When it comes to manicures, I’m more of a DIY girl (in case you hadn’t guessed from the previous 100 or so blogs); as for the rare occasions where I have brought in the professionals, I discovered my mani manna with The Nail Library and have rarely strayed from them since.
However, when I heard that the Four Seasons Hong Kong was opening their very own Nail Bar, my polish-loving ears pricked up. The Four Seasons is easily one of the best hotels in Hong Kong and definitely one of my personal favourites; everything they do, they do to perfection. So if they were trying their hands (perfectly polished, natch) at a Nail Bar, chances are it was going to be done right.
If you’re talking first impressions, then the Four Seasons’ Nail Bar definitely deserves a standing ovation. On walking in, you’re immediately greeted by a knockout view over Victoria Harbour through a sweeping wall of windows; in fact, Four Seasons even has sunglasses on hands for when the view gets too blinding – now that’s service! The space itself is small but far from squashed, and the whole place positively screams chic, sophisticated luxury – five plush leather chairs for treatments, gleaming marble surfaces and glowing nail polish bottles displayed in backlit alcoves like treasures in a jewellery box.
My media partner-in-crime Charmaine and I were booked in to trial The Nail Bar’s signature Luxury Manicure – a divine hour of hand heaven. In fact, since we had the room all to ourselves, the Four Seasons had laid on a special Nail Social for us, complete with afternoon tea and champers. Afternoon tea and nail polish? I’m not sure the day could have been more tailor-made for me unless they’d laid on a litter of cute puppies to cuddle as well. And don’t worry, even if you haven’t booked a Nail Social, the Four Seasons still lays on complimentary beverages for all guests; champagne, cocktails, whiskey, smoothies, wheatgrass shots, fresh juices, tea… you name it, they’ve got it!
Currently The Nail Bar carries polishes by Deborah Lippmann, Azature (made with black diamonds – could a brand be better pitched for Hong Kong high-rollers?), OPI, CND Shellac and my pick for the day, cult Aussie brand Christina Fitzgerald. Their dizzying rainbow of colours is conveniently displayed in swatch books for you to drool over, whilst the Four Seasons lovely spa director Shoshana helped me find even more colours to covet from their secret bottle stash of new shades.
Whilst I was changing my mind about polish colours every five seconds and getting Charmaine to stuff mini cakes in my mouth, my therapist had already got down to work with the treatment – first soaking my hands in a warm water bath, then gently exfoliating my hands and lower arms with a scrub.
The best bit of the treatment was a totally decadent porcelain cream masque, an in-house retinol-infused formula stuffed with goodies like coconut oil, carrot juice and shitake mushroom extract to brighten and smooth your skin; whilst one hand was basking in that, my other was being treated to a wonderful hand and arm massage, making the whole thing doubly delicious! The masque felt gloriously rich, heavy, creamy and moisturising, with the final result being hands so soft, smooth and radiant that I felt the need to keep pressing them against my cheek like I was in a hand cream commercial.
For my manicure, I’d eventually decided on two vivid Christina Fitzgerald candy colour pops – Freedom (an electric purple) and Doll House (an intense cerulean turquoise). Both were brilliantly bright without being overly neon, seriously soaked in vibrant, rich, gorgeous colour.
A quick note: I had originally planned on asking for some fairly simple nail art, but currently, only two of The Nail Bar’s therapists is trained in it (unlike The Nail Library, where all the girls are proficient). Also, as nail art takes longer than a regular mani and The Nail Bar is pretty much booked out 24/7, this is definitely something you should mention you want when making your appointment.
After the usual rounds of buffing, filing, cutting, trimming, painting and drying, I was eventually left with a killer cool manicure that looked every bit as wow-worthy as the salon it had been created in! Sadly, it didn’t end up lasting nearly as long as I hoped; it ended up chipping only a couple of days in, but after consulting a few in-the-know nail polish nerds, it seems like that’s more to do with the inconsistencies in Christina Fitzgerald’s lacquer line than a fault of the Four Seasons.
Meanwhile, travel-bound Charmaine had opted for a Shellac manicure in super bright CND Cerulean Sea, a blissful sky blue that was another total summer knockout. I saw her almost a month later and it looked every bit as pristine and perfect as it had done when she left The Nail Bar – result!
Whilst there’s no doubting it’s a bit pricey, I’d definitely be down for a return trip to The Nail Bar for future special pampering treats – the Four Seasons just has a knack of making you feel like a queen, which I think is pretty priceless. As far as uber luxurious hand and feet treatments in Hong Kong go, they don’t come much better than this.
The Four Seasons’ Nail Bar Luxury Manicure lasts 60 minutes and costs $700 on Monday-Thursday, or $770 on Friday-Sunday. Shellac Hands costs $920 on Monday-Thursday or $990 on Friday-Sunday.
Nail Socials (for a maximum of five people), including hand and foot treatments plus afternoon tea or evening nibbles depending on the time of day, last 150 minutes and cost $11,888 on Monday-Thursday or $12,888 on Friday-Sunday.
The Nail Bar, Four Seasons Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 3196 8900
Note: this trial was by invitation