What’s the best way to spend St. Patrick’s Day? Why, at a salon and spa, of course! Maria Bonita Salon & Spa at 12 Prince Street in Manhattan, helped clients and editors party and look pretty, and celebrate the green, without spending a lot of it. The atmosphere was cheerful, with green mardi gras beads, and delicious Caipirinhas with Leblon Cachaca, snacks and the sounds of bossa nova) and of course, the special of the day was the “Luck of the Iris” package consisting of a great blow-out plus a 3-step manicure, all for $59.00 —who could resist?
Although the party atmosphere isn’t turned up quite so high most days, the salon is an accessible, easy and reasonably affordable place to pamper yourself, be it a manicure, pedicure, blow-out, style or waxing of various parts (this is what Maria Bonita is particularly known for…she’s Brazilian, after all)!
The emphasis is on personal service, not on uptown decor. The pedicure area, for example, featured a large banquette instead of those clinical (and ugly) vibrating chairs you see in so many salons. It’s clubby, it’s chummy, and it’s fun to be there. Everyone is friendly, and smiling. Even if you’ve had a bad day, the vibe is happy and upbeat. You’re sure to feel better when you leave, and look better, too!
My stylist, Roger, charmed me with his lighthearted manner, infectious laugh, and the words: “your hair is really easy” (to blow out). I’ve never heard that before from any stylist, usually they grumble I’ve got too much hair and it takes too long. Roger told me that he had worked on 57th street and decided to go back to Brazil, but was lured into the Maria Bonita salon and has been there 6 years. “All I’ve ever wanted to do was hair”, he said, “nothing else.” Instead of the usual turned under style I usually get, Roger suggested flipping the ends up…..sexier, and more upbeat, wouldn’t you say?
The manicure, expertly done by Maria (who also does waxing), wasn’t the Maria Bonita 3-Step (manicure with scrub and masque that I had expected, but it was a thorough and pleasant traditional manicure. Days later, it’s still intact and I actually got some unsolicited comments on how nice my hands looked and another event for beauty editors, later in the week.
A woman sitting next to me said she comes to the salon often, mostly for waxing, but whatever you’re there for, you’ll feel comfortable, even as a newbie. Maria Fernanda Lacerda, whose family is in the cosmetics industry in Brazil, told me that she knew she’d be in the beauty industry. She selected Prince Street because it is centrally located between Soho and NoLita. Her infectious smile and easy manner, and the way she stopped to talk to patrons as if they were old friends (maybe some were, but she made me feel very welcome and I’m a first-timer), felt comfy, like the way old-fashioned neighborhood salons used to be. The difference is that staff and chic patrons don’t look a thing like the “grandmas and moms” I remember when my mother visited a salon. And, although the salon has a neighborhood feel, my stylist, Roger, told me that his clients come from everywhere–from as far away as New Jersey and Long Island and Boston, and of course, tourists from everywhere venture in as well.
If you’re in New York and need a pick me up, or an entirely new look, or a manicure, spa treatment, or wax, why not visit Maria Bonita Salon & Spa? Celebrate your birthday at Maria Bonita and they’ll even take 15% off your entire check.
Maria Bonita Salon & Spa is located at 12 Prince Street, easily accessible from a variety of different subway lines. Afterwards, strut your stuff at a chic, nearby cafe, or hang out and shop the boutiques in Soho and the Lower East Side. The hours of operation are Mon. through Wed. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thurs. 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fri.and Sat. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sun. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call: 212-431-1 520 www.mariabonitany.com