I decided to try the gel out and see if it's worth the time and the money. Here is my experience:
I went to my normal day spa which uses OPI. Gel colors are limited, but I picked Russian Navy. It's a sparkly dark blue.
Same day as manicure:
A week after manicure:
No chipping yet! The biggest problem was how fast my nails grow.
Two weeks after manicure:
After exactly two weeks, the polish started chipping and had to be taken off. My nails grow quite fast so my biggest problem was that the space between the cuticle and the polish.
Worth the cost?
Gel manicure: $33 Lasted 15 days ($2.20/day)
Regular manicure: $15 lasts ~5 days ($3/day)
Nail polish at home: Less than $4.00 for a bottle ~3 days (teeny tiny costs)
I certainly won't get them done every time I want color, but for a special occasion gel is definitely a better alternative to a regular manicure.