Best Of :: Shopping & Services
We get our nails done for two reasons. First, we like to look good. We liked it in 3000 B.C., when the practice was first recorded in China, and in the time of ancient Egypt, where even low-ranking citizens felt obliged to spruce up with a modest nude coat. We like it now, willingly subjecting our hands to repeated blasts of concentrated UV light and harsh acetone soaks in exchange for two full weeks of gelled, chip-free, perfectly glossy fingertips. The other reason we get our nails done is that we love to pamper ourselves. The mani-pedi is a bimonthly ritual to which we gladly sacrifice two hours and an expense we very rarely call into question, lest we tumble down the slippery slope that is YouTube DIY nail art tutorials. Thus, finding a great nail salon is like coming home. At Venetian Nail Spa in Fort Lauderdale's Flagler Village, home is a nearly 4,000-square-foot Eden with high ceilings, arched entryways, gauzy curtains, and flatscreen TVs streaming endless episodes of Barefoot Contessa and Pioneer Woman. Dedicated receptionists (not a technician juggling the phone and his next wax appointment) check you in and offer you a cold beverage as you select a polish. Walk-ins are welcome, and if you're looking to book a large group (wedding parties, anyone?), Venetian's airy space with four sectioned-off pedicure areas provides the perfect luxe, clean, and calm atmosphere without the Boca price tags. Gel manis start at $36, a basic spa pedi costs $26, and a regular mani-pedi starts at $40.
Readers' choice: Tipsy Salonbar
When it comes to buying a car, nobody likes a hustler. It's no fun to sign a deal only to realize your jalopy didn't come with floor mats. Or a stereo. Or doors. But South Florida is a cutthroat kind of place, with as many sharks in the dealership lots as there are offshore. Not, however, at Holman Honda. From the showroom floor to the service department, you'll be hard-pressed to find a dealership that competes on their level. They don't drive a hard bargain on floor mats (or doors!), and they won't upsell you on more vehicle than you can drive. That's why customers keep coming back for oil changes and tire rotations, even after they've paid off their Accords. Got a weird, oily leak in your steering column? Don't throw a fit. They'll check your warranty before sending your car off for work and give her a bonus wash while you wait.
Readers' choice: JM Lexus
Kovac Automotive has served Broward County for over 40 years; owner Joe Kovac's mother, Joan, even served as mayor of Davie in the late 1980s. Joe himself has served on the MathWorks Automotive Advisory Board and been president of the Florida tire dealers' association. That is some VIP material. This family-owned business has a loyal following because of its clean, organized shop and fair prices. Friendly staff will explain exactly what the issue is with your vehicle and be transparent about the services they perform. Become a member and you'll receive a ten percent discount, and there are always coupons available on their website. Schedule your next oil change here and have a complimentary donut and cup of coffee, and use their Wi-Fi, while you wait.
Gourmet coffee bar? Check. Cozy faux fireplace blazing in the background? Check. Access to an iPad and free internet to explore the World Wide Web? Check. No, it's not your best friend's living room. It's Cactus Car Wash, where customers are pampered in a Southwest-style lounge while their rides get spiffed up. An exterior-only wash will set you back only $5.95, or you can splurge on a traditional full-service car wash for $29.95. On top of that, special detailing and restoration options are available to make your car look extra showroom-shiny. Pick a package, sit back, and relax.
The first thing you'll see upon entering this little Lake Worth shop will be one of the Relentless crew bearing down on repairs in the store's work area like an alchemist bringing new life to old wheels, spokes, and gears. Intensely focused on all things pedal-powered — with awesome service, a high level of expertise, and a whole range of bikes, parts, and paraphernalia — this shop can be a bit intimidating on the casual cyclist's first visit. But the tough facade conceals a deep commitment to customer care and education. Relentless is deeply embedded in the community as a center for news of two-wheel activities throughout South Florida and a sponsor of local cultural events like the L-Dub Film Festival. Don't miss out on their annual Christmastime pig roast — and burn those calories off on the ride home.
The only thing more expensive than buying a boat is maintaining a boat. From anchors to zinc, Boat Owner's Warehouse has you covered. At BOW, they may not make the repairs, but you can bet your fiberglass they'll stock the parts you need or will have them ready for pickup pronto. They have three locations in Broward and Palm Beach counties (Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, and Riviera Beach) and a service division for maintaining bigger toys. Their inventory catalog is as thick as the Yellow Pages was back when landlines were a thing. Their prices are also a fraction of what competitors charge, enabling you to trim your motor but not your budget. If you walk in covered in dust from a day spent sanding your hull, they won't frown; this isn't Weekend Warrior's Warehouse. It's a store for boat folks, by boat folks.
We live in an area where it's easy to get hooked on a lot of things: gambling, fishbowl margaritas, flakka. Luckily, at LMR they're addicted to only one thing: fishing. At this top-notch tackle shop, they stock everything from custom rods to kites, as well as mullet that's rigged and ready to snag that snook you've been itching to catch (within season, of course). They even host an "Every Saturday One Fish Tournament" for a little weekend fun. Here's how it works: LMR announces Saturday's catch on Friday evenings via Facebook. Snag that species of fish on Saturday and show up for weigh-in by 7 p.m. to see if you're the winner of some serious LMR gift cards.
Going to the dry cleaner is one of the most dreaded household chores. Picking up or dropping off clothes is one more thing to tick off a to-do list, and the bill is enough to make you consider just buying a new blouse. And no one likes the strong stench of "perc" — perchloroethylene, the petroleum-based cleaning compound used by most dry cleaners — a solvent that's also considered a possible carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency. That's where Dryeco Green Cleaners comes in: Call or fill out a form online, and a Dryeco staff member will collect your soiled items anywhere that's convenient for you, be it your home, your office, or even your yacht. From there, everything (from your favorite leather jacket, to your wedding dress, to a blazer, to household items like rugs and blankets) is washed in an eco-friendly, chemical-free, German-made cleaning solvent known as Solvon K4 that should keep your whites white, your dry-clean-only clothes looking brand new, and your favorite wool blanket from shrinking to midget size. Items are folded or hung and wrapped in biodegradable packaging, then promptly delivered right back to you. Next-day service is available, but normal turnaround is typically three days. Not too shabby. You even get two free laundry bags to keep all your dry-cleanable items safe in. Pickup and delivery are free, and prices are reasonable (a basic dress shirt is cheapest at $3.19, while the most expensive item, a tuxedo jacket, will cost you $22.95). They cover all of Broward County and south Palm Beach County.
In addition to bouquets filled with lilies, sunflowers, roses, carnations, and hydrangeas, this store features a flower bar — the perfect place to get crafty. The interactive experience allows guests to create their own arrangements with step-by-step instructions from a floral expert. Choose to create an arrangement with pre-picked flowers and containers, or design your own from start to finish by roaming the store and snagging whatever catches your eye. Small bites and bubbly are offered as you work, making it a welcome alternative to picking a premade arrangement.
Imagine your wildest sweat session. There's a good chance Ellen's Ultimate Workout can match it. With spinning, yoga, Pilates, ballet barre, stretch, and even rhythmic spin with weights, the Davie-based gym is a one-stop shop for anyone who wants to mix up group exercise classes and solo training days with machines and weights. The studio itself is more than 7,000 square feet and offers more than 150 classes per week, including the "Ultimate Workout." The gym's signature workout, the Ultimate fuses high-intensity training on a treadmill with weight routines and core work. With a $99-per-month membership to Ellen's, gym-goers can take advantage of eight classes per month and the full-service gym.
Readers' choice: Orangetheory Fitness
The box says "honey blonde," but the mirror clearly says "brassy tuba." What now? It's time to call the professionals at M. Evans Salon. There's a deep, sacred bond between client and stylist. You make a conscious decision to trust him or her with fast-moving, potentially deadly scissors mere inches from your face. The stylists at M. Evans salon respect this relationship, and maintaining the quality of your precious locks is always a top priority. The staff routinely goes through training workshops to deliver hair perfection with all the hot trends like ombre and balayage. Updos created here are nothing less than art. Whether your damaged hair needs a desperate save, you need a trim, or you just want to update your look, the stylists at M. Evans are on standby to help you look your best. On your way out, be sure to pick up a bottle of Marula Oil for only $40 to keep your cut looking shiny and fresh.
Readers' choice: Incognito Salon
The spa experience should be about getting away from the mean streets of South Florida and forgetting about your heinously busy schedule for a few hours. The new spa at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott in Pompano Beach, SiSpa, is a tranquil escape right on the ocean. Book an appointment at this resort, and you are welcome to enjoy the pool or beachfront area for the day. Guests sit in white, cozy lounge chairs with a spectacular ocean view while waiting for their service and enjoying a cup of tea or cucumber water. SiSpa has three treatment stations named after oceans and seas around the world and monthly specials featuring all-natural products. Pick the Indian Si Scrub, Atlantic Detox Body Envelopment, or Remineralizing Sargasso Body Treatment. While you do need to get pampered once in a while, SiSpa encourages guests to give back by purchasing specific treatments that donate a percentage of profits to a charity of your choice. Take your rejuvenation a step further with onsite yoga classes. This small but cozy getaway is the perfect prescription for when you're feeling stressed.
Readers' choice: Bliss Spa at W Fort Lauderdale Hotel