Monday, March 4, 2013

Naked in a unisex spa?

Happy Monday everyone! I have a question for you to start the week.
I am just curious about something. Is it OK to be naked in a unisex spa? 
Is it OK to be naked in a jacuzzi with everything sort of flying around in the bubbles?

Picture from the Spas website, people wearing swimsuits...hmm...
When my friend visited back in late November, we had gotten a great deal for a spa here on the island. It was part of a 4 star resort just off the sand dunes of Maspalomas, and the description of the spa had turned up our expectations quite a bit. 

Phrases such as:

-Mamimum luxury
-Charge your batteries with positive energy
-Relax in the jaccuzzi (and the other installations the spa has)

dominated.

So off we went, and found our way to the Spa. We entered, and before changing into our bikinis, the receptionist told us "Just so you know, there are some naked people here. You know, they are used to that in their country." Nothing more, nothing less. Just sort of matter-of-factly. It was a bit unexpected so we just looked at each other and giggled a bit and headed inside.

Some naked people? We were the only ones with anything on! People were walking around in there completely comfortable being naked. We didn't know where to look, cause everywhere we turned there were some balls and something more dangling. (Curiously there were no women other than us in there, but lots of men.)

The only language I heard in there was German, but most people were there alone, thus not speaking. (I thought maybe this is completely normal in Germany? My friend who lived one year in Germany previously told me it is.)

I have talked to Spanish people and they have been quite shocked about this, and think it's not OK that the hotel approves this. Its not about accommodating every guest needs, if this is not normal behaviour in Spain, why should the hotel accept it, just because some tourists do this in THEIR country? And I agree. When you are in a different country, to me it's all about respecting that country's culture and way of behaviour. 

Another issue that came up in these conversations was hygiene. One thing is to be naked in the massage showers and the sauna, but in the jaccuzzi? I will admit that when my friend and I were alone in the jaccuzzi talking, and a man jumped in, in his birth suit, we tried to keep talking as if nothing was changed, but I think before one minute had passed we had gotten out and in to the sauna instead. 

And just in case someone would also be tempted by this "brilliant spa", and not feel like these conditions are the best way to relax, maybe I should let you know that this was in Riu Palace Maspalomas?

I have been to a couple other spas on the island, and you always need to wear a bathing suit, and even a swim cap for hygienic purposes.

Ever been to a spa like this, and do you think it's perfectly ok to be naked 
in a jacuzzi shared with lots of other people?

23 comments:

  1. Hi. I've been reading your blog for a while now and simply adore it. I'm an American living in Norway (!) who now wishes she lived in Spain. ;-)

    Germans do tend to go "au naturale" at the spa, which is fine IN GERMANY. When in Spain, put your pants on! That's my opinion, anyway.

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    1. Thank you so much Michele! Norway is good in many ways, but the weather here is without a doubt much better ;)

      I think we have similar opinions on the subject of naked Germans!

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  2. Rart at ikke hotellet hadde regler for dette. Men nå skal det nå sies at det kryr av nakne folk langs hele maspalomas-stranda og inn til playa del ingles. Kanskje hotellet tjener mest penger på disse kara ;)
    Jeg hadde iallefall hoppet fort opp ut av jaccuzzien hvis det kom noen som var nakne og skulle sette seg der ja.
    Håper det går bra med dere i stormen som herjer nå.
    klem fra meg

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    1. Det kan jo ha med å gjøre at det er ganske ehm frilynt rundt Maspalomas da ;) Men det var allikevel litt ubehagelig! Det er en "interessant" opplevelse å vandre rundt på stranda mellom Maspalomas og Playa del Ingles, mye å se på- eller unngå å se på?!
      Takk takk, det stormer som jeg aldri har opplevd før i disse dager, men det går vel over snart nå. Roligere i dag :)
      Klem tilbake

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  3. I've never come across that. I agree with you that they should respect the culture of the country and it's up to the hotel to set the standard. I would have been totally freaked out!

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    1. We got just sort of giggly there and then, cause it was sooo unexpected, but after- when we started analyzing it a bit we got a bit annoyed with the hotel for dealing with it like that. We have a memory we'll never forget though!

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  4. Never had an experience of the same (and I don't think I can ever handle being in one ^_^) not very common here in the Philippines :)

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    1. Lets just say it was a new experience to me too! Haha, we took it with a smile there and then though, but it was a bit strange.

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  5. Hi,

    I live in Amsterdam and this it totally normal in The Netherlands. I got shocked the first time I went to sauna here, but then I got used to it. whne I've been to a spa in Germany has been the same case.

    cheers!

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    1. Hi Jesus, I guess it can be shocking at first and then you get used to it if that's what you find every time. (It would take some time getting used to for me haha!)
      I was just wondering- are you Spanish? And if so- do you think it's ok and normal that people are naked in a spa in Spain?
      It's apparently completely normal to be naked in a sauna in Finland, I guess every country is different?

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    2. Hi,

      yes, I'm Spanish. in Spain is not normal at all. in fact, I think they would tell you something if you're naked.

      I think is just a matter of culture. In the sport club I go in Amsterdam for example, the cleaning ladies are cleaning the men's lockeroom/showers just while we're there changing and I can tell you I got used at the end.

      Each culture/country has its own peculiarities and this is what makes every country worth visiting/living.

      cheers

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    3. It's very true. These stories become good memories for the future, and I am very happy and grateful for learning and growing with this 'New life in spain'-experience.

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  6. If they allow people to be nude at their spa, then they need to advertise that in their literature. Not everyone is comfortable with other people's bits and pieces wiggling about.

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    1. Haha,"people's bits and pieces wiggling about" :)

      I think so too Sara Louise! At one hammam/spa in Barcelona, on their website, in their information section it said that one day a week was 'nude-day' or something like that. Then you know. I wasn't prepared for this, and it didn't turn out to be the wonderful relaxing experience I had expected!

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  7. This sounds a bit like an experience I had, also on Gran Canaria: http://www.puretravel.com/Guide/Travel_writing_competition/Travel_Writing_Competition_2012_Entries_Page2/Cock_and_ball(s)

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    1. Would take me some time getting used to. Still think I'll keep my bikini on though!

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    1. I think I prefer the ones where people wear something, anything!

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  10. I lived in Germany for over 30 years, and you nearly always use the sauna naked there.
    Actually, I think it is more hygienic than sitting drenched in sweat in a swimming costume, which seems quite unnatural to me! It's all a question of local culture, I guess. And it sounds like I'll have to adjust now that I'm living in Spain ;-)

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    1. I can understand being naked in a sauna (hopefully sitting on a towel though!) but I am still not convinced about being naked in a jacuzzi :)
      And yeah you might have to get used to putting on some clothes here in Spain! I think the spa I am talking about here is more an exception than the rule.

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  11. It's funny, the one time I visited Spain, I saw plenty of nudity just on the beaches, so if people are used to nudity there, why not in the spa too? It seems at least equally natural there. (And wouldn't the high temperature of the jacuzzi reduce any hygiene issues?)

    In New York, where I live, it's not normal for there to be co-ed nudity either at the beach or in a spa, but if you visit Koreatown (a one-block stretch of 32nd Street), there are a number of Korean spas where the cultural expectations are different. They don't advertise it (and don't tell you at the front desk), but when I went with another girl to one 24-hour spa we walked into the shower area only to find two completely naked men soaping up! That was a bit of a shock. But the girl from the spa didn't seem to think anything of it, and we didn't want to be the rude visitors imposing our preferences on them, so we did what you did and went along with it. Was it weird, showering next to naked strangers? Very. But in the end, it was harmless, even an interesting experience. My friend kept her swimsuit on, but i figured "When in Rome..." and went nakies. The world didn't end cause some guys saw my naked bits and I saw theirs.

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    1. Hi Alethea! Welcome here. I have seen quite a bit of nudity at different beaches too, but it's not normal to be naked in a spa here. I am visiting different spa's all the time here (there are so many fabulous ones!) and I am realizing that this first experience at Riu Maspalomas was not the norm in spas here. You even need to wear a swim cap for hygienic purposes, and of course swimwear. I don't think it's the same to be naked in a spa and at a beach. At a beach I can choose whether I want to sit/lie across someone totally naked or not... I guess it's cultural, and in some cultures this is absolutely normal, but it's not the norm in Spain and that's what makes it strange. So although there are lots of Germans at that hotel (and they are used to going naked in spas or elsewhere) it comes across a little strange that the spa follows a foreign culture instead of going with the norm of their own culture. Maybe the owner is German?! :)

      I admire you for going nakies! I hear people say it's liberating and sort of nice, I am just not quite ready for that myself.

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