My New Nail Place: It's Mine, You Can't Have It

— by Caroline on Crack

Flickr Shot by work the angles

Flickr shot by work the angles (not of reviewed salon)

I just got back from a long, stressful road trip, meant to be a vacation mind you, and needed to unwind but I didn’t feel like going to my usual busy buzzy nail place in Santa Monica, Main Attraction. So I looked on Yelp for an alternative, nothing too cheap or too fancy, and I was able to find one. This one had good reviews a-plenty…. But I can’t bring myself to tell you where it is or who it is. If you can figure it out then it’s yours cuz you cracked my super genius hints. Heh. Otherwise, sorry, it’s mine…well, and the Yelpers.

I called the salon first and made an appointment because that’s what all the reviewers said to do. But when I got there on a lazy Sunday afternoon it didn’t seem to matter as I had to wait a bit anyway even though there were only three other customers there.

First and foremost, don’t come here if you’re in a hurry. My manicure and spa pedicure took nearly two hours! (Not that I’m complaining, but compare that to the 20 minutes it takes at Main Attraction.) When you’re waiting for your turn that can be a pain in the ass but when you’re in that chair getting that slow, careful special treatment, it’s heaven.

You can either get the regular mani/pedi for $28 or the mani/spa pedi for $40. Even though their mani/spa pedicure is double the amount I pay for at Main Attraction it was hella worth it. Here, it was a more deluxe treatment than I’m used to, from the thorough foot scrub to the lingering foot and leg massage to the blue mask they applied to my feet.

And they only have two spa chairs that are located in the back room, away from the main room so it was easy to sit back and relax. Their chairs’ massage functions actually work, too! Not crazy about that big roller going up and down my back and I found myself craving the $10 10-minute back massage that Main Attraction doles out, but that didn’t taint my experience.

My mani/pedicurist was Cindy and she spoke quietly but clearly and was very attentive. Dear, sweet Cindy brought me several copies of People magazine as I sat in the chair and had offered me water or tea. I liked her immediately.

Apparently the other nail technicians had their own regular customers as each new person who walked through the door after me was enthusiastically greeted by name. Always a good sign. And all the customers also seem to be relaxed and nonhurried as they patiently waited for their favorite technician to be available. I love the casual nonbuzzy vibe of this place.

For nail polish, there was a decent selection of OPI and Essie. The OPI was conveniently organized by dark winter colors and bright spring colors. Essies and the rest were located on the bottom shelves.

The magazine selection that I saw was just OK with month-old US Weeklys, some nail magazines and months-old People magazines. Patrick Swayze has cancer?! Ashlee Simpson is pregnant?! Yeah, since I usually stay away from gossip sites and the like, getting my nails done is the only time I allow myself to get caught up on celebrity “news.” Ah well, no biggie.

Another thing I found interesting is that they let you pay after your nails are done and dry, unlike other nail places I’ve gone to which insist that you pay before they apply the polish. I kinda liked this way better. Something relaxed and trusting about it.

I kinda wish they had special services you could add to your manicures and pedicures, like a callus treatment or extra thorough foot rub, but all they offer is a paraffin treatment for hands and/or feet. I guess it’s just as well because if I piled on more treatments, my two hours there would have easily turned into four hours.

The salon also offers other services like waxing and facials but I always feel weird about getting those things done at nail places. That could just be me though.

If you’re looking to just drive in and get out, good luck. There’s metered parking up and down busy Lincoln Boulevard and on clusterfucked-up Santa Monica Boulevard but I found myself driving around and around for 15 minutes looking for parking on this sunny Sunday since everyone and their mother was enjoying Third Street Promenade. OK, so that’s a big hint there about which salon this is.

Apparently, though, this little hidden gem won’t be a secret for long. Cindy said that every day they get a new customer thanks to Yelp. D’oh! Foiled again!