Reported by Loren Penney
Being a bride-to-be that is much more interested in the fun bits of wedding planning (beauty, shoes, cake tasting…) I was beyond excited when I discovered that my weekly go-to place for an obligatory mani-pedi has not only opened a brand new branch in none other than Mall of the Emirates, but also that it offered some fantastic services for us wives-in-the-making.
The Nail Spa, is not only a favourite among the UAE’s beauty elite but also us mere mortals alike since its 2009 inception in Mercato Mall. Now, with twelve outlets across both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, a visit to The Nail Spa has become a very welcome hour of respite for busy girls in the region. Each spa, and it is an actual spa, characterized by its very wealth of offerings, is designed to act as a respite in a hectic world, providing luxurious moments of indulgence whether you’re being pampered with a variety of treatments or simply having those talons polished.
Whilst each location is just as glamorous as the next, a haven of white leather and cheery therapists, the new Mall of the Emirates spa is something else entirely. Tucked away in the newer part of this beautiful mall, The Nail Spa is strikingly different from the moment you enter; for one, it’s awash with colour.
Keeping the iconic glossy white base, rows upon rows of polish line the wall, from rosy pinks and blood reds to cornflower blues and inky blacks. The colour continues as you are politely ushered into the very beating heart of the spa. A wall-mural awash with colourful abstract forms created by Berlin-based artist Gambette takes centre stage here and signifies the new artbar, the most exciting beauty addition to the UAE for a long time. Gambette’s involvement indicates the first of many art bar collaborations with notable artisans from around the world.
After a brief partnership with Harper’s Bazaar Arabia for their notorious ‘House of Bazaar’ event earlier this month, the artbar is a true innovation lab, a place where fashion reigns supreme and you get the chance to live out your wildest Pintrest fantasies with just about every global nail trend imaginable on offer.
You may ask what this uber -fashionable artbar has to do with bridal nails, but please bear with me.
The artbar is designed to be the very best form of beauty self-expression, seen as an extension to your outfits, personality and social situation. It’s a design house for nails, created for genuine beauty junkies like myself. Comfortably sat down at the artbar, faced with row upon row of miniature nail art examples showcased like diamonds under the glass table, it’s impossible not to be overcome with girlish excitement. Suddenly, you’ll start to think that the plain French polish you came in for is all a bit, well dull. You can choose from literally hundreds of designs showcased through the glass manicure tables as well as on the spa’s resident iPads, or if you have an idea in your head, The Nail Spa will try their best to recreate it. Your imagination is their vision.
The designs have been inspired by everything from fashion trends, art and culture and even the seasons themselves. I was amazed at the complexity of some of the designs, from the funky Japanese shattered glass style to nail replicas of the ‘Michelangelo’; some of these amazing pieces of artistry can take up to two hours per accent to do. The temptation to opt for 3D orange pumpkin nails in honour of Halloween was somewhat overwhelming. Luckily, I remember why I was there: Mission bridal nails.
Both The Nail Spa and sister hair salon, Marquee, offer a Bride To Be ‘Beauty Concierge’, something that is every bit as lovely as it sounds. This ‘Beauty Concierge’ service comes in different levels for both the ‘Decisive Bride’ (definitely not me) and the ‘Bespoke Bride’ (definitely me). The ‘Decisive Bride’ can enjoy pre-set treatment bundles at a 15% discount, meaning that it will definitely be able to work itself into the wedding budget un-noticed and the ‘Bespoke Bride’ package focuses more on customized treatment regimes, which of course can be as little or as much as your time and dirhams allow.
Quite clearly a ‘Bespoke Bride’, I was told that The Nail Spa offers a fabulous package where custom nail art is designed just for the bride herself, including a personalized mood board and your very own dedicated nail artist. You’re advised to sit and chat with your nail artist as you would a wedding stylist or planner; what are your colours? Is there a theme? what is your dress like? and from this you will be presented with a special design proposal with three individual options to choose from, two follow-up consultations to discuss design changes (it’s a bride’s prerogative after all), a test & trial, a nail detox which centres on pre wedding nail care and even a personalised keepsake box showcasing your bespoke nail collection for those all-important lasting memories.
Faced with the happy but also painstaking task of choosing a nail art design for my own nails that reflected my simple, neutral wedding colour scheme, my nail artist and I decided upon a combination of two styles: Glitter ombre and some jewelled stones adorning my ring finger. Being a novice to nail art, I was actually quite apprehensive about having a design on my fingers but was reassured that it would complement my ideal bridal look and not stand out unnecessarily. Nails were buffed, filed and preened to perfection, taking into consideration the time-sensitive nature of having a manicure. Whilst this was taking place I happily browsed my way through one of the Spa’s iPads that are fully loaded with beverage lists, service focused deals, nail art collections for inspiration and even popular episodes from worldwide TV shows to enjoy whilst the clock ticks on.
I had opted for an EVO Gel base coat and a soft, almost translucent pink colour with a careful splattering of silver glitter for a glamorous ombre effect. Ombre nails have become one of this year’s biggest beauty trends and The Nail Spa offers this not only with glitter, but also the natural looking French Ombre (white and pink) and even colourful two-tone bolder ombres. Once the gel base was applied, a small sponge was dipped in silver glitter and rolled across each nail to give a sprinkle effect. Three small silver gemstones were carefully applied to the ring finger before being set in place with a thick layer of EVO gel topcoat and within an hour I had amazing bridal nails!
One of the best parts about the new TNS is their #nelfie bar which is exactly as it sounds; a selfie photobooth just for your nails! Position your newly polished hands on a beautifully laid out fur rug adorned with photoshoot worthy props whilst your nail technician holds the camera above the strategically placed lamp and with a snap! your fingers are transported to the middle pages of a magazine, perfect for sharing on social media.
With a whole range of bridal nail art to try in the lead up to my wedding, I look set to become a regular at the artbar. Furthermore, The Nail Spa hosts a range of other beauty services at each location, including threading, waxing, massage and lash extensions – all designed to help you look and feel your very best for your wedding day and every other day of the year.
The artbar locations include TNS Jumeirah Beach Road and Mall of the Emirates