A spa manicure and pedicure can be much more expensive than what you get at the local nail salon, depending on where you live. The average manicure in New York City costs $10, but many salons charge $20 for a manicure and pedicure, according to The New York Times expose "The Cost of Nice Nails" published in May of 2015.
However, those rock-bottom prices at certain nail salons might be possible because the workers are being underpaid, and it's also likely that they are not licensed manicurists. Without that training, sanitary equipment, and procedures in place at the salon, you could end up with an infection from visiting the wrong nail place in the city.
The cost will vary depending on where you're getting the spa manicure and pedicure, how long it is, and how many extras like longer treatments, massage with hot stones, or lightening procedures you tack on to your trip.
Generally, a manicure will cost more than $25 at a day spa, $50 at a resort spa, and $75 at a luxury hotel or resort spa. On the other hand, a pedicure usually starts at $45 at a day spa, $60 at a resort spa, and $100 at the most luxurious hotel spas.
What You Get With Higher Prices
Compared to your standard manicure and pedicure at the local nail salon, the same treatments at spas and resorts often come with extra steps and longer service, including an aromatic salt rub, hydrating mask, hot towel wrap, a hot stone massage, or a paraffin dip, which makes your appointment feel more luxurious.
You are also paying for a more beautiful, decadent atmosphere at resorts and spa destinations. Instead of fluorescent lights and noxious fumes from airbrushed nails, you have pretty light fixtures, good design, and a handsome pedicure chair in a quiet corner. Additionally, you can be certain that the technicians are highly trained and offering you a special experience.
Most spa nail technicians can give you beautifully shaped nails, suggest the perfect color for your skin and the season, and produce work that lasts without chips or bubbles. These technicians also typically have a very nice manner, good customer service skills, and follow the highest level of spa sanitation when working.
Saving Money on Luxury Treatment
Unfortunately, most resort spas don't offer the full robe and slipper treatment and give you access to spa facilities if you are only purchasing nail services. If you need to save, you can get a spa manicure or pedicure as a special treat and do your regular maintenance at home or with a local nail or beauty salon.
However, you should be sure to investigate cheaper salons before you book. If they cut corners on sanitation or have old-fashioned pedicure chairs that recirculate water instead of flushing it each session, you could end up with an infection after your mani-pedi, which would end up costing you much more than splurging on a trip to a licensed professional at the spa.
Another way to save money at the spa while still getting to wear the fancy robe and slippers is to order a short massage before or after your manicure and pedicure. A 30-minute full body massage is a great way to not only let a trained professional work out muscle tension but also gives you access to other features of the spa including the locker room and showers.
How to Book Mani-Pedis at the Spa
While most spas and resorts around the United States offer manicure and pedicure services, finding the right moment during your vacation to get your nails done can be difficult, especially if you're pressed for time.
Fortunately, most spas also have a large staff of trained technicians with appointments available all day long—sometimes even by the pool itself. Be sure to check with your resort concierge or the spa reception for availability, especially if you plan to book a full day at the spa.
Ultimately, with so many resorts and spas that offer basic mani-pedi services, the best way to find the one that's right for you is to browse through add-on options like rice soaks and honey wraps to build a perfect afternoon of getting your nails done—either alone or with friends.