From shaves to facials, these are the city’s best places to be primped and pampered. By Melissa Williams-King.
Room 104 Grooming Lounge
Five years ago, inspired by the hidden-away bars he’d seen in New York and Melbourne, Hanan James opened Room 104 Grooming Lounge with his brother, hairdresser Jay. Complete with vintage barber chairs, kauri timber beams and floor-to-ceiling windows, the loft-style six-chair salon on the first floor of a downtown heritage building is a magnet for corporate and creative types seeking a great cut in a club-like atmosphere.
Barkers’ Groom Room
Situated inside the fashion brand’s Ponsonby concept store and café, Good Company, the newest Groom Room offers a full menu of cuts and shaves in a four-chair salon. The most indulgent treatment is The Whisky Sour, which includes a haircut, shave, facial massage and steam, plus a complimentary soft drink or water. For a faster fix, try The Gin Rickey, a cutthroat shave with a hot towel. Then you can sample the in-house coffee and shopping.
This wellness haven in the Cordis hotel has an outdoor pool deck, sauna, herbal steam room, ice bath and “snail shower” (an S-shaped, mosaic-tiled tunnel of multiple face- and waist-level jets that you walk through). For a full hour of zen, try the Chuan Executive Indulgence treatment, which uses the spa’s own line of oils and scrubs to invigorate hands, feet and scalp.
Best for beards
Maloney’s Barber Shop
This traditional barber shop near Victoria Park in the CBD is an institution in Auckland. Customers are willing to queue for hours for a haircut (although you can phone ahead to book a virtual spot in the queue) and shaves are by appointment. Thankfully, a booking app is in the works. Decorated with sports memorabilia and sci-fi posters, the salon has a man-cave atmosphere and stocks a multitude of beard oils and balms from brands such as Primal Rituals, JS Sloane, Suavecito and Lambert’s Luscious. Owner Julian Maloney, a barber for more than 20 years, sponsors the NZ Beard & Moustache Competition.
Last year, About Face, an established Auckland chain of clinics, devoted a space to men’s skin care. Clients can relax with a beer, whisky or sparkling water in the new spin-off in Ponsonby, which specialises in skin issues such as shaving irritation, ingrown hairs, redness, red veins and large pores. The clinic primarily uses Ultraceuticals products but also stocks cult local brand Triumph & Disaster. There are facials on offer – for clear skin, the one-hour Cut and Polish includes a softening clinical peel and extractions – as well as treatments such as light therapy and hair reduction.
Top image: Maloney’s Barber Shop
SEE ALSO: One Perfect Day in Auckland