London’s bespoke hidden gems

There are not many hair salons that have a porter greet you at the door, but then Rossano Ferretti is not your average salon. In fact it doesn’t even call itself a salon, but adopts the label “hairspa”. This is not meant to be your usual run of the mill trip to the hairdresser. Number 17 St George Street is the new home of the eponymous Italian hairdresser. Rossano endeavours to bring you a new luxurious lifestyle experience, where you and your hair are totally taken care of.

There is no shop door, simply look for the gorgeous male model standing outside, who welcomes you in. Set in the beautiful old Fabergé building, with original Fabergé chandeliers and wrought iron staircases, the spa is one of minimalism, with sparse black and cream interiors. Upstairs sit three large private rooms, ideal for Rossano’s celebrity clients, who require discretion, whilst a private treatment room creates an idyllic space for rest and relaxation.

Having worked for years on the best fashion editorials and catwalks, alongside all the biggest names, he has retired from that world to set up a line of luxurious salons, situated in the most glamorous locations around the world. Rossano, a stylish and charismatic man, warmly greets me in Italian: I, embarrassingly, reply in Spanish.

He tells me of “the method”, his revolutionary technique of cutting, which works with the natural “fall” of the hair. He tries to avoid the “just cut” look, instead giving the impression that one has simply been born with “good genes”. Rossano is so dedicated to this technique he has created his own razored scissors, which create a softer, more textured look. For Rossano, hairdressing is not just a job, he says: “Hairdressing is a craft – we believe it is time we returned to creating beauty, with total respect for the hair.” This is conveyed as he gesticulates wildly, waving the scissors dangerously close to my hair. And as a pile of it falls onto my lap, I am scared. Always daunted by a trip to the hairdresser, and often accustomed to quietly crying in the toilets afterwards, I expect the worse – I shouldn’t have. With clients such as Angelina Jolie and Nicole Kidman, this man knows what he’s doing. The results are beautiful, even if I say so myself. I spend the rest of the day happily examining myself in shop windows and swishing my hair around, as if starring in a L’Oreal advert.

Rossano is something special. Not content with just serving the standard tea and coffee, clients are offered wine and cheese, handpicked by Rossano himself and imported all the way from Italy. I even saw a woman having a fully cooked meal while working on one of their many iPads and watching TV. This wasn’t an inconvenience for the staff, they didn’t demand that she get back in her chair; they simply worked around her.

Surprisingly, there are not many mirrors, or even hairdressing stations. In the 5,500 square feet, sit only 14 chairs. Rossano tells me profit is not important, it is making people feel beautiful that truly matters. Being beautiful, though, comes at a price: “the method” cut starts at £140 and can cost £600 in Rossano’s own hands. This, for many, may seem a little steep; Rossano would argue that you can’t put a price on feeling good.

Where: 17 St George Street, Mayfair, W1S 1FJ

The clients: Michelle Pfeiffer, Linda Evangelista and Lady Gaga

Jo Hansford Colourist extroadinaire
Located in the heart of Mayfair, Jo Hansford has become regarded as one of the best colourists in London. Its creator’s reputation, as the leading authority in hair colour is widespread; she stands as a judge on the L’Oreal colour trophy awards and has been awarded an MBE for her services to the industry. Jo has also developed her own colour care range, created with a careful blend of ingredients and vitamins, these, like her salon, have become a favourite among her celebrity clients. The Mayfair salon is not only known for its dedication to colour but has a team of leading hairdressers. Beauty treatments are also available, as is an extensive menu of snacks, which is created by its in-house chef Tony.

Where: 48 South Audley Street, Mayfair, W1K 2QB

The clients: Yasmin Le Bon, Georgia Jagger and HRH Duchess of Cornwall

Murdock London Male grooming haven
Men are completely catered for at Murdock London. Located around the capital, its stores lean towards male clients, unlike other more feminine unisex salons. These barbers provide grooming treatments like the luxury wet shave, and supply a wide range of male products and accessories. Its collections focus on quality and are produced to the highest standards. Its products include ranges for hair, skin, face, shaving and fragrances. Stylish and masculine, Murdock offers the perfect place for relaxation and encourages men to develop a better relationship with their barber, which they see this as vital to the progression of male grooming. Murdock has become the primary destination for the modern-man-about-town.

Where: Stores are located in Soho, Shoreditch, Covent Garden and Mayfair

The clients: Alex Turner, Oliver Sim and Mark Gatiss

Simon Thérapie The skin specialist
Those wanting to turn back the clocks of time, without going under the knife have found a solution in Dr Veronique Simon. Practising cosmetic beauty, she sculpts people’s faces without the dangers of surgery. In her elegant Belgravia clinic, Simon supplies a range of mesotherapy, blood platelet renovations and provides a bespoke facial named the “Rejuvenator”, which leaves skin looking youthful for up to six months. The natural combination of ingredients she uses in her treatments are aimed to enhance the contours of the face, creating beautifully hydrated, plumped skin. A wide range of products allows you to create younger looking skin at home.

Where: 9A, West Halkin Street, SW1X 8JL

The clients: Catherine Deneuve, Charlotte Rampling and Isabelle Adjani

Strip Boutique waxing
Strip has become known as one of the top hair removal specialists in London. Founded by sisters Maria-Louise Featherstone and Danielle Featherstone-Price, the salon serves those looking for a more bespoke, luxurious environment. Set in uber cool interiors, treatments include waxing, spray tanning, eyebrow threading and laser hair removal. Pampering products for skin from high-end brands make this experience feel like a treat rather than a chore. Beautiful lingerie labels Stella McCartney, Cosabella and Elle MacPherson intimates, are on sale, as are Claudette & Bjorn Borg for men.

Where: Salons are located in Chelsea, Notting Hill, Soho and the City.

The clients: Rosie Huntingdon-Whitley, Sienna Miller and Emily Blunt