Tried and Tested: Winter Glow package at The Salon at The Shelbourne Hotel
Regardless of the treatments on offer, I believe every salon should have one thing in common: you leave feeling great about yourself. It may sound obvious but in my experience, only an elite group of salons can be relied upon to provide that service every time.
I'm not too keen on getting blow-drys. I've often left the hair salon and headed straight home to flatten the 80's style bouffant that is my 'voluminous' blow-dry. The same goes for make-up applications. The final results are either too lacklustre or too severe. I usually have to nip into Boots to grab a packet of make-up wipes to dab away the smoke from the 'smoke-y eye' before I'm ready to face anyone I know.
There's usually something missing. I could never put my finger on it but now, after visiting The Salon at The Shelbourne Hotel, I realise what was lacking from other salon experiences... gin, cushions and stylists who really listen to you.
After a particularly stressful day I treated myself to the salon's new Winter Glow package. It includes a make-up application, a buff and polish manicure, and a blow-dry or upstyle.
You're treated to a Hendrick’s Gin and tonic served in a vintage-style teapot. It's infused with blackberries and cucumber so it looks pretty too. One pot contains about five teacups so needless to say you feel slightly merry when leaving the salon.
The impeccably designed space might just be one of the cosiest salons I've ever been to. It's all elegant creams and florals. The chairs are plumped out with thick cushions, so you don't need to worry about a bruised neck while your hair is being washed.
Despite the five-star hotel name, there is nothing intimidating about the Salon at the Shelbourne Hotel. The staff are warm, friendly and, best of all, they really listen to clients' requests.
It was with trepidation that I agreed to a blow dry but I explained to the stylist that I don't like "too much poof". She understand exactly what I meant and I was left with sleek hair that had just the right amount of lift at the roots. My short and sad nails were transformed with Essie gel polish and the manicurist's patience (a week later they still haven't chipped).
Using a variety of products from Elemis, Armani, Make-Up Forever and Mac, my make-up artist Maria listened to my concerns: "No heavy contour, I don't really like the whole nude lip and dark smoke-y eye combo, nothing too heavy... natural but also dramatic. Slightly."
Despite my conflicting instructions Maria made it work. When she handed me the mirror I gave out a little gasp. It was better than I imagined. It was me but more glamorous. A more 'put together' version of me. I prayed that I'd leave the salon and bump into every person I'd ever known.
I'm a salon convert now. It wasn't just the gin and cushions. It was the results. The overall experience. The playlist helped too and really got me in the mood for my big night out. I was giddy on gin and great service, listening to everything from Mariah to Whitney and All Saints.
The Winter Glow package is available from Sunday to Thursday from €109.00 per person and on Friday and Saturday from €119.00 per person. Perfect as a last-minute gift for that impossibly fancy friend who's hard to please.