by Mandi Pimental
When Runway decided to highlight five of the hottest salons in the U.S., we looked far and wide to find salons that were not just a hot spot that catered to celebrities or were large-scale in size and grandeur. We looked for character, a reputation for exquisite service and a great story behind these well-known hair artisans. And well, yes, most of these great picks do cater to celebrities and a few of our picks are beautiful and grand in size, they all had that extra definitive sparkle that everyone should look for when choosing the right place to look their best.
Santa Monica, CA
Reigning at the top of Runway's list of the season’s five hottest salons comes Shin. Located in a modest, cottage-sized, 1,600 square foot building on Montana Street in Santa Monica, Shin is anything but your traditional salon. This small sanctuary's facade is warm and inviting, framed in a wood exterior with fiery red accents. Its outer shell hints at the admirable design that envelops you once you walk inside. Shin's owner, Shin An, is a Korean Wisconsin native and her Korean heritage's story is told with sculptures and paintings. Dragons and cherry blossoms are beautifully handcrafted throughout the space. The true beauty of Shin, however, is what takes place once you are in the chair. Shin, known for her “dry-cutting” technique has been artfully transforming client's hair for over 14 years. Being known early on in her career in New York City by Vogue as “the one to watch” before she opened her location in California. An's earned her clients trust in knowing what will look best for them before they even speak a request. Clients become works of art as she skillfully uses her renowned dry-cutting technique to add dimension and volume without product coming into play. Like any true artist, she makes something better and beautiful with the talents and tools she has been given. Cuts and colors both start around $90 respectively. www.shinhair.com/
Ginger Bay Salon and Spa
Town and Country, MO
Located in Town and Country, Missouri you may think this would be your average small town boutique salon. On the contrary, it is everything but. Ginger Bay Salon and Spa is a modern, gorgeous 2,800 square foot space filled with every delicious amenity to make you feel as pampered as possible. An Aveda salon, this spaces neutral backdrop gives a beautiful canvas to the bright colors that pop throughout and the ingenious set up of the flooring colorations and over-all design make the expansive space easy to navigate. This flagship location stands out, not only for their talented styling team, but for their philanthropic endeavors as well. Each team member commits eight hours of personal time to charity work outside of their work schedule and Ginger Bay, as a company, donates over $15,000 a year to local charities. With a staff this large and skilled, clients can be matched to receive the exact cut, color and look they desire. Ginger Bay also set's their stylists on level systems based on expertise to accommodate anyone’s budget. Cuts start at $65 with a master stylist, color starts at $55. www.gingerbay.com
Dolly Rockers Salon & Boutique
Placing third on our list is Dolly Rockers Salon and Boutique. Dolly Rockers shares a home with Runway Magazine headquarters in the Valley of the Sun and tells a story of one girl's dream come true: “To bring out a little dolly, and a little rocker in everyone.” Located in Anthem, AZ, Dolly Rockers Salon is a fun and funky take on an industry that is usually more esthetically neutral in design. Vibrant shades of purple, pink and gold’s, along with exotic prints welcome you as you enter this glam space where punk-inspired stylists, or “dollies”, warmly greet you before they create the look you desire. Owner Michelle Zeller's main goal is to recreate your inner beauty on the outside and she has just the team to do so in what she deems her “hair fortress”. Their cutting-edge approach can help clients step outside their boundaries, take risks, and embrace their inner “doll”. Another element that makes Dolly Rockers standout is their commitment to high quality hair products all of which are paraben- and sulfate-free. Now that's something to rock out about. Haircuts start at just $45.00 and color starting at just $55.00. www.dollhouseempire.com.
Roca Salon and Spa
Kansas City, MO
Two salons from the “Show Me State” have landed on our top five and it is because of their raved-about attention to detail, top rated stylists, and beautiful salon spaces. Roca Salon and Spa in Kansas City, MO was created by two Vidal Sassoon trained stylists, husband and wife team Rod and Rhonda Carver. Their vision was to operate a full service salon using fresh, exotic products after being inspired on a trip to Hawaii. The inspiration can be seen throughout the largest salon on our list. At an impressive 8,300 square feet, you will see the Hawaiian features in the bamboo floor and specialty spa services that are featured. Like Ginger Bay, we give props to this salon for being so charitable. At their grand opening party, they raised over $3,500.00 for a local animal shelter and continue to give generously. Rhonda's vision was to bring a truly decadent salon experience to Kansas City and we believe she has done just that. Haircuts start at a modest $35, with color starting at $75. www.rocasalon.com.
Rounding out our top five picks is in the most talked about state this season, Washington D.C. In the heart of D.C. lies one of the most elegant and beautiful on our list, the regal Corte Salon. Politicos and civilians alike visit Corte to luxuriate in cream leather chairs that sit in front of stations beautifully decorated with Italian charm. White ornate sculptured framing hugs each mirror and sterling silver and glass touches are placed throughout with fresh purple tulips adding color. Sophistication plays a part in not only the setting but in the artistic works of the stylist at well. Founded and run by Carlos Perina, Corte is a one-person studio and his is a reputation for attention to detail. This attention to customer satisfaction in getting the perfect cut, color and style is what solidified Corte's final spot on our list. Cuts start at $85 with color starting at $100. www.cortesalon.com.
by Mandi Pimental
When you walk into Craftsteak, a steakhouse recently named one of the top 10 newest hot spots in Las Vegas situated inside the MGM Grand Hotel, your senses are immediately awestruck. You’ve entered a beautiful place that is grand in size without being pretentious. The same can be said for the expansive menu.
“Top Chef’s” Tom Colicchio opened Craftsteak this year with the mindset of simplicity and purity. Colicchio created his menus incorporating items from local family farms and fresh food is hard to come by on the strip. Colicchio, residing as head chef on every season of Top Chef since 2006, has been the recipient of five James Beard Foundation Medals for cooking accomplishments. He also was a volunteer serving food to the rescue workers outside of Ground Zero after the September 11th attacks in New York City. After a successful run opening restaurants in Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Connecticut and South Carolina under the Colicchio & Sons umbrella, Craftsteak is the latest to join the family and gives Las Vegas a taste of excellence.
The ambience of Craftsteak is alluring and dark, wood panels cover most of the 250-seat interior while exposed Edison bulbs hang from wood planks casting a warm yellow glow throughout the space. Decorated with rich tones in leather, metal and wood, a relaxed masculinity is felt throughout. Bare wood tables and branches in large, dark vases hint at the overall purity Colicchio is trying to articulate through the craftsmanship of his latest culinary endeavor.
Contemporary, yet casual, one doesn’t need to be fancy to dine at Craftsteak. Upscale, it may be but you can leave your gown and tuxedos home. Business casual is recommended for this chic eatery, so leave the flip-flops by the pool.
As for the food, once a sliver of the Kobe skirt steak hits your taste buds your attention will no longer be on the look of the room, instead your senses will shift to taste and smell. The purest ingredients are used in dishes such as the bacon and gruyere cheese grits, thyme and mustard seed turnips, or the garlic oil baby spinach. And those are just a few members of the entourage to the main stars of the menu. Craftsteak is known for its beef, it is after all in the name, and you may order it however you wish. Not one to over-shadow his stars with fancy sauces that may take away from the true flavor, the choices are still extensive. You have the options of grilled, braised or roasted. You may choose where your meat has traveled from, New York, Idaho or from way down-under in Australia. Sizes range from six to a whopping thirty-two ounces and the signature selection in keeping true to the pure message Craftsteak is trying to put forth, you may choose if your beef was corn-fed or grass-fed. With that many options fifty-six dollars no longer sounds steep for a nearly handpicked filet mignon.
If you are not a meat lover, fear not. Craftsteak offers delicious seafood choices including lobster bisque, shaved fennel sea scallops or a two and half pound lobster entrée. Vegetarians can enjoy the wide array of salads, the port wine and pear Market spinach salad is especially wonderful with its farm fresh ingredients. The mushroom assortment is also a great option.
Not forgetting dessert, the must-try item is Craftsteaks chocolate soufflé topped with espresso ice cream & creamy caramel sauce. A decadent ending to a meal in sin city. And while you are splurging, during your meal you can sip on a rare wine that usually doesn’t make its way far from its California wine. The Ghost Horse label is available at the eatery and can fetch up to $5,000 for a bottle of this elusive wine.
Visit www.mgmgrand.com for more information or to make a reservation.
by Mandi Pimental
Walk into The Mint and you are in the presence of money. Literally. Now an expansive, ornate, seven-thousand square foot restaurant and ultra-lounge, it was once home to a traditional bank, hence earning the lavish establishment its current moniker.
Keeping true to its history and having been designed around the banks original vault, the space evokes an old Hollywood feel. Rich, dark woods and fireplaces are placed throughout, set off by a well-planned lighting set-up that changes the ambiance from dinner to nightclub in the right spaces throughout the evening. Pop and house music by resident DJ, DJ Design, bring the lounge to life.
One of the most interesting pieces of design to note was not the beautiful and expansive thirty-foot bar that is situated inside the nightclub, although impressive, it was the more talked about champagne bar that sits inside the co-ed bathroom. So if any of the ladies or gentleman need a drink refresher while mingling in the long line for the bathroom you need to look no further than the champagne bar. A truly interesting idea, the original, refreshing touches such as these keep a jewel like the Mint on the radar.
Having just celebrated its one-year anniversary with their clever “Heist” party on June twenty-second, this popular hotspot was in full swing. Patrons could pose with classic photos of Marilyn Monroe on the red carpet and additional touches of old Hollywood were highlighted throughout the evening and DJ Design provided the music until close. Having earned its title as one of the hottest, and most glamorous, lounges in Scottsdale, The Mint is in full swing at any event that is happening inside, and outside, their doors. The expansive patio is one of the largest for a nightlife venue. Having previous success with his former endeavors, Sandbar and RnR, Dean Slover is a conceptual genius when it comes to placing the right additions in town that Scottsdale partygoers are looking for.
If a fantastic meal is what you are seeing, look no further than The Mint. The restaurants elegant menu, by master chef Johnny Chu, is Asian inspired and offers mouth-watering options from appetizers to dessert. An appetizer, such as the traditional edamame, is a dish that is taken to the next level by being paired perfectly with truffle butter and sea salt. Entrees include Chu’s Sugar Cane Pork, marinated in a pineapple ginger sauce, and the Spicy Saigon vegetarian dish for the herbivores who dine. The dessert menu offerings are equally delectable, showcasing the Japanese Green Tea Cheesecake and Goat Cheese Wontons, keeping with the menus theme. For a truly special experience, indulge in the Sunday Brunch from noon until four on Sunday afternoons. Appropriately titled the 24K Bruch, it features items such as Crème Brulee Oatmeal that can be paired with a fresh white peach Bellini, or their divine Nutella French Toast.
If the perfect cocktail is what you have in mind, the drink menu cleverly ties into the bank theme showcasing drinks such as the Dirty Money martini and Liquid Gold cocktail options.
If you are just simply looking for an exceptional dining or nightlife experience, make plans to visit the Mint. That is advice you can take to the bank.