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Burke Williams is a chain of day spas in California. And with apologies to Disneyland, I like to refer to Burke Williams Spa as the happiest place on Earth, because the quality of the treatments is top-notch, the facilities are spotless, and the staff goes out of their way to make you feel relaxed and happy. All this relaxation comes at a cost, though. So he next time you decide to indulge in a massage, facial, body wrap or other treatment, follow these tips to make the most of your stay.

Book your treatment as far in advance as possible. Burke Williams Spas are relatively small, and you may not get the treatment you want at the time you want unless you plan ahead. Don't book your treatment at a time when you need to rush off to be somewhere afterwards.

On the day of your appointment, arrive at least half an hour before your treatment is to begin. You don't want to feel rushed or stressed about making it there on time.

In the spa before your appointment, enjoy the cucumber and orange-infused ice water and munch on some complimentary fresh fruit. Take advantage of the spa tubs, steam room or sauna before your appointment, to get in a fully relaxed state.

Head over to the quiet room about five minutes before your treatment appointment. Take advantage of the soothing lighting and put some cucumber slices on your eyes.

During your treatment, be clear with the attendant who's providing the service about your needs. For example, a massage therapist can only provide the right amount of pressure if you tell him or her. An aesthetician doesn't know if extractions are hurting you unless you say something. Your treatment shouldn't be painful.

After your treatment, stick around and enjoy the spa facilities for at least an hour. You can add a spa bath to your service for an additional $35 (prices may vary), which has a deep tub with jacuzzi jets, herbs or milk added to your bath, and candles.

It's okay to bring personal items from home to compliment the treatment you're paying for. For example, Burke Williams Spa offers a wonderful Salt Glo body scrub treatment. However, if you're there for something else, here's how to get smooth skin for free: After your skin is softened up in the steam room or sauna, use a dry washcloth (which they provide) to scrub your skin vigorously, particularly on rough areas such as your upper arms. Follow with a coat of body lotion (which the spa provides).

Burke Williams Spa has excellent aestheticians to provide facial treatments. However, if you're there for something else, here's how to give yourself a facial for free: After your pores have opened up in the steam room, apply a clay mask you've brought from home and relax on a chaise lounge for 15 minutes. Then rinse. For additional pore tightening, go back to the sauna and steam room, let your pores open again, then cover your face in a wet washcloth that's been sitting on ice (which the spa provides).

Here's how to get a deep hair conditioning at Burke Williams Spa for free: After your treatment, take a shower and shampoo your hair, then coat in a deep conditioning treatment you brought from home (or use the hair conditioner they provide). Wrap your hair in a towel and go sit in the steam room for 15 minutes. Then shower again to rinse the product out of your hair.


Unless you're unhappy with your treatment (which I've never been) it's customary to tip 20% of the cost of the treatment - preferably in cash. Turn off your cell phone as soon as you arrive. You don't want the ringing to disturb other people in the spa, even when it's inside your locker. It's fun to head out for a night on the town after your time at Burke Williams (leaving plenty of time to enjoy the facilities, of course) because they have lots of complimentary hair care products and hair tools.