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Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
Mohamed Al Sagheer: One-Stop Pampering Shop
The Capital features more than its fair share of salons and beauty centres to keep the average city girl primped. Trips to the local coiffeur are routine for most of us, but every once in a while it behoves us to give in to something a bit more luxurious.
Sprawling over three floors, Mohamed Al Sagheer’s Zamalek branch offers a world unto itself. Smartly uniformed bell boys usher you through extravagant black and gold doors, after the salon’s valet service has taken your car to be parked (there’s no set fee; so pay 5LE and upwards).
Located on the third floor, the spa’s walls, decor and furniture are rich tones of dark red and black. Upon entering the fitting room, patrons are presented with soft, thick cotton beige robes and slippers. The rooms are decorated in natural wood tones with roomy, frosted-glass showers.
The Thai massage is highly recommended; prices start at 350LE and go up to 550LE for a half-hour, full hour, or hour and a half. This oil-free treatment stretches, relaxes and targets tensions; perfect for computer-tired muscles.
Looking for something a bit more intense? Try the hot stone massage. Heated stones are placed on key pressure points to promote circulation and relaxation. Most of the masseuses are of Thai background and are well-trained and friendly.
The Spa also offers standard waxing and sweet services. Prices are slightly higher than smaller-scale salons, and range from 30LE to100LE for arms, legs and bikini. While waxing walk-ins are generally welcome, be sure to schedule your massage or facial in advance as they are not all available on a daily basis.
When you are pampered to the max, travel down to the second floor to polish your nails and treat your locks. Be it a cut, highlights or even just a blow-dry, Mohamed Al Sagheer hosts a team of stylists ready to work their magic. Ask if Kimmy is in for a guaranteed expert cut, and Sherif is your go-to guy for subtle highlights. Wash, cut and styling should cost you about 180LE, while highlights start at around 400LE, depending on the length of your hair. The blow dry and styling are sometimes rushed and 70LE may seem a bit much compared to the market average of 35LE to 40LE for a full wash and style.
A private room is dedicated to pedicures and manicures with individual manicure tables and pedicure tubs set beneath comfortable couch chairs. Mona is hands down the best eyebrow-shaper and pedicurist. Pedi and mani appointments can’t be booked; so time your walk-in to a weekday afternoon, and avoid Thursday nights and Friday afternoons.
Mohamed Sagheer also features a floor for men, where dark leather easy chairs invoke a sophisticated barbershop environment. On the ground floor, a small boutique sells hair salon products by Kérastase, L’Oreal Salon and Chi, in addition to a small jewellery collection, perfumes and beauty products by Clarins, Dior and Makeup Forever.
As the beauty empire that is “Al Sagheer” salons continues to grow and expand both nationally and internationally, one can always be sceptical about whether its famed level of premiere service would continue to impress. Wanting a quick pampering session to add a little R&R to an otherwise hectic week, we headed over to the Sheikh Zayed branch.
Located in one of 6th of October’s classiest hang out and dining spots, Arkan Plaza, the salon’s ground floor entrance leads to a boutique of hair and beauty products boasting ever-loved brand names- the likes of Kérastase, Bed Head by TIGI and Keune. Climbing up a flight of stairs, we were greeted by the salon manager who asked which treatments we wanted.
The salon’s décor carries the chain’s signature modern theme, with artistic pieces hanging on the wall and green and pink-rimmed mirrors. The white walls and floors, and abundance of windows give the place an optimistically warm feel.
Leading us to the hair washing basins, our hair was skilfully washed and conditioned by one of the employees, who then continued to untangle our locks prior to its brushing and styling (100LE). The downside, however, was the fact that we had to wait about fifteen minutes before our hairdresser came by and started styling our hair.
The end result of hair that was perfectly curled with just the right amount of volume, though, made the slightly bothersome wait worth it. Our hairdresser professionally held up a mirror to show us what our hair looked like from the back, and spritzed it gently with hair spray to make sure it retained its curls throughout the day.
Whilst our hair was being styled, a friendly manicurist carefully filed our nails into the shape we requested and effortlessly applied French manicure on them (65LE).
Upon finishing our nails, our manicurist then took care of our eyebrows, gently threading them to perfection within a few minutes (40LE).
All in all, Mohamed Al Sagheer has continued to offer us exactly what we needed thanks to their skilled staff. From the salon manager, to the hairdresser to the manicurist, they all showed friendly demeanour, carefully listening to our requests and putting them into action. Perhaps, price-wise, it is more costly than many other salons, but the professional treatments and impressive end results are worth paying a little extra for.