After a month of roughing it…and I literally mean roughing it…in the desert, I got my first manicure and pedicure in Abu Dhabi. My friend Courtenay planned the outing and suggested we go to a nail salon called Tips and Toes. The salon, located in Khalifa City, is housed between three villas based on service. There’s a villa for salon services to include facials and massage, another for fitness where we heard the music booming from a Zumba class and one where nail services are provided. Today, I only received nail services so my review will be limited to those services only.
Atmosphere. As we made our way to the nail villa, we walked down a pathway to a large open patio area. The patio was covered by a collage of gazebos. Some of the gazebos had seating for guests to sit and perhaps enjoy a spot of tea before or after receiving services. After weaving our way through the gazebos, we approached a stately structure with large, carved doors. Beyond the doors was a quaint, Moroccan themed space that immediately calmed the senses. The furnishings had natural finishes like marble, wood and slate while the decor was comprised of jeweled tone pillows and cushions. The staff wore uniforms from the same color family to complete the aesthetic. Just below the chatter of the workers and nail color deliberations of patrons you could hear the soothing sound of moving water. There were several fountains and aromatherapy stations throughout the space. My first impression of Tips and Toes and its staff was that they looked good, smelled good and would likely provide good service. Their first impression of me…”Cool hair madam”, they said as the two technicians assigned to me touched my locs of hair in utter amazement.
Experience. We were greeted warmly by the hostess who wrote down each of our names and the treatments we would be getting. Then, like most nail visits, the process started with us choosing our colors. There was a healthy variety of colors to choose from. The salon stocked a brand of polish called Titto and Gelish gel lacquer. The stocking system for the polish was a cut above the average salon. The colors were organized into color families and there was at least 3 to 5 bottles of each color. In my past experiences, there may have been multiple bottles of select colors but not all of them. Doing it this way made it possible for more than one customer at a time to receive the same color. This was particularly good in my case because there were three ladies in my party and we all were drawn to a soft lavender shade called Irish. Each manicurists was able to grab a bottle to keep at their respective stations during the service rather than having to share a single bottle in an assembly line approach.
We made appointments earlier that morning which is the preferred thing to do. After we selected colors, we were escorted upstairs where a row of three posh pedicure stations awaited us. We took our seats, which were all within ear shot of one another and enjoyed the pampering. We were offered tea, water and refreshments. I declined but the other ladies accepted tea. It was served promptly and made to order but there were not any condiments like milk or sugar. My guess is that’s too much to deal with while getting a manicure. Evelyn did my manicure while Jocelyn worked on my toes. Both ladies were nice, personable and spoke good English. I took out my camera because I intended to take pictures for my readers. Evelyn quickly called over a coworker to snap of few shots of me and my friends in the chair. They were very accommodating.
Although the furniture and fixtures were different from the standard spa chair, I was comfortable. There were no electronic massage spa chairs with a whirlpool attachment. The foot baths were modest marble or granite square basins that were built into and plumbed from the floor. Because the bowls were more shallow than the whirlpool basins and there were no bubbling jets, there wasn’t much of a soaking aspect to their process. The water was used for the purpose of cleaning the hands and feet as opposed to relaxation. Once I was all done and polished, I was escorted to a nail drying station. The drying station was made of mahogany wood and looked like an antique bureau.
Price. A manicure and pedicure with regular polish at Tips and Toes cost 140 AED (approximately 42 USD). In my opinion, the price is aligned with a salon of its caliber. The prices were recently adjusted upward. I heard a manicurist explaining to my friend that the increased cost was to cover the complementary tools that customers are now given at the end of their service. Apparently this was a move to ensure safety and cleanliness.
Overall, I liked the establishment and enjoyed my afternoon of pampering with the ladies. I plan to return to Tips and Toes in the future. See more pictures from my mani-pedi outing on my Facebook page by clicking here.