On arrival in London, whether a trip for pleasure or business, your other half is enjoying a great facial and you are feeling left out! Then again you may just want to treat yourself to a professional shave after a long flight or fancy a massage after a day at the museums. Well, finding a great beauty place in a foreign city as a woman is hard enough, so being a man and wanting to know where the best male day spa or barber shop may seem like an impossible feat. But, you are in a city known for nattily dressed men in bespoke Jermyn Street attire, so it’s no surprise there’s a host of upscale barber shops, day spas and salons catering exclusively to gentlemen. Here are some that my discerning male Insiders have informed me of …
Day Spa: Gentlemen’s Tonic
Who said the girls have to have all the fun? Gentlemen’s Tonic is a grooming and lifestyle pit stop for guys on the go, offering everything from great haircuts to facials, massages, manicures, reiki, reflexology, kinesiology, nutrition and image consultations. The decor and vibe is reassuringly masculine and hi-tech (part-barbershop, part-boys’ night in) with neutral colors, leather chairs, and music and LCD TVs in the hairdressing stations and treatment rooms. Love the Father and Son haircut package: Dad enjoys a Bloody Mary while the boy watches cartoons, with some quality bonding time to finish—the perfect outing for one of those rainy Saturday mornings. There’s also a branch in Houston, Texas, and a range of products is available for purchase at the salon or online.
http://www.gentlemenstonic.com | Phone: +44 (0) 207 292 4343
31a Bruton Place | London W1J 6NN England
Day Spa: The Refinery
Former investment banker Laith Waines has gone from money to manicures with the Refinery, two masculine but stylishly modern men’s grooming salons in Mayfair and at Harrods in Knightsbridge. “I only go to the Refinery,” says Philippe Leboeuf, who must always be impeccably groomed for his role as General Manager of Mayfair’s esteemed Claridge’s hotel. “Ask for my barber, Chen. I go to him every three weeks. He is very professional, understands my needs and frivolity, and he has a talent for cutting short hair and managing to still give it a lot of style.” The vibe at the Mayfair branch is like a suave gentlemen’s club—dark wood floors, sleek furnishings, down-to-earth and friendly staff—the sort of place where James Bond might get his nails clipped after a particularly troublesome mission (in fact, Piers Brosnan is a client). Treatments are extensive, ranging from facials to massages, hair removal, reflexology, manicures and pedicures, sports massage and detox treatments, with special packages for bridegrooms and new fathers. Those doing business in Tokyo will be happy to know they also have an outpost there.
http://www.the-refinery.com | Phone: +44 (0) 20 7409 2001
60 Brook Street | London W1K 5DU England
Sicilian grooming guru Carmelo Guastella has been cutting hair since he was nine years old, and boy, can you tell. A favorite with celebrities, Carmelo has an intuitive and unwavering talent for male grooming. His understated salon, near Kings Cross, is perfect for the man about town: stylish haircuts, expert smooth shaves and fuss-free TLC. He also offers bespoke grooming lessons and tailored treatments for bridegrooms-to-be. A trusted male friend swears by Carmelo’s shaving method and personally formulated, all-natural Melogy shaving oil.
http://www.melogy.com | Phone: +44 (0) 20 738 30027
1 Sinclair House, Hastings Street | London WC1H 9PZ England
Barber: Geo F. Trumper
There was a time when no self-respecting gentleman would have shaved himself, so step back in time and put your face in the hands of the experts at Geo. F. Trumper, a London barbershop in business since 1875. For the full authentic experience, go to the original Curzon Street location in Mayfair, which has the look of an old fashioned apothecary and where clients are shaved in the privacy of mahogany-paneled stalls. The shop sells an excellent range of shaving and men’s grooming products and colognes. “I have bought some shaving creams and razors at Geo Trumper because of their traditional image and reputation,” says Philippe Leboeuf, General Manager of Claridge’s hotel. “The service is very good—and I am a bit difficult when it comes to judging service.” Head barber, Kamil Ozturk, has been ridding men of unwanted facial hair for almost a quarter of a century. (Rather disturbingly, he was also the man who taught Johnny Depp how to wield a razor as the manic Sweeney Todd.) Don’t worry, you won’t leave in one of Mrs. Lovett’s meat pies; rather walk out feeling relaxed and with a face that’s super-smooth. Trumper also offers facials, massages, manicures, pedicures and haircuts, and a shaving school where you can learn tips from the master. Stores in Mayfair and St. James.
http://www.trumpers.com | Phone: +44 (0) 20 7499 1850
9 Curzon Street | London W1J 5HQ England
Massage Maestro: Franco at the Metropolitan hotel’s Urban Escape
This small hotel spa isn’t just for men, but it’s very male friendly and it’s the place to go for a serious massage that will work out the kinks. Walk through the nondescript doors behind the lobby reception at the Metropolitan Hotel, down a set of steps and though a door into a very simple, average-looking small gym and spa with just two treatment rooms. All that simplicity is misleading—visitors are in for an impressive experience. When the staff welcome you, you’ll notice immediately how well trained they are and how they seem to care sincerely about how you are feeling! I was lucky to be matched with the spa’s secret weapon—a phenomenal massage therapist/physiotherapist named Franco. The deep tissue massage he gave me was, without a doubt, the best massage I’ve ever had in London. Franco is very knowledgeable and effective—you won’t leave with a single knot. His technique is not for those who prefer light, relaxing stroking; instead, a combination of stretching, deep kneading and movement are his signature techniques. That wonderful feeling of relaxation won’t just last until an hour after you leave the spa, though. He will teach you about small changes to make in your seated and standing postures, plus daily stretches to help alleviate the tightness in between visits as well.
£85 for a one hour Deep Tissue Massage.
http://www.metropolitan.como.bz | Phone: +44 (0)20 7447 5750
Old Park Lane | London W1K 1LB England
Barber: Taylor of Old Bond Street
If you’re looking for a smart shave in the West End, then step away from the bustle of Picadilly Circus, onto calm and collected Jermyn street. London art reviewer Tom Jeffreys swears that this is the closest shave he has ever had, and won’t stop raving about Taylor’s services and products. The shop was set up in 1854 by Jeremiah Taylor, and has been going strong ever since, de-fuzzing some of the capital’s smartest faces. These days, it’s run by Jeremiah’s great grandson, Leonard, who continues his esteemed relative’s enthusiasm for good quality beard grooming. Professional haircuts, manicures and pedicures are also available for the man who needs a top-to-toe transformation, and the shop sells a range of face, body and hair products so you can keep up the regime at home.
http://www.tayloroldbondst.co.uk | Phone: + 44 (20) 7839 4550
74 Jermyn Street | London SWIY 6NP England
Suzanne Aaronson, Co-founder of Suzanne’s Files, is our Travel Curator. Stay in-the-know on her latest finds and insider tips by signing up to receive Notes from Suzanne’s Files, a free e-newsletter.