself prefer Twizzlers.) Make sure you have at least some water to drink. The minibar can get pricey, but if you’re lucky, your hotel has somewhere to purchase a drink, if you fancy a glass of juice, wine, or bubbly before your Day Spa Experience.
Get some quiet time. For me, that means crating the dogs for a couple hours. For you, it may mean taking advantage of baby’s nap time, or sending your teen down to the Media Room to play internet games or surf dwarf porn or whatever it is they do online. If your hotel offers day care services, maybe you can splurge. If you can, forward your calls; or at least turn off your notifications and ringer.
Mood Lighting. Travel Candles are cheap and perfect for creating spa day. Put one in the bathroom too so you don’t have to deal with the loud automatic fan they usually have. If you don’t have candles, just light one lamp in the room, or only allow ambient light from your laptop screensaver. Clip your curtains shut with hair pins, safety pins, paper clips, etc.
Put on music. Use that free wifi with your Itunes or online radio. http://www.musicforhealing.co.uk is a pretty good generic/kind of cheesy one, but Itunes has tons of channels with Ambient or Jazz music you can bliss out to if you don’t want to feel like you’re in Lord of the Rings. If you don’t have a laptop, try finding a TV channel with music, or if the hotel offers earplugs or you have some earbuds handy, use those.
Climate Control. Run the heat or AC. I find that I like the room a bit warmer during Spa Day.
Gather all your primping stuff: Whatever you have in your luggage that makes you feel pretty and pampered… nail kits, razors, makeup, face scrub, perfume… now is the time to bust out that Emergency Hair Masque you may be toting around. If you’re a dude, the same goes. Been putting off your Manscaping? Grab your trimmer and settle in.
SELF SPA TREATMENTS:
Hot Towel Treatment - Run a washcloth or hand towel under moderately hot water, lie back, and apply to your face for a few minutes. You can also put lotion on your feet or hands and wrap them in hot towels.
If you have one, microwaving a damp towel for 20 seconds also works.
Continental Breakfast Buffet Face Mask: You can pick up a packet of facial masque at drugstores or Target for about a dollar apiece. If you don’t have access to picking one up, you can just use complimentary honey and plain instant oatmeal from the breakfast bar. Just add a little hot water and apply.
In Room Coffee or Sugar Scrub: You know that little filter pack with the gross weak in-room coffee? Use the wet grounds to slough off dry skin on your hands and feet, or mix the sugar packets with a few drops each of face wash or hotel shampoo and lotion to give skin a gentle, fine scrub. Note: Coffee can sometimes stain skin, so you might want to follow this treatment with a good cleansing scrub and avoid using coffee directly on your face. Lemon juice also helps remove the staining…It’s important to rinse thoroughly since sugar gets sticky.
Tea Bag Eye Treatment: Green tea, mint tea, or chamomile tea bags on the eyes are soothing and reduce puffiness. (Avoid black teas as they stain.) You can also fold some ice in a damp washcloth and hold it on your eyes for several minutes.
Self Massage: Remember those motel beds you could put a quarter in and they would vibrate? I almost wish they still had those. Since they don’t, you can get a pseudo massage by placing/rolling something hard and round under your back, shoulders, feet, neck… think tennis or golf balls, dog toy, computer mouse, coffee mug, firm oranges or apples, etc. Place the item in a thick sock or towel on the floor (put down a towel or sheet first since hotel carpets are dirty) and use the weight of your body to (gently) have it press into your knots.
Hotel Hair Masque: I’m not saying hotel conditioner is the best. It’s usually pretty crappy, and sometimes smells weird. But slather it onto wet hair in a hot towel for half an hour and it does a fair job at conditioning, if you don’t have your usual masque on hand.
Hot Bath: This is pretty self-explanatory, but instead of the horrible lighting and bathroom fan, chill out to your whale songs or whatever music it is you have going on. Bonus if you can make it a bubble bath or have a jetted tub. If there’s a shower in there too, let it run while you bathe so your skin gets steamed.