Rant: Vacation Mani-Pedis

20130504-093404.jpgVacation is supposed to be full of rest and relaxation (R&R). Most of the time, we’re so busy in our daily lives that just even a couple of days of R&R, away from the noise of everyday life, is enough respite for us to get our juices rejuvenated. If we’re lucky enough to get a few days, it usually requires prepping for the trip by thinking about what to pack so that we optimize our relaxation time. Sometimes that prep includes shopping for a new bathing suit or new dress. Or in some cases a little pre-grooming, like a bikini wax. But when it comes to massages or facials we tend to want to indulge and pamper ourselves because after all, we earned it and we’re worth it.

Although I avoid facials when I travel, because most aestheticians feel the need to criticize your skin and then try to sell you a boat load of expensive products for which they get a commission, massages  on the other hand, I feel are worth it. This is also why I always try to get my mani-pedi prior to arriving at my vacation destination. Because, while massages and facials run the range of $150 and up in most fine hotels or resorts, a mani-pedi should be way under that price. Yet, it’s always ridiculously expensive, and which is the subject of my rant from my most recent vacation in Maui.

I realize I am lucky that I live in a city where nail salons are a dime-a-dozen and because of that they are cheaper than in other parts of the country. That being said, I normally get a mani-pedi in San Francisco for $25 plus tip and it includes an arm and foot massage. And because the women are Asian, I don’t have to talk to them and make bullshit small talk conversation. So after looking up the prices in the hotel room amenities book, I realized it was going to cost me $135 for the basic mani-pedi and it was my own fault since I didn’t have  enough time to “prep” for my vacation among life’sNailArt other responsibilities.  Now, I know that you pay for convenience and when you stay at a nice hotel, you can expect to pay a little more for beauty services. But what I also expect is more than what I would get if I were to get the same service at home.  It also didn’t help that while in the moment I was tempted to get some nail art on one of my big toes. I had never had it done before and wanted to try it. Realizing it was an additional charge of $15 per toe, since it was hand painted, I felt it was worth it to get at least one toe painted.

When I went to check out I expected my bill to be $135+$30 (because before I noticed she had already started painting the other big toe), but instead I had sticker shock. Not only did they charge me for the more expensive mani-pedi (which they did not ask me), but there was tax and tip which was not included that I didn’t account for because at home, it’s included in the price. When it was all said and done, it was $233 and did I mention that I brought my own organic non-paraben nail polish? Did they discount anything off the bill for that? No.

Let’s face it, I wouldn’t even be writing this blog if it had been the best mani-pedi I’ve ever had or even a close second. But it wasn’t even close. The manicure was mediocre. The hand massage was about 90 seconds, and they acted like it was a big deal to put my rings in some jewelry cleaner solution. But it wasn’t like she scrubbed them with a tiny brush. They just sat in the solution for the three minutes while she was massaging my hands and forearms. The manicure was $60 and frankly, my eleven year old niece could have done a better job. The pedicure was much better but I thought $98 plus the nail art was a little over priced. In the end it cost me $200 more than it would have cost me in San Francisco for sub-par over-priced services.

That’s what I get for not prepping before my vacation I guess. Lesson learned! Thankfully my massage was scheduled for the next day to relieve the tension I had over being overcharged for shitty services. And it was well worth it!

Has this happened to you?

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