UPDATE: The Loft by The Nail Library is now closed; head to The Nail Library on On Wo Lane for all your mani-pedi needs!
Stuff I like: nail polish, mani-pedis, being pampered.
Stuff I don’t like: walking, walking uphill, getting really sweaty when walking uphill.
You may remember my discovery of The Nail Library being life-changing for my love of nail polish, mani-pedis and being pampered in Hong Kong. However, in order for The Nail Library to be something of a hidden gem, it has to be… well, a bit hidden. Hence its perfectly charming location off the beaten track in Po Hing Fong, which is a reasonably lengthy and very uphill walk from Sheung Wan MTR station.
So I bring good news to those of you who share my aversion for most forms of physical activity. You can now get all of The Nail Library’s amazing range of nail polish brands, its superstar nail therapists, its unparalleled nail art expertise, and its laidback urban-luxe vibe at an even more convenient location just by Central’s escalators at The Loft by The Nail Library. Huzzah.
It’s essentially everything you love about The Nail Library but picked up and plonked down on Cochrane Street, a short and (relatively) un-sweaty walk from Central MTR. The same slouchy leather armchairs and cool vintage knick-knacks are all in place. A similarly extensive rainbow of polishes from the likes of Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, YSL, Illamasqua, Deborah Lippmann and NCLA are scattered around the shelves. The fabulous menu of hand and foot treatments is exactly as it is in Po Hing Fong – as is the array of complimentary tipples and treats to keep you refreshed during your pampering session.
Yes, the surface area at The Loft is a little bit smaller (there’s only around six seats) but the layout still feels spacious, lofty light years ahead of the cramped spartan interiors of many Hong Kong nail salons. And what with that escalator-adjacent location, The Loft has bagged some prime people-watching real estate too… even better entertainment than the pages of Grazia, I reckon!
So when I was in need of a picture-perfect mani-pedi for my first ever bridesmaid duties earlier this year, yet had a busy schedule of appointments shuttling around Hong Kong to contend with too, off to The Loft I zipped.
My dress was sunshine yellow, my shoes were print green wedges and my brain was fried with thoughts of the 18-hour wedding day, the unfamiliar concept of groomsmen door games, and the worry I would commit some cultural faux pas at this semi-traditional Chinese wedding. For the first two elements, my style fairy godmother Sabrina advised choosing a mint green nail polish for my nails; for the latter worries, a pampering session at The Loft was just what the doctor ordered!
As ever, The Nail Library therapists were on it like a beauty blogger all over the latest limited edition MAC collection. My pedicure went through all the steps necessary to set me on the path to pamperdom – a luscious foot soak, an invigorating scrub and a relaxing leg massage, before the application of the polish itself. Pedicures in Hong Kong are often fraught with peril thanks to utensil-happy therapists who feel the need to prune nails down to the quick and rip cuticles off in their quest for some Red Shoes-style ending for your feet (and thanks to the Read propensity for ingrowing toenails, I have the multiple infections to prove it!); however, at The Nail Library, I always feel in safe hands.
Whilst my pedi was drying, my therapist then set to work on my mitts, again with a marvellously milky soak, scrub and mini hand massage. I’d chosen RGB Minty as the base colour for both my mani and pedi, with a smattering of fairy-dust sparkle over the tips of my fingernails. For an even more complex and multi-dimensional look, we used two different glitter polishes for the frosting – Deborah Lippmann Boom Boom Pow and Zoya PixieDust Cosmo.
Nothing is too much trouble for The Nail Library girls; they’ll help you match colours to any reference photos you have, demo shades on their own nails for you to see how the polish looks out of the bottles, and are more than happy to take everything off and start again if something goes awry – like when I noticed a teeny-tiny hair that had got trapped in my finished manicure.
As usual, I was absolutely smitten with the final result – a mani and pedi that were fit for the front cover of any fashion magazine. My manicure sparkled in just the right way, sophisticated but not too showy. The manicure ended up lasting about a week chip-free – right through my friend’s amazing wedding and beyond – whilst the pedicure is still going strong over a month after the big day!
The selection of polish colours at The Loft is a little smaller than at The Nail Library – but given the size of the collection at The Nail Library, that basically means it’s still bigger than most nail salons in Hong Kong anyway!
The Nail Library is definitely a unique pampering experience in Hong Kong, and for times where I can really while away the day getting my nails did with some girlfriends, there’s nowhere else in Hong Kong I’d rather be. However, The Loft is a neat addition to the nail scene here simply because it offers exactly the same high quality of service, treatments and environment, but just with extra added convenience. Now thas is one loft conversion I can definitely get on-board with.
The Loft by The Nail Library manicure costs $270 and the pedicure $400; a combo manicure-pedicure promotion is currently available for $600 (with extra surcharges for nail art)
The Loft by The Nail Library, Level 2, 26 Cochrane Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2618 8623
Note: I’m now friends with Ping, the co-founder of The Nail Library and The Loft, and… however hard I try… she keeps refusing to let me pay for things! Thanks again, Ping 🙂