Renée’s our go-to esthetician because she’s a skin care connoisseur, not a glorified face masseuse. Her product line caters to nine skin types (rather than the typical four), which makes our beauty routine personal and results oriented. A trip to the spa is pricey but worth the education; she’s always happy to spill an earful of skin care secrets. And buying products feels surprisingly worth it. They smell exotic and actually work.
Readers’ pick: Pure Skin Therapy
Best Day Spa
The Ritz-Carlton Dallas Spa
What other spas attempt to do, the Ritz-Carlton Dallas Spa executes to perfection. The staff is more attentive, treatment rooms are actually soothing (not cheesy), and massage beds are made with polyester-blend sheets. Small details count, too. Robes are plush, glasses of water are served spiked with fresh fruit, and complimentary mini tubs of body scrub are stacked by the showers. The Dean’s Margarita Salt Glow is 80 minutes of magic.
Readers’ pick: The Spa at the Crescent
Wink Threading Salon
Nothing beats the clean, perfectly arched brow-job you can get here for $12. We can’t tell you it’s painless, but the process is quick. If a chair’s open, you can be in and out in less than 10 minutes. Plus, the West Village space is chic, featuring clean stations stocked with antibacterial thread, a skilled team of threaders, and friendly owner Keyur Patel, who checks everyone in every day.
Readers’ pick: Cindy DiMaggio at Salon Boutique
Best Sunless Tanning
Salas Sunless Airbrush Tanning
We’ve baked, Mysticed, and used the lotions at home, but nothing compares to this organic airbrush tan. (Yes, organic.) Formulas are mixed to complement the skin tone and eye and hair color of each person who walks in the door. It helps, too, that the staff is friendly when you’re standing in front of them naked.
Readers’ pick: Spa Nordstrom
Best Hair Salon
Johnny Rodriguez the Salon
Johnny Rodriguez genuinely cares about the potential of every customer’s tresses. New clients get complimentary treatments, and products range from ultra-expensive Phillip B to newly reformulated (and affordable) Sebastian. The new Blow Dry Bar features a menu of blowouts, and classes are offered so clients can learn to create those styles at home.
Readers’ pick: Aalam the Salon
Waxing the City
A quick brow shaping at the local nail salon is convenient, but when you’re ready to have the hair ripped from more, shall we say, sensitive areas, you want experts. Waxing the City’s technicians are highly trained and use the salon’s own brand of azulene wax called Cerazule. Clients have three price options, and we also like the no-tipping policy.
Readers’ pick: Bliss Dallas
This small shop has been designing custom frames since 1990. Owner Leigh Ann Williams has an eye for surrounding your child’s first paint-by-number canvas or your recently acquired Jackson Pollock with a complementary frame. The shop specializes in custom frames such as maple or walnut archival, white-white finish on maple, and white lacquer, and all frames are cut, stained, finished, and joined on-site. You’ve probably seen some of its work hanging in the DMA, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and the Meadows Museum. 501 South 2nd Ave. 214-824-2400.
Readers’ pick: Mann’s Art & Frame
Best Pet Groomer
The Pooch Patio
Where else can you go to get your dog groomed and sip on a beer while you wait? That convenience alone could win an award. But the customer service we’ve received also sets the Pooch Patio apart. The groomers will stay two hours late just to make sure your dog with an obnoxious amount of hair gets dry. Even better, if you’d like to relax with your pup on the patio and have some food delivered, they’re cool with that.
Readers’ pick: Rover Sleep Over
Urban Flower at Grange Hall
This Knox-Henderson shop draws those who love their fashionable furnishings with a dash of whimsy and the macabre. Think jewel-encrusted skulls and gilded antelope busts. Likewise, its floral designs are chic yet offbeat: succulents, orchids, and cut flowers that avoid the typical carnation and rose cliches. Go here for the wonderfully weird and memorable, shop no further.
Readers’ pick: Dr. Delphinium Designs & Events
Katy Trail Animal Hospital
There is personality and a sense of humor here, a rare characteristic for a hospital of any kind. Pets are treated as patients, not possessions. Owners get first-appointment photographs of new pets, and doctors take the time to either call or send notes after initial visits. Plus, doctors work closely with alternative practitioners specializing in acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic treatments.
Readers’ pick: City Veterinary Center
Best Shoe Repair
Deno’s of Highland Park
If you ask anyone around town where to go to get your shoes repaired, they’ll say Deno’s. But the store will also take care of your not-so-expensive shoes, your about-to-be-thrown-away shoes, and even your purses (really, they’ll take care of just about anything you need repaired). And the customer service is always impeccable. We wouldn’t trust our little red soles to anyone else. 62 Highland Park Village. 214-521-1070.
Readers’ pick: Deno’s of Highland Park
Kudos to Karmany for being the only donation-based yoga studio in town. Students simply pay what they can per class (anonymously, so there’s no pressure). The admirable instructors, willing to work for donations, believe this ancient discipline should be available to everyone, despite fitness or salary. Daily classes range from power yoga to Iyengar, and the practice room—with its picture window and high ceilings—is cheerful and inviting.
Readers’ pick: Sunstone Yoga
Best Fitness Program
Campers are fiercely loyal to this program; after attending, we understand why. Few fitness programs can make you feel so motivated you want to sign up for the rest of your life. Trainers are professional, fun, and work to know the names of campers, so personal encouragement is shouted out regularly. Every workout changes, so there’s no monotony. Sessions are offered from 5:30 am to 7:30 pm all over DFW. Various locations.
Readers’ pick: Camp Gladiator
Best Auto Mechanic
Lord of the Rings Audi and VW
Lord of the Rings services only Audis (and Volkswagens). Get it? We know. Very dorky. Which is exactly how we prefer our mechanics. Bob Mullen has owned his shop since 1968 (he’s worked on our cars for a decade). Mullen is the kind of guy who will find three things wrong with your A6—and tell you which one you can ignore. Besides being dorky, he’s honest, and his shop does great work. 13700 Gamma Rd., Farmers Branch. 972-387-5788.
Readers’ pick: Lovers Lane European Automotive
Best Car Wash
Frank Meneghetti founded Wave Wash in 1997 with the idea that customers want quality, speed, and value. Though the Superworks ($15) is great for just that, we prefer the detail services Wave Wash offers. They take more time, but every second is worth it. Our car looks like it did the day we drove it off the lot. Also, at Wave Wash, dogs get biscuits, kids get lollipops, and policemen get free car washes. 4616 Greenville Ave. 214-739-9116.
Readers’ pick: Vintage Car Wash
Best Dry Cleaner
DD French Cleaners
Owner Shirley Reichstadt says she was “born in a laundry basket” and has spent the rest of her life perfecting her craft. Her father founded DD French Cleaners in 1959. We trust the folks here to get out the most stubborn stains. The employees are all artists, and their pride in their work is evident. “It’s a good day when you can save something,” Reichstadt says. 4131 Lomo Alto Dr. 214-521-5631.
Readers’ pick: Bibbentuckers
Best Pet Boarder
Wüf Pet Resort and Spa
We love Wüf Pet Resort and Spa because the owners love our pets and our pets in turn love us, especially when we set them up in one of four suites offered at Wüf. With pillow-top beds, flat-screen TVs, webcams, and a little privacy, the suites are a perfect place for our pet to live its diva dreams. We also like that the resort offers play therapists. 3417 E. John Carpenter Fwy., Irving. 972-785-2983.
Readers’ pick: The Dog Lofts
Best Bike Mechanic
Dallas Bike Works
The larger, better-known Richardson Bike Mart has more mechanics, but we’re partial to the homier Dallas Bike Works, which opened its second location earlier this year in a former topless bar north of White Rock Lake. Plus, the store sits across Lawther from the White Rock Creek Trail, which provides the ideal area for test rides. Owner Boyd Wallace has plans for a patio cafe as soon as he finds the right subcontractor to run it. 6780 Abrams Rd., Ste. 107. 214-341-8921; 4875 W. Lawther Dr. 214-343-2453.
Readers’ pick: Richardson Bike Mart
Don’t be put off by Foot Joy’s humdrum façade or flashy neon sign. Shiatsu-style massages at ridiculously low prices make this unexpected haven heaven. The Special, a 45-minute foot massage and 15-minute body rub, is a deal at $29.99. Appointments aren’t necessary, and massages are performed fully clothed, so stopping in on a whim is hassle free. The Ritz-Carlton it is not. But it is clean and comfy—and worth missing out on the cushy robe.
Readers’ pick: Ritz-Carlton Dallas Spa
Though the seamstresses at Unique can do magic on just about any garment for a reasonable price, the real trick is how they manage to shorten jeans while retaining the original hem. Even better, they can do it in just one hour. For $4.99. But nothing worthwhile comes without sacrifice. You’ll most likely have to wait in line, and parking can be tricky. 5620 E. Mockingbird Ln. 214-824-5678.
Readers’ pick: Unique Tailor
Zen Luxury Nail and Beauty Bar
Sure, any nail salon can do a decent pedicure. But not just any nail salon’s pedicure service is provided in a tranquil room (no cell phones allowed), with comfy reclining leather chairs, hot neck wraps, and soft eye masks. Instead of noisy water tubs, feet are soaked in large bowls filled with trickling water. And if that isn’t enough, even the basic Signature pedicure includes a lengthy lower leg and foot rub.
Readers’ pick: Pampered Soles