Staying at a vacation rental, but still want spa treatments? In big cities, the massages, pedicures and blowouts will come to you.
Back in the days before the sharing economy, if you wanted to be pampered or primped you slipped on terry-cloth slippers and shuffled off to the hotel spa.
Today, home swapping is commonplace, and vacation rentals are a $24 billion market in the United States alone, according to Phocuswright, a market research company. One can still pop into a hotel or local spa for a massage or manicure. But the rise of on-demand beauty and wellness apps and websites means you don’t have to forgo the convenience of on-site beauty and fitness treatments if you’re staying in a vacation rental. Rather, the spray tanner and the Zumba instructor will come to you.
Such services aren’t widespread yet. But if you’re vacationing in a major city like New York or Los Angeles, or any of the others mentioned below, you can lounge around your Airbnb rental and order a pedicure as fast as an Uber.
TOTAL SPA APP
Take, for instance, Priv, an app for iOS and Android users in New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Texas and London. With a few taps of its lavender interface a user in New York can book massages ($150 for an hour session with a table provided by the therapist), spray tans ($60), makeup applications (starting at $75), manicures ($35), blowouts ($50), men’s grooming ($50 for haircuts; $35 for beard trims and styling), and personal training (starting at $80 an hour). In some cases you can book a service for multiple people (“manicure for 3” or “custom airbrush tan for 2”).
After choosing a service, users can then see photos of the professionals, read about them and check out their star ratings from other clients, as well as their next available appointment time. The app includes tax and tip so you know exactly what you’re spending; a plus for those on a tight budget.
If all you want is a massage, Soothe, an app and a website, offers Swedish, deep tissue, sports, prenatal and couples massages from licensed therapists practically around the clock: seven days a week from 8 a.m.-midnight, including holidays. The pricing is simple: $129 for an hour, $179 for 90 minutes, $219 for two hours. Gratuity is included.
You can’t choose your therapist, though if you like someone you’ve used before, you can request him or her again. Soothe is not only available in popular destinations like Miami and New York, but also in places other wellness apps have yet to reach like Atlanta, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.
Zeel, a massage-on-demand competitor with an app and a delightfully minimalist website, offers appointments from licensed therapists every day of the year (holidays, too) in more than a dozen cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago and Seattle. Clients can choose from Swedish, deep tissue, prenatal and sports massages, and couples massages.
Glamsquad, an app that offers makeup, nail and hair services, is not as far-reaching. It’s only in New York City (where one can also get manicures and pedicures), Los Angeles and Miami. Appointments are available on demand or up to 30 days in advance, a boon for planners. In New York, blowouts are $50, makeup applications are $75, manicures are $35 and pedicures are $50. A 20 percent tip and a service tax are added to those fees. Unlike Priv, however, you can’t read about or choose your stylist.
A similar service called StyleBee with offers makeup application ($85), blowouts ($50) and hair styling ($85 for updos) from licensed professionals in a handful of major cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. As with other beauty on-demand companies, gratuity is included (20 percent), but unlike the other sites, StyleBee notes, “additional tips are appreciated.” That could add up if you feel obligated. You cannot choose or read about your stylist.