From beard trims and shoeshines to manicures and blow-dries, these are the city’s best places to get primped and pampered.
Walk-ins are very welcome at this old-school barber best known for its traditional techniques. All cuts come with a hot towel and a dash of cologne at The Barberhood’s two CBD locations and clients also have the option of selecting their own playlist. Pull up a Japanese-made Takara Belmont chair and prepare for some serious man-time.
Set aside half an hour to experience a hot-towel shave at Men’s Biz in the CBD’s Strand Arcade. The space is masculine and sleek – all timber, marble and metal. You can stock up on high-end grooming products while you’re there, too, including Amouage, Acqua di Parma and Geo. F. Trumper.
Best for beards
This top-floor, light-filled, industrial haven in inner-city Surry Hills is nothing short of cool. Book in to District Salon for a beard trim and ask to see Stewart or Maddison – both know their stuff. The best part? You can sip a whisky (or beer) while you’re being clipped.
The Day Spa by Chuan at The Langham
A “sub-basement” may not sound like the most enticing location for indulgence but The Day Spa by Chuan at The Langham will change that perception. Check in for the Absolute Aromatherapy massage and check out of reality. This “hero treatment” releases tension using neuromuscular and Swedish techniques. Afterwards, take a dip in the subterranean pool with starry sky mural overhead – it may be Sydney’s most striking spot to swim.
Prince Consort’s Shoe Shine Service
There’s shoeshine then there’s Prince Consort’s Shoe Shine Service. Established by Peter Cooke in 1990, the iconic kiosk in the city’s Strand Arcade offers four options. But choose the top-of-the-line Executive service; for $16, your best leathers will be washed, conditioned, polished and waxed – with a heel stain thrown in.
Raw Anthony Nader
It’s no secret that industry veteran Anthony Nader is a go-to for taming the tresses of some of Sydney’s most stylish women. A blow-dry at Raw means you’ll be whisked to the sanctuary at the back of the Surry Hills salon – a dimly lit, soundproof space where your hair will be washed with Oribe products and your head massaged for 10 glorious minutes. A blow-dry with Mr Nader himself will set you back $150 but the compliments you’ll receive are worth it.
Jessica Gomes, Lara Worthington, Nicole Trunfio and Montana Cox all trust the same woman with their gorgeous complexions: Melanie Grant. The official skin expert for Chanel in Australia, she’s known for her exceptional facials; in particular, the Camera Ready Facial, comprising a customised antioxidant peel, hydration infusion and light therapy. Her eponymous Double Bay salon is a chic oasis decorated with bold shots of iconic ’90s supermodels, fresh flowers and covetable coffee-table books.
Jocelyn Petroni’s flagship salon in Woollahra counts Miranda Kerr, Gemma Ward and Megan Gale as clients. The meticulous Classic manicure includes cuticle trimming, a hand and arm massage and a coat of Chanel polish.
At Sharon Lee, tweezing and waxing are tailored to an individual client’s skin tone and bone structure, as well as hair colour and texture. Settle in for a Brow Wow treatment and a glass of bubbles (champagne is included). You can splurge $180 for an appointment with “brow queen” Sharon Lee or $100 for a senior stylist – be sure to book ahead.
Best post-flight treatment
All Saints Skin Clinic
Double Bay's All Saints Skin Clinic could be the chicest wellness escape in Sydney. The Blainey North-created décor alone – dark hues, marble surfaces and an array of sculptures and elegant artwork – is enough to send you into a Zen-like state. An extensive range of services is on offer, from laser light treatments to performance facials, however it's the Bespoke Chakra Healing massage that can really reset body and mind. With more than 20 years experience, therapist Dr Prasanna Mathad has become the go-to masseuse for beauty editors.
The Darling Spa
Sprawled across the second floor of the luxurious Darling hotel, this softly lit space is serene, despite being metres from The Star casino. Indulge in the Bamboo massage, which combines Eastern and Western techniques. Designed to ease muscle tension, promote deep relaxation and slow down fast-moving minds, the treatment is 90 minutes of heaven. ￼
Renya Xydis of Valonz salon has tended the tresses of some of Australia’s best-known stars, including Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett, Miranda Kerr and Hugh Jackman. A consultation and cut with Renya at her luxurious Paddington salon doesn’t come cheap, but can you really put a price on a good hair day?
Best infrared sauna
Sweat it out in Vrai’s infrared sauna, which purports to eliminate toxins from the body and soothe muscle aches. Nestled inside the BodyMindLife complex in Surry Hills, the sauna allows clients to control the temperature (the default is 65 degrees) and play their own music through a built-in Pioneer stereo sound system. After a 50-minute session, you’ll be feeling invigorated and revived.
Best spray tan
Behind an unassuming shopfront just metres from Bondi Beach sits one of Sydney’s best-kept beauty secrets – Tan Temple. Locals keen to maintain their golden glow have been flocking there since doors opened in 2009. Tan Temple, which uses all-natural tanning products, even has a money-back guarantee if customers aren’t happy with the results. Extended trading hours (10am-9pm Monday-Wednesday, 8am-9.30am Thursday-Friday and 8am-6pm on Saturday) make a year-round tan totally achievable.