It was the day before Mother’s Day and I was in for a special treat. Billed as a “day of beauty,” I had a five-hour block reserved at Hair, Heart & Soul. But in true me form, the hours leading up to this beauty extravaganza were far from relaxing. My husband woke me up that morning with news that his mother was coming for dinner. So I quickly got dressed and dashed to the market. I rushed like crazy, but still arrived 15 minutes late to the Bristol spa. I was disheveled to say the least. I walked in and apologized for my tardiness. “Don’t worry!” a woman at the front desk exclaimed. “Just sit down and relax.” Oh that’s right; the rest of my day was about to get excessively better.
First stop on the beauty train was a facial with Lori, the house esthetician. As we walked up a flight to her space she echoed what every specialist would say that day: “you’ve got an amazing day planned.” I ask for the most popular facial, the 5 Star LHE Photofacial, a luscious and aromatic treatment that uses microdermabrasion to diminish fine lines and pore size. “You’ll notice your skincare products will sink deeper in your skin,” Lori explains. They sure did – so much so that I used about a quarter of my normal amount of moisturizer for weeks later. Amazing skin? Check.
Next on my agenda was a massage with Chrissy. Customized massages, blending a variety of techniques to best meet the client’s body needs, are an HHS specialty. Chrissy combined elements of a Swedish massage (long and slow strokes) with a deep tissue one (working through my problem areas). By the time she stepped out to let the reflexologist in I was floating. It was my first time, and Dee pulled and pressed on my feet with a soothing rhythm. Relaxed? Check, check.
It was lunchtime, and my veggie burger with fries was next on my to-do list. The spa works with neighboring restaurant Leo’s to treat clients to lunch during long treatments, and a spa-inspired menu is in the works. I’m dining in a cozy nook by a fireplace when owner Sarah Redman comes to greet me. Big-eyed with an equally big smile, Sarah is still pinching herself. It’s been a year since her salon moved from State to Hope Street, adding two floors and expansive spa services. Her story is nothing short of remarkable: gutting her triple-decker home to make way for her dream spa. With a supportive husband and a staff that would follow her anywhere, she built a house of beauty... and soul “It’s all about how you feel inside,” she says. “We want to make you feel beautiful in and out.”
Her vision for holistic beauty is way beyond the salon’s name. It’s a mantra she wants each client to experience in her thoughtfully laid-out empire. The first floor holds the hair salon and boutique area (think Alex & Ani jewelry and fun accessories). The second floor is the “heart” of HHS, the skin and body service areas such as massage, facials and spray tanning. The top level is the “soul” – intimate private rooms for bridal and girls night out events.
Speaking of being cozy, I was in my third plus hour and settling in Sarah’s stylist chair for a blow out. Around me were chatty clients and stylists, laughing and swapping stories. With my finely coiffed hair, I was off to the last stop of the day with Shannon in nails – a private room with two stations. I pick two colors, sat back and enjoyed the final moments of my day of beauty. Going to a fancy spa or salon can be intimidating. When it comes down to it, you not only want to look good when you leave, but you also want to feel good about the experience. The down-to-earth staff at HHS has the uncanny ability to make you feel truly welcome, like your part of some special club. Feeling beautiful in and out? Check.