We get our nails done for two reasons. First, we like to look good. We liked it in 3000 B.C., when the practice was first recorded in China, and in the time of ancient Egypt, where even low-ranking citizens felt obliged to spruce up with a modest nude coat. We like it now, willingly subjecting our hands to repeated blasts of concentrated UV light and harsh acetone soaks in exchange for two full weeks of gelled, chip-free, perfectly glossy fingertips. The other reason we get our nails done is that we love to pamper ourselves. The mani-pedi is a bimonthly ritual to which we gladly sacrifice two hours and an expense we very rarely call into question, lest we tumble down the slippery slope that is YouTube DIY nail art tutorials. Thus, finding a great nail salon is like coming home. At Venetian Nail Spa in Fort Lauderdale's Flagler Village, home is a nearly 4,000-square-foot Eden with high ceilings, arched entryways, gauzy curtains, and flatscreen TVs streaming endless episodes of Barefoot Contessa and Pioneer Woman. Dedicated receptionists (not a technician juggling the phone and his next wax appointment) check you in and offer you a cold beverage as you select a polish. Walk-ins are welcome, and if you're looking to book a large group (wedding parties, anyone?), Venetian's airy space with four sectioned-off pedicure areas provides the perfect luxe, clean, and calm atmosphere without the Boca price tags. Gel manis start at $36, a basic spa pedi costs $26, and a regular mani-pedi starts at $40.
Readers' choice: Tipsy Salonbar