Stepping into agua Spa at Mondrian South Beach is like stepping into a canvas: white walls surround white furniture upon white floors. The heat and bustle of the outside world disperses into 4,000 square feet of wide-open spaces. Then a splash of color catches the eye and it becomes apparent that Dutch designer Marcel Wanders didn't leave his canvas bare at all. Speckled throughout are surprisingly fun accents?plants, leaf-green tiles, and entire rooms soaked in lipstick red.
But relaxation is the key at agua Spa. Inside six private rooms, guests enjoy a range of services, from revitalizing facials that use chardonnay grape peels to detoxifying body scrubs with a touch of lavender. And many of these treatments rely on SJAL products?a line used by only a handful of spas across the nation. Yet the certified aestheticians don't just stop at the surface. To ease away worries that the IRS won't believe your dog ate your tax forms, therapists work through nine massage modalities, including their signature Swe-Thai: a blend of Swedish soft strokes and Thai-style joint stretching. Afterwards, guests can head into the adjoining 4.5-star Mondrian South Beach hotel for a dip in the pool.
Even as a child, Gustavo Briand's fascination with hairstyling was so strong, he was willing to get into trouble for it. In the years since he lopped off the locks of his sister and all of her dolls, he's gained enough fans to outweigh any early disapproval his passion encountered. Those fans tend to be highly visible: a lifelong lover of the arts, he's styled a long list of opera stars, prepped heads for the red carpet at London Fashion Week, and performed pro-bono work for the Florida Grand Opera, the Miami City Ballet, and the Miami Symphony Orchestra.
In his home studio, Briand and his team draw from a service menu spiked with innovative techniques. Ionic infrared technology leaves blowouts smooth but not overly dry, Davines and Sojourn shampoos and conditioners are specially formulated to restore dehydrated hair, and hair extensions are applied with a minute "lock-and-key" system that requires no adhesives, duct tape, or other potentially damaging techniques.
The skilled professionals at Miami Tattoo Lounge know that their art can change lives—after all, their canvases are the clients themselves. Respecting that fact, they put their customers' wants first as they decorate patrons' forms with artful piercing and custom tattoos.
The shop's resident artists draw from a wide range of training, skills, and experiences while collaborating on and creating their permanent works of art. Joseph Casal specializes in biomechanical creations, Horacio Montes nods to Mexican muralists with his surreal dreamscapes, and Rue McLean pauses a globetrotting career encompassing Amsterdam and Aruba to ink and pierce. Resident guest artist Victor Rodriguez works alongside the trio, practicing a craft that emphasizes bright, vibrant colors and realistic designs. The staff's collective portfolio showcases designs ranging from full-sleeve decorations to old-school adornments of dragons, skulls, and freshman locker combinations.
A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas—its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries—Planet Beach Contempo Spa is a futuristic relaxation station where state-of-the-art machines administer all the spa and tanning services. These friendly automatons sometimes replace familiar treatments, as in the Luminous facial, a light-based service that delivers blemish-busting results similar to those of a conventional facial. But other equipment maps out new spa territory entirely: the Hydro-Derma Fusion chamber moisturizes the whole body with nutrient-rich steam in order to offset the effects of a dry climate or a rear-end collision with a salt truck. Other machines whiten teeth, spray tan skin, and massage muscles.
Planet Beach operates on a gym-style membership system, meaning that members purchase packages or pay flat monthly rates. As members spend more time at the spa, they get to know the helpful assistants who are always on hand to demonstrate how to use the equipment without activating its ability to cry.
The team at Nails 111 believes in "good, clean fun," combining a health-conscious philosophy with a charming, shabby-chic ambiance. Antique-style tables and chairs, chandeliers, and lilac walls create an 18th-century-parlor vibe as nail techs wash and sanitize hands and set aside an individual spa kit for each guest. They wear latex gloves upon request and eschew spa chairs and whirlpool-type footbaths in favor of disposable pedicure tub liners. The crew decorates nails with Essie, OPI, or Shellac polish and also performs sleek blowouts and straightening treatments at the Blow and Go hair bar.
The salon was created by internationally trained beauty expert and Lima, Peru, native Marizza Contreras and Miami native Jonathan Nussbaum, who was inspired by a girlfriend's frustration the lack of nail salons open after 7 p.m. Nails 111 staffers refine digits until 9 p.m. Monday–Saturday, making late-night manicures possible for owls wishing to impress their prey.
Owner Gaston Safar opened his first Safar salon in Boston in his early 20s to showcase his gift for styling hair, which he honed at a young age in his parents’ salon in France. In 1998, he created a sister salon, Acote Salon, and today, the Safar family has extended their salon empire with the newest addition in Miami Beach, a second Safar. Safar shares his European style with an experienced team of international professionals who have trained with such companies as L'Oréal Paris, Aveda, and Vidal Sassoon and showcased their work in fashion shows and magazines. Italian marble flanks walnut-wood accents and floor-to-ceiling mirrors inside the elegant beauty salon. Inside, nail services spruce up fingers and toes and waxing treatments remove unwanted body hair. An outdoor rooftop terrace hosts yoga classes and provides the proper space to dramatically show off new hairstyles in the wind.