Sometimes scheduling and squeezing in salon appointments can be a hassle. “Walk-ins welcome” doesn’t always mean there’s a chair open for you. I have a lot of friends who have irrational anxiety when it comes to making reservations over the phone. And what about that dreaded moment when your nails are drying, and you realize you have no cash to leave a tip? Let Whittl take the wheel: Whittl is a startup site that works with salons, spas and barbershops to not only help you find excellent beauty businesses and services, but also let you book and pay for those services online—including gratuities. To quote their marketing specialist, Whittl is “kind of like OpenTable meets Uber, but for salons.” And guess what? They just launched in Boston.
Whittl’s website is straightforward and easy to use, and even sends helpful notifications to your phone once you’ve made your online request. You’ll receive a text message letting you know when your appointment has been confirmed, a 24-hour reminder, in case you need to cancel, as well as a handy text that lets you know when your appointment is an hour away, in case you’re forgetful or have a really hectic schedule. Your credit card isn’t charged until your services are complete, and you can adjust your tip accordingly. Basically, Whittl helps you do what you’re meant to do during salon and spa services: just relax.
I used Whittl to try a nail salon I’d never been to before, Paradise Nails & Spa, located at 215 Newbury Street. This hidden gem is cozy without being cramped, and offers an excellent range of services. Perhaps the most charming part of Paradise Nails is the husband-and-wife duo who have and owned and managed the salon for almost ten years, and who effectively (and adorably) split their work. The thing about bringing photos of desired nail designs into salons is that those photos don’t typically come with instructions, and every nail technician has his or her own approach to executing nail art. I requested a fairly intricate nail design, and the couple made a point of discussing it with me in detail so that we were all on the same page. I really appreciated that they communicated each step of the process, and loved watching as they took turns completing my fabulous gel manicure while seeing to other customers and tasks. They were both extremely sweet, skilled, and just pleasant in general. They’re also not afraid to offer advice, and thankfully helped me choose a better color scheme than I’d had in mind. Since their space is small and the couple are the only available technicians, I would advise booking in advance with Whittl. I will definitely be using Whittl and visiting Paradise again, and would recommend you do the same!