A spa is the new “must-have” amenity at resorts and hotels. But make sure you know what you’re getting into before you book.

Resort/hotel spas come in a wide range of sizes and styles, from small private inns like The Harbour Inn in St. Michaels, Maryland, to the lavish, sprawling resort spas in Hawaii.

Resort spas are different from destination spas like Lake Austin Spa Resort. Destination spas offer a total wellness experience. Meals, classes and some spa treatments are usually part of the price.

What Is A Resort Spa

What Is A Resort Spa

At a resort spa, you buy your spa treatments a la carte. You usually have to pay extra for yoga and other classes. The restaurants will offer spa cuisine — but also burgers and fries.

What You Need To Know About Resort/Hotel Spas

* Large resort spas will have a wide range of activities, including golf, swimming, tennis, and sometimes water sports, horseback riding and skiing. Some also have kids’ camps.

A hotel spa is in an urban setting. It can range from the splashy, over-the-top spas in Las Vegas to elegant, sophisticated spas like The Mandarin Oriental in New York City.

* Resort spas do not include meals. Destination spas include meals. Keep that in mind when you compare prices.

* You may have to pay anywhere from $10 to $20 for yoga or other exercise classes. Classes at destination spas are included.

* Many resorts have kids’ camps. Destination spas don’t allow children.

* Beware: some resorts and hotels say they have a spa when it’s just one treatment room off the gym. Don’t take their word for it. Do your research before you go.

Resort Spas Are A Good Choice If:

* One wants to golf, the other to spa

* You want to eat — and drink — whatever you want.

* You have children

* You’re a business traveler who needs a message.

Destination Spas Are Good Choice If You:

* want to jumpstart a diet or healthy lifestyle

* want to be with like-minded people

* are traveling alone

* need to address specific health issues

* want to be nurtured after a loss

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