Gel nails in Harrods – what’s the Urban Retreat really like?

If any of you read my very first post (thank you!) then you know I was going to take my URBAN RETREATmum to Harrods to get her nails done.

Yes, her birthday was in October but we went on the 23rd November and I wanted to experience two weeks with the nails before posting.

My first thought… where is it? It took us a lot of going back and forth to find the place mainly because we weren’t looking properly but when we did it was like walking into Narnia. Navigating through the Nike section we found ourselves at the right place, The Urban Retreat.

The second you pass from the clothing department you feel like you’re in luxury heaven (if you hadn’t already being in Harrods!)After checking in and being shown where to go we headed up to the nail bar. It’s very busy and buzzy around the check-in desk but the second we got to the stairs for the Nail Bar it was calm and serene.

Nail Loft

Once seated upstairs we had already booked for the everlasting manicure so we had some time to look through all their colour choices and combinations. This took me ages… and ages.

I was torn whether to go sparkly or plain (first world problems or what right?)

I finally decided on a colour, courage – a very dark plum colour.

Then we got going, cleaning, filing, tidying and inspecting. Never in my life have my hands gone through such a treatment. Being my very first experience with getting gel nail varnish I’m still at a loss as to whether the full trimming of my cuticles was necessary but all I could think at the time was “what do I know!” All I did know is that occasionally it was a touch too painful but I had torn my nail off two weeks prior so maybe I was a bit cautious anyway.

Once that process was over I must say I did feel a little relieved and it was on to the painting and curing.

The lady that did my nails was very knowledgable, although a touch scary… She informed me of the process and that for some reason the colour I had chosen had a tendency to shrink slightly unaware of what she meant she explained occasionally it began to shrink away from the tip of the nail. To solve this she did a nail at a time to stop this from UR Coffeehappening.

I was then offered a coffee, of course I said yes, I love coffee! Then by the end I realised I was just drooling over it knowing I can’t drink it because my hands are being needed every few seconds. I downed it at the end and it was great.

Whilst painting and curing she informed me of the correct way to remove the nails, using the acetone on cotton wool, secured with tin foil around the nails for 5-10 minutes. I did read up on this before but it was good to hear that was the way they did it in at nail bar.

Before I knew it they were done! Only two coats of colour was needed, then a top coat.

They were so shiny which I loved but then she cleaned them with god knows what and they did go a little less shiny… not sure if this is normal but in the process she wiped off some of the gel which hadn’t cured properly, I was a little disappointed because I only noticed this after leaving. I’m not sure if you can see it very clearly below.

Major error

(Ignore the scratches, this photo was only taken today but the area which was rubbed off by accident hasn’t changed)

My only other concern was where the clear top coat brush was a little dirty it left “bits” on my nails rather than an absolute perfect finish.

But it didn’t stop me and my mum absolutely loving our chip-free nails – it’s only on reflection that I realise this probably doesn’t happen all the time but wanted to let you guys know, if there’s an issue go back!

Speaking to my auntie, who does bio sculpture nails she asked why I didn’t have the broken nail extended to match my others… I realised I wasn’t offered this option and it made complete sense because it does look ridiculously short in comparison so apologies for that!

Regardless of this, we had a fantastic time, we went shopping after, I got a new winter
coat (who doesn’t love a new coat?!) and went out for some food later on.

Missing NailAfter 1 week:

At the week 1 point my nails were a little scratched up and my index finger nail was beginning to lift and peel, it got caught in my hair and tore off but luckily to my relief there was no damage at all to my nail – even without removing it correctly.

After 2 weeks:

I’m not experiencing chips in places and it is started to feel rough around to bottom. So you can clearly see the scratches here’s a picture with and without flash. I’m sure this is completely normal but I am definitely feeling reading to get these taken off!

Nail Comparison Right hand


An overview of my time at The Urban Retreat:

Staff: 7/10 – 10/10 For my mums technician… -3 for mine.

Location: 10/10 – We were in Harrods! I mean come on, that doesn’t get any better.

Environment: 10/10 – Beautiful area, overview of the hair salon, very fresh and clean.

Colour Choice: 8/10 – I do wonder if I was stuck because there wasn’t a dark teal colour I was hoping for (maybe I’m just picky!)

Price: 5/10 – Probably could get the same quality elsewhere (if not better) for cheaper or a better quality for the same price but I do respect that their location is premium.

Quality: 6/10 – I did expect better being Harrods especially losing a whole nail of gel after 1 week and chipped by the second.

Overall: 7.5/10

Would I go again? For a special occasion, yes.

To have my nails done on a bi-weekly basis… No.

For a different treatment? Yes

At a cost of £55 do I think it was worth it? No. For the experience? Yes.

We went for a special occasion, had the benefit of being in London and you truly felt at the heart of it all.

I also must admit the nail technician my mum had was very chatty, very lovely and seemed to be more precise and careful with my mums hands. The one I had? A little scary, maybe runs the place and seemed like she was too busy to really be doing my nails – talking to customers walking in & waiting for their treatments, getting up to go and sign them in. I get that someone has to do it but for £55 I do expect their full attention.

Although it may feel like I’m complaining a lot, I’m not. Ok, I did expect to be able to sit back, relax and maybe expected the technician to make sure all was perfect and when it wasn’t I was a little taken back and wondered if it was my job to mention the area which had been wiped off but I did absolutely love my nails and having them feel and look great for a whole week. I also loved that my nails do not feel damaged just beautifully kept.

I loved the Urban Retreat and wouldn’t hesitate to go back to have my make-up done or to try a different treatment. I would definitely get gel nails again but would be excited to try some new places. As my auntie does the bio sculpture nails that will be my next trial…


I really hope you liked this review. Let me know if you’ve tried gel nails before, if so what was the brand? Would you have them again?


Love Georgia x

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