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Setting Up a Spa

Updated: Jan 13

Setting Up a Spa

Setting up a spa in Malaysia can be an exciting and rewarding journey, providing an oasis of calm and rejuvenation for your customers. To embark on this journey successfully, here's a roadmap to guide you:

1. Craft a Compelling Business Plan:

  • Define your spa concept: Will it be a luxurious retreat, a holistic wellness center, or a budget-friendly option?

  • Identify your target audience: Who are you catering to? Busy professionals, families, or health enthusiasts? Understanding their needs and preferences will shape your offerings and ambiance.

  • Research the market: Analyze existing spas in your area, their price points, services, and strengths and weaknesses. This will help you position your spa uniquely.

  • Project your finances: Create a detailed budget outlining startup costs, operational expenses, equipment investments, and projected revenue. Secure funding if necessary.

2. Choose the Perfect Location:

  • Accessibility and visibility: Opt for a convenient location with ample parking and good public transport links. High foot traffic areas near residential or commercial hubs are ideal.

  • Ambiance and space: Consider the size and layout of the space. You'll need treatment rooms, relaxation areas, reception, and staff quarters. Ensure the space has good ventilation and natural light.

3. Design a Tranquil Haven:

  • Create a soothing atmosphere: Invest in calming interior design with soft colors, natural textures, and gentle lighting. Incorporate water features or aromatic scents to enhance the sensory experience.

  • Equip your treatment rooms: Choose comfortable massage tables, adjustable chairs, and storage units. Invest in high-quality towels, linens, and essential equipment for your chosen treatments.

  • Prioritize hygiene and cleanliness: Maintain immaculate sanitation standards in all areas. Use high-quality cleaning products and ensure proper ventilation to prevent mold and mildew growth.

4. Curate a Menu of Pampering:

  • Offer a variety of treatments: From massages and facials to body scrubs and aromatherapy, cater to diverse preferences. Consider traditional Malay treatments like "urut" or foot reflexology to add a local touch.

  • Source quality products: Use natural and organic spa products whenever possible. Partner with reputable suppliers to ensure product quality and safety.

  • Train your staff: Invest in qualified therapists and beauticians with relevant licenses and certifications. Provide ongoing training to ensure they deliver exceptional service.

5. Obtain Necessary Licenses and Permits:

  • Register your business: Choose a suitable business structure and register with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM).

  • Apply for relevant licenses: Obtain a business license from your local council and a Spa License from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture (MOTAC).

  • Comply with regulations: Ensure your spa adheres to all health and safety regulations set by the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH).

6. Market Your Spa Haven:

  • Develop a strong brand identity: Create a memorable logo, tagline, and website that reflect your spa's unique selling proposition.

  • Utilize digital marketing: Leverage social media platforms, online booking systems, and targeted advertising to reach your target audience.

  • Offer attractive packages and promotions: Create special deals and loyalty programs to attract customers and encourage repeat business.

Remember: Building a successful spa takes time, dedication, and a passion for creating a haven of wellness. By following these steps, you can lay the foundation for a thriving spa business in Malaysia, offering your customers a sanctuary of relaxation and rejuvenation.

Bonus Tip: Infuse your spa experience with a touch of Malaysian culture. Offer traditional herbal teas, incorporate local music into the ambiance, and partner with local artisans to showcase their crafts. This will add a unique and authentic touch to your spa, making it a truly memorable experience for your guests.

Spa License

Obtaining a Spa License in Malaysia is a crucial step in setting up your wellness haven. Here's a breakdown of the process:

Who Needs a Spa License?

Any establishment offering health and beauty treatments through massaging and water-based methods requires a Spa License. This includes:

  • Massage parlors

  • Foot reflexology centers

  • Beauty salons offering spa treatments

  • Wellness centers with spa facilities

  • Day spas

Types of Spa Licenses:

Malaysia's Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture (MOTAC) issues two types of Spa Licenses:

  • Provisional Spa License: Valid for six months, this temporary license allows you to operate while fulfilling the full classification requirements for a permanent license.

  • Permanent Spa License: Valid for three years, this license signifies your spa meets all MOTAC standards.

Application Process:

  1. Register your business: Choose a suitable business structure and register with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM).

  2. Gather required documents: Prepare copies of your business registration certificate, SSM profile, floor plan, treatment menu, staff qualifications, and equipment list.

  3. Submit your application: Submit the completed application form and supporting documents to the nearest MOTAC office or online through their e-licensing portal.

  4. Inspection and classification: MOTAC officers will inspect your spa to ensure it meets all safety and hygiene standards. They will also classify your spa based on its facilities, services, and amenities.

  5. License issuance: Upon successful inspection and classification, MOTAC will issue your Spa License.


Application fees vary depending on the type of license and star rating you apply for. Expect to pay between RM200 and RM500 for the application and processing.

Additional Tips:

  • Start early: The application process can take several weeks, so plan ahead and submit your documents well in advance.

  • Stay updated: MOTAC regulations and guidelines may change periodically. Check their website or contact them for the latest information.

Useful Resources:

A Spa License is an essential part of operating a legitimate and reputable spa business in Malaysia. By following these steps and utilizing the resources provided, you can ensure a smooth and successful licensing process.

Statutory Requirements

  • Every spa must hold valid spa license and registered business license from the Local Authority

  • Every spa must use only registered products and treatment equipment endorsed by the government

  • Every spa must comply to cleanliness standards required by the Ministry of Health and Local Authority

  • Every spa must comply to fire and safety requirements required by the Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia

  • Every spa is not allowed to operate later than midnight

Facilities and Equipment

1. Treatment Room (Facial, massage, scrub, wrap and etc.)

Every treatment room is expected to be very clean, well-equipment, well maintained and appealing with appropriate use of sound, lighting and scent and should comply to all government/authority's requirements

2. Reception Area

  • Every reception area must be very clean and appealing with appropriate use of sound, lighting and scent

  • The use of decorations with Malaysian accents like batik and other local decorations encouraged

3. Retail Area

Not compulsory

4. Changing Room / Locker Facility

5. Toilet

6. Sauna / Steam / Long Bath / Other Water-Based Treatments

7. Spa Menu / Brochure

Every spa must provide complete menu/brochure with price for customers to decide on treatment/package option

  • Facials

  • Body Massage

  • Body Wraps

  • Body Scrubs

  • Water Treatments

8. Credit Card Service

Not compulsory

Products, Spa Treatments and Wellness Programs

1. Treatment Products (Skincare, body care, hair care, massage oil, foot care, hand care and etc.)

  • Every product must be registered with the government

  • Therapists should consult clients on treatment products and answer to any inquiries accordingly where applicable within the guidelines set out by the Ministry of Health

2. Spa Treatments

2.1 Facials

  • Every spa must offer at least on type of facial treatment

  • Facial methods and applications must be performed safely and using products registered with Ministry of Health

  • Facials using fresh vegetables and fruits prepared in hygienic condition are allowed

2.2 Bodyworks

Every spa must offer the complete range of body treatments (body massage, body scrub, body wrap)

2.3 Massage (Traditional, Swedish, Shiatsu, Thai, Balinese and etc.)

Offer at least 2 types of massage

2.4 Aqua Therapy (Balneotherapy, steam, sauna and Jacuzzi, long bath and Hydrotherapy and etc.)

Offer at least one type of aqua therapy treatment

2.5 Other Spa Treatments (Waxing, hand spa, foot spa, hair spa and etc.)

Not compulsory

3. Wellness Programs

Not compulsory but if such wellness programs/therapies are offered, it must be supervised/performed by certified/qualified instructor and meet all requirements as stipulated by laws.

4. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

4.1 Operational

Spa must provide operational manual which covers the following:-

  1. Openings and Closing

  2. Guest Relation

  3. Payment Procedures

  4. Guest Filing

  5. Security & Safety

  6. Employees Record

  7. Basic Treatment Protocol

  8. Cleanliness & Hygiene

  9. Linen Upkeep

  10. Repair & Maintenance

  11. Staff Uniform

  12. Equipment Safety

4.1.1 Front Office

Not compulsory

4.1.2 Office Setup

Not compulsory

4.2 Housekeeping

Not compulsory

4.3 Human Resource

Not compulsory

4.4 Employee Handbook

Not compulsory

4.5 In-House Training Manual

Not compulsory

4.6 Spa Collateral Guidelines

4.7 Code of Ethics

Every spa must comply with Code of Ethics required by the government policy/regulation in order to sustain good image of the spa industry.


  1. To respect the spa regulations stipulated by the operator

  2. To comply with safety and security regulations

  3. To treat the spa therapist with respect

  4. Not to request for any treatment not within the spa treatment menu

  5. Not to break any laws within the premise


  1. To practice decorum with the clients at all times

  2. To follow and implement according to the SOPs at all time

  3. Not to break any laws within the premise

  4. Not to offer and perform any treatments not with the spa treatment menu

  5. To respect the clients and fellow worker

5. Staff

5.1 Position

Each spa must consist of at least: 1. Supervisor 2. Spa therapist

Number of staff should commensurate to the size of operation and quality of staffs is most important


How Bestar can Help

Bestar can help you set up your spa in Malaysia in several ways:

1. Business Registration and SSM Profile:

  • Bestar can guide you through the process of registering your business with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) and choosing the appropriate business structure for your spa.

  • We can assist in preparing the necessary documents and ensuring your SSM profile is complete and accurate.

2. Spa License Application:

  • Bestar has experience dealing with MOTAC licensing procedures and can help you gather the required documents, including floor plans, treatment menus, staff qualifications, and equipment lists.

  • We can ensure your application meets all the specifications and classification requirements for a Provisional or Permanent Spa License.

  • We can advise you on the fees associated with different license types and star ratings.

3. Liaison with MOTAC:

  • Bestar can communicate with MOTAC on your behalf to clarify any licensing requirements or address any issues during the application process.

  • We can help schedule spa inspections and ensure your facility meets all safety and hygiene standards.

4. Additional Services:

Bestar may offer additional services like:

  • Business plan development and financial projections

  • Marketing and branding strategies for your spa

  • Staff recruitment and training assistance

  • Legal and regulatory compliance advice

Benefits of using Bestar:

  • Saves you time and effort: Navigating the licensing process can be complex and time-consuming. Bestar can handle the paperwork and communication, allowing you to focus on other aspects of setting up your spa.

  • Increases your chances of success: Bestar's experience and knowledge of MOTAC regulations can help ensure your application is approved smoothly and quickly.

  • Peace of mind: Knowing that a qualified professional is handling the licensing process can give you peace of mind and allow you to concentrate on building your business.

By utilizing Bestar's expertise, you can simplify the process of setting up your spa in Malaysia and increase your chances of success. Contact Bestar today!

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