Bastien’s duo treatment at One&Only The Palm The promise: An all-natural, medically inspired mani-pedi like no other, where health is given just as much importance as aesthetics. Staff are trained by French nail virtuoso and podiatrist Bastien Gonzalez and his small team.
The experience: We’re escorted into a private room and sit down on a comfy, reclining chair where we await French podiatrist and Bastien Gonzalez’s right-hand man, Maxime. After some heavy-duty shaming about the Gelish polish we’re sporting, he gets to work removing the culprits, with an assistant to help. With Maxime tending to feet and the assistant to our hands, the therapists use electric, dentist-style tools to buff away dead skin and clean the nails. A glass nail file is used to softly shape the edges of the nails before professional blades are carefully used to remove cuticles on our feet. Cream is then applied to the nails and they’re buffed into shiny, natural perfection. We’re then laid flat while a blissful, choreographed massage is performed, with the strokes on arms and legs mimicking each other in spookily accurate synchronicity.
The results: We’ve never experienced anything quite like this. Our nails are shiny and healthy looking, with no use of polish whatsoever. We may just be converted.
Luxury rating: 5/5. Dhs750 for 75 minutes. One&Only The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 440 1010).
Armani signature manicure and pedicure The promise: A deluxe mani-pedi complete with paraffin treatment, access to Armani/Spa Terme thermal bathing facilities and complimentary refreshments.
The experience: Stepping into Armani Spa is an experience in itself and understated luxury abounds. There’s a small range of branded polishes to select from before the therapist gets started, cleansing skin then applying a delicious apple and apricot scrub. Hands and feet get a lot of unhurried attention; clipping, filing, buffing and massaging. Next, hot paraffin is applied to feet and hands, before it’s removed and then polish is carefully applied.
The results: After two hours in a leather chair, we did feel a little stiff on leaving, but our hands and feet felt super-soft. The polish looked great, very classic, but it sadly started to chip after a day.
Spa mani-pedi at The Cure The promise: This salon’s top tier mani-pedi involves typical preening of the nails, an exfoliating scrub, an arm and leg mask, a massage and polish to finish off.
The experience: We sink into the cushioned seat and before they begin, therapists set about making sure we’re comfy, propping us up with pillows and draping a warmed hot pack around our neck as we settle in to idly watch a few episodes of Friends on the screens. The mani-pedi itself doesn’t stray far from the norm, though a nearby dish of assorted creams and scrubs is dipped into when it comes to the extra bits. Following nail duty, a cooling mint mask is applied to our limbs, before being wrapped in cling-foil. Once washed off, the therapists begin a massage before the polish is applied.
The results: Unfortunately, we develop a slight reaction to the mask, but we do leave feeling totally relaxed.The Gelish polish on our hands only lasts for a week before it chips.
Luxury rating: 3.5/5. Dhs220 for 90 minutes. The Cure, Dubai Media City (04 391 6485).
Paraffin hand and feet therapy at Carita Salon The promise: A paraffin wax treatment that aims to improve blood circulation, renew skin and strengthen nails. Each client is given gloves and socks for hands and feet.
The experience: We enter the brightly lit salon and after a thorough and polish-free mani-pedi including nail care, the therapist applies the lavender-scented paraffin wax, which is left for five to ten minutes to open our pores. Once removed, a massage using oils gets underway, with some surprising jerks and finger-tip whipping to apparently stimulate blood flow.
The results: While we’re not walking on any clouds, the pads of our feet are softer and most dry spots have disappeared. Two or three-week repeat treatments are required to maintain the renewed skin.
Luxury rating: 3/5. Dhs250 for hands and Dhs350 for feet for 60 minutes. Carita Salon, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray in Palm Jumeirah (04 453 0458).
The Apothecary Perfect manicure and pedicure The promise: A decadent mani-pedi using products made in-house.
The experience: We’re welcomed with a fresh pomegranate drink and cold towel, which sets the tone. The therapists present a choice of ‘fizz balls’ that dissolve in water for the soak and then a clay mask is applied to the cuticles. The nails are cleaned and trimmed before a rich date oil mask is rubbed onto our hands and a mint balm on our feet. Our limbs are then placed into heated cotton booties and mitts as the therapist performs a back massage. When the booties have cooled the excess oil is wiped off and the nails are painted.
The results: Our nails look fabulous, and our skin is soft and smells great.