Bests of Mirror Mirror

Over the past few years, I have covered day spas in the “mirror mirror” column, writing about my personal experiences at many Long Island establishments. I guess you could say I get around. So, I feel I can say with some conviction that I know quality when it comes to these havens of serenity and beauty. Happily, most of these establishments employ skilled, talented professionals, but I am not without my favorites. I thought it was time to share some of them with you.

Best Hair Salon—Robert James Salon, Riverhead
For my very first column back in the fall of 2006, I sampled hair extensions at this salon. Owner Ray Pickersgille focuses on customer service with his personable and talented technicians and hair stylists. He keeps his staff up to date on the latest cutting-edge techniques with weekly classes. They specialize in an amazing Keratin Treatment that transforms frizzy hair into bouncy, shiny locks, and pretty much everything they offer is top quality. I love the atmosphere—you are greeted like an old friend and treated like a queen. Great people, excellent service and talented stylists equal my favorite hair salon.

Best Holistic Spa—Beautiful You Center for Healing Arts, Southampton
The stunningly beautiful center is designed in a combination of European and Eastern influences. Founder Geomare Aviles partners with those who offer a variety of services that focus on a holistic approach to beauty, including Reiki, Release and Balance chiropractic, hypno-therapy, meditation and feng shui. And then there is her life-changing healing 90-minute facial. Geomare uses energy healing work and restorative skin care which left my entire being in a state of deep relaxation, and my skin was luminous. Certified Reiki Master Karen Ferraro has the most intuitive hands I’ve ever experienced, and a session with her left me refreshed and with significantly less back pain. You haven’t lived until you’ve had Karen and Geomare work their magic on you.

Best Medi-Spa—Spa Belle Meade
This beautifully appointed spa often serves support and alternative treatments to patients of the Suffolk Plastic Surgeons, which is adjacent to the spa. “Medi-spas” offer advanced skin care treatments not usually found in regular day spas. I had a Lactic Acid Peel, which exfoliates while moisturizing and regulating PH balance. After a neutralizer and moisturizing masque, fine lines were quite visibly diminished. Talk about one-stop shopping—you can get a filler or Botox and a facial or peel all in the same place! They also offer everything from body wraps, waxing and massage to Thermage, Refirme, and acne therapy.

Most Unique Setting/Best Massage—Drew Patrick Spa
As day spas go, you can’t get any more unusual than this one occupying a former bank. In addition to offering the usual spa services, they have a fitness room where you can opt for pilates and yoga. The lobby houses the Main Street Coffee Company café and a boutique with a wide array of distinctive retail items, from t-shirts to dog beds to exquisite fine art. There is even a bakery, which supplies fresh baked goods for the café, in the basement’s former safe deposit box area. The real treasure here, for me, was an amazing deep tissue massage that reminded me just what “hurt so good” really means.

Best luxury spa—Rudolfo Valentin, Cedarhurst
Walking into Rudolfo Valentin’s, I had the feeling I was stepping back in time into a European villa. No bustling salon here, with its stone columns and lustrous wood furniture. Indeed, it appeared I was one of only a few clients, until I realized later that some magical veil seemed to camouflage all the others. It wasn’t magic, of course, but simply a brilliantly executed floor plan. In the upstairs retreat, I sipped strawberry infused ice-water and enjoyed the soothing sounds of a waterfall while relaxing in a plush robe on a comfortable lounge chair. A supporter of breast cancer research, Valentin also offers 50% off salon services, including styling, coloring, highlighting and his original “hair infusion” lengthening process, upon receipt of a recent mammogram. The old world charm and beauty combined with pampered serenity makes this one of the most luxurious spas on Long Island.

Best anti-aging facial—Gurney’s Sea Water Spa, Montauk
What can be more luxurious than a spa by the sea? With a wide wall of windows overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, seawater Roman baths, Finnish rock saunas, Russian steam rooms and Swiss showers, this spa has it all, including the most comfortable facial beds in the world. While lying on the soft and cushiony surface, my knees were bent slightly and above my head. The regional training director for emerginC had just completed training the spa’s aestheticians on how to give the distinctive emerginC signature facial, and I was fortunate to have her work her magic on me. My skin literally glowed for days afterwards, to the extent that numerous people commented.

toni munna

Toni Munna is a native Long Islander who is always on the lookout for products that fulfill their promise to firm, hydrate, slim, soothe, de-wrinkle, plump, relax, de-stress, and just generally make you look and feel better. She a firm believer that wellness enhances beauty and has been testing beauty products and reviewing spas for you since the fall of 2006. You can reach her with questions at