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A Quantum of Indulgence: John Allan's

Jack Bettridge
From the Print Edition:
Fred Thompson, March/April 2009

You're already feeling pampered as her long, lithe fingers furrow through your hair, kneading the lotion into your locks before gently rinsing it out. Then comes the question—we assume rhetorical—that propels the experience into another realm: "Would you like a scalp massage?" By all means! And you spin off into a 40-minute gentleman's indulgence that wraps up your grooming, coddling, recreational and libational needs into one neat little package.

The full treatment at John Allan's Club seamlessly moves through shampoo, scalp massage, hot-towel treatment, haircut with style counseling and manicure, before neatly depositing you into a transformed state where you either return to the office—or stay to enjoy a game of billiards or sip beer or beverages at the bar. Oh, did we forget to mention the other distinctly male amenities?

Twenty years ago, founder John Allan, a protégé of Paris hairstylist Jean Louis David, had the brainstorm that if a market existed for male grooming indulgence beyond the shave-and-a-haircut-two-bits variety, it had to be approached differently than the female salon experience. Men, he reasoned, needed to be coaxed into their cosseting and led to the next level of styling.

To most guys, the woman's day-of-beauty experience, with its primping and poking, lotions and potions, would be too time-consuming and frankly too squirrelly—our word, not his. So he designed John Allan's as a club, an atmosphere that any man can relate to, and wrapped the full treatment into a 40-minute package and staged it in coolly industrial interiors that now number three New York locations and one in Chicago, with more clubs coming soon. Of course, John Allan's is not the only indulgent salon with a sense of masculinity. In four locations (including New York's The Carlyle), Sense Spa provides a range of more traditional spa treatments. And even at John Allan's you'll soon be enticed into other indulgences: body massage, facial massage, cleansing facial, hair coloring, beard trim, sports pedicure. But, in theory, you could have your manly self in and out in 40 minutes. We think it's a good theory.

Visit johnallans.com and thecarlyle.com/spa.cfm.

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