Mellow Mummy: Meet My Salon – The Retreat, Wokingham : Taking life as it comes...

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Meet My Salon – The Retreat, Wokingham

The Retreat in Wokingham is home to my hair salon, and my beauty salon. Although I hate to admit it, I spend most of my hard-earned cash there but it's worth it! I attribute most of my mellow state of mind to The Retreat! Since becoming a mummy, my visits have become less frequent due to financial strains and the desire to spend as many waking moments with my daughter as I possibly can. However, it is important to me that I maintain some semblance of normality (i.e. non-mummy time); The time I spend at the hair salon and the beauty salon is my me-time.

I discovered The Retreat on Denmark Street, Wokingham nearly 6 years ago when I first moved to Berkshire. After a disastrous haircut at a salon in Bracknell I HAD to find something better. I googled hairdressers in Berkshire, found The Retreat and never looked back. I don't live in Wokingham (yet... watch this space) but the 4 mile drive every few weeks is worth it.

I have had my hair cut by the same person for the past 6 years. This is a record for me. I trust her and have done ever since day one. Kathryn, my stylist has been with me through tangled tresses, long sumptious highlights and a short dark-brown bob! Like all the hair dressers at The Retreat, she has been trained to understand the customer's needs. She has learned that I like to chill out and that I'm not so bothered about conversation – whereas the next client she has may want to chat all afternoon.

As a hair-salon The Retreat stands out for me for a number of reasons. The atmosphere is buzzy yet relaxed so that it appeals to clients of ALL ages and sexes (Mr. B. is a regular). The staff don't fit the 'hairdresser' stereotype. They are all, on the whole, polite, efficient and focussed on their role. The Retreat is also at the forefront of salon innovation – as I have my hair-washed and my head massaged I am treated to on-screen travel-advice and pop-quizzes although I'm not so sure how important it is to me that I can buy shampoo for my pet while I'm there!

The Retreat beauty salon is my haven! Situated just a little further down Denmark Street, the beauty salon is housed in a gorgeous wooden-beamed property with creaky staircases and wonky floors! The treatment rooms are well-equipped with several of them offering showers for treatments that require them. The olde worlde building really adds to the luxurious atmosphere but it does mean that they struggle with hot water supplies from time to time!

The Retreat offers all the standard treatments along with facial treatments from Decleor and La Biosthetique. I enjoy turning up early for my appointments so that I can sit in a comfy chair, enjoy a hot drink from their extensive 'menu' and try out the Decleor samples on display. It is peaceful and welcoming and I find the staff just as courteous and enthusiastic with new customers as with regular clients.

Over the past few years I have, on occasion, tried other beauty salons and have been disappointed. The Retreat ranks up alongside the treatment rooms at the major spas such as Nirvana spa, or Aqua Sana at Center Parcs (and I think it beats the treatment rooms at Champneys hands-down). The rooms at The Retreat could be more comfortable, they could be more standardised between consultants and they could be better sound-proofed (It's not nice hearing someone else experience a Brazillian for the first time) but there are few other salons I have tried who can beat The Retreat for the friendliness of their staff, for the consistent quality of their facial, waxing or nail treatments and definitely no-one comes close at customer service.

I would recommend The Retreat for Hair and Beauty treatments in Berkshire without hesitation. The Retreat has been with me since myself and Mr. B. first moved in together; they helped prepare me for my wedding, to keep me healthy and sane during pregnancy (my first Braxton hicks happened while lying on a massage table having a Decleor mother-to-be treatment!) and this week, not only will they be responsible for Lara's first ever hair-cut but The Retreat will be the last place I visit before heading off on my trip down to Bognor Regis for the glamorous MADs award ceremony!

If you would like to give your salon a shout out, I'd love to hear about them. Please post your review in the linky below and I'll enjoy reading your reviews and who knows, I may even visit if I'm in your area.

All images courtesy of The Retreat.

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