Most women have probably had the typical "manicure and pedicure" experiences in the local shops located in most, if not all, small towns and big cities. We've all experienced the "rush" to choose a color, the switching off from one person to the next while having our hands and feet attended to, and most memorable, the loud atmosphere that usually includes a television, more for the enjoyment of the staff than the customer. Of course, we probably all enjoy one thing when getting this type of manicure and pedicure, the price, it's at least $20 cheaper, if not more, than what you will pay if you go to a spa for the same service.
With that said, nothing beats a spa "mani" and "pedi" in terms of relaxation, precision, cleanliness and service. If you've never treated yourself to one of these treatments at such an establishment, you will be pleasantly surprised at all the little "extras" that are thrown in, for instance, you might get a sea-salt exfoliant for your feet, or a muscle relaxing soak for your feet, including your entire calf area, and your hands, you might also receive a "paraffin wax" treatment for your hands and your feet which will leave them soft and smooth, and best of all you will receive a custom hand and foot massage that lasts upwards of ten or fifteen minutes and is done with obvious skill. These extra little perks are probably the main things that set a spa "mani" and "pedi" apart from one you could receive in a simple salon.
In addition to this, you will also be completely immersed in the spa experience. You will not have to deal with having three different people trade off while working on your hands and your feet, rather you will get the personalized attention that spas are known for. You will also not be simply thrown into a room with ten or fifteen other ladies who are chatting with each other or talking on their cell phones so loudly that they almost drown out the annoying sound of the television in the background, rather you will be soothed by soft music and a much more low-key atmosphere.
You will most likely be offered refreshments, water or possibly something from the juice bar (or even a glass of champagne in some of the more high class spas), and your every need will be catered to. The equipment is usually better in a spa environment as well, including the massage chair and the foot bath that will relax away your worries, as well as the tools that the staff uses.
All in all, if you've never experienced a "mani" or a "pedi" from a real spa, then you owe it to yourself at least once a year. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the quality of the treatments as well as the mood you leave with. Remember the cost difference though, and make sure to save up a little extra cash for the treatment and the tip.
Above all, have a wonderful time!