Groupon salon & spa deals: Big savings or big scam?

Odds are, if you like a good deal, you’ve used Groupon a few times. With their wide spread discounts on everything from vacations to electronics, and out of this world Salon deals, they are the go-to source for anyone looking to save. For those unfamiliar with Groupon, it is a site that offers daily deals and discounts for local and national merchants; they’ve been in business since 2008. You can find bargains on clothing, baby items, trips and more, and some packages that are exclusive to the site, so you won’t find them anywhere else.

For starters, they really do have amazing deals. For example, in Media City you can get 50-70% off a mani-pedi, or be the first to know about popular places and newly opened businesses as they use this website to publicize their services and products. For instance, you can get up to 54% off brunch in the Boulevard Kitchen Downtown, changing the price from 95 to 55 DHS, as well as a two-night stay at Radisson Blu Hotel with up to 4 IMG tickets for 940 DHS.

“What I like about Groupon is their various locations, and since I live in dorms, I needed salons that are affordable and close the university. I have had good and bad experiences with the website, but overall, I have to say that I did save money and get amazing deals. I would definitely recommend this website to everyone, from tech geeks to adventure seekers. I am sure you will find an offer pertaining to your splurge cravings,” said Shereen Gad, an Interior Design student at AUD.

Getting your nails done around Media City tends to be costly like in Solo-Tres Spa of the Radisson Blu hotel. They can charge up to 278 DHS for a gelish coat with a mani-pedi, which is inconvenient as I am a student and tend to have a monthly budget to stick to. Another example is Tips and Toes, which charge even more than Solo-Tres Spa and do not have an AUD discount. My favorite experience so far has been with Caryusa salon. They have been working with Groupon for almost a year now and their business is flourishing because of the simple advertisements or offers they post on the website.

“It is a new salon, we have been open since 2015 and so we chose Groupon because we want to introduce our salon and services to ladies and clients. It is to give them more benefits and better prices. We get new clients and we show them how good our hairdresser or nail technician is and after that it is their choice, whether they want to continue with us. The prices we give are more than 80% off of the regular price, and we like the service and we change the promotion from time to time so people can try. Overall, we are happy because we have new customers,”  said Hayat Burikhodjaiva, the manager at Caryusa Salon since 2015. Hayat used to work in retail but she loves salons and how women leave salons pampered and happy, and so she chose to be there everyday to watch the salon make women smile and relax.

When I stumbled upon Groupon, I thought it was a scam, and I thought prices could not possibly be this low. My first experience happened to be in a salon in JLT called La Femme Beauty Salon. They had an offer for 120 DHS for a gelish mani-pedi which was less than half of the price I used to pay before. I was a bit hesitant as I could be giving up quality for a lower price. At the end of the day “you get what you pay for”, right? No. The salon was immaculate with top-of-the-line equipment and sterilizers. I was more than happy with what I got.

Even though I’ve had some good experiences with Groupon offers, there were some I was not a fan off, such as a Salon called Stylie in Tecom that charges 100 DHS for a gelish mani-pedi on Groupon. When I entered the salon, the space was so small and there were only two seats for all services. There were no sterilizers on sight, and they did not have a foot spa tub for drainage. They had an unknown brand of LED Gel polish, with a poor-quality LED curing machine that burned when you put your hand in. In my opinion, that was a scam as the salon did not fit the description or offer placed on Groupon, and there were extra charges that were not previously mentioned on the website.

Groupon is a hit or miss opportunity for AUD students since it offers affordable services around the campus area. The website offers killer deals and taking advantage of them is tempting, but before you do so, make sure to do your homework. While you might skim over the fine print on your iTunes agreement and latest terms and conditions, the fine print on Groupon may have a direct impact on whether you can actually use it. Other fine print details include additional fees and charges. You should know exactly what is and isn’t included before making a purchase. Similarly, be sure to check out the refund and cancellation policy in advance and call to make sure they have what you need.


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