From the peaceful room with couchlike chairs to the self-heating citrus scrubs, Deborah Lippmann’s Star Treatment manicure/pedicure is truly luxe: Cuticles are filed, not cut; the massage is deep and penetrating; and nails are buffed and painted with primer and ridge filler for a perfectly smooth, shiny coat. At Salon A.K.S., New York; 212-888-0707
Insider Tip Book a session with aesthetician Doris Nuñez. You’ll get the same treatment (Lippmann trained her) but pay $130 instead.
Pedicures at Rescue Beauty Lounge take place in small cubicles with cushioned benches where manicures can be done simultaneously. Hands get a paraffin wax–and–collagen wrap after nails are meticulously filed into shape. Both services use Rescue Beauty’s lotion and exfoliating scrub (in scents such as Citrus Vert and Spiced Floral). Too bad they don’t have driers—our polish smudged within minutes of leaving. At 34 Gansevoort St., New York; 212-206-6409
At Spa Belles customers sit in a row of vibrating chairs (yours may or may not function), their feet submerged in a whirlpool. Service includes the basics: nail shaping, overzealous cuticle cutting, cursory buffing, and moisturizing with generic lotion. Massages are blissful but brief, and if you get a good technician your double coat of Essie can last nearly a week. Multiple locations in Manhattan; 212-645-3112