EVANS, GA – Sree Roy, senior editor – Chances are if you’ve heard of the city of Augusta, GA., it’s because you’re an avid fan of the Masters Golf Tournament, my hometown’s annual claim to fame. But for those of us who’ve been locals to this small Georgia city (or, in my case, the Augusta suburb of Evans), we know the city contains small gems year round.
I discovered one of these hidden treasures when I recently went back to Georgia for the first time since my 2006 move to California. Using trusty city guide Augusta Magazine, I picked on of its “Best Beauty” winners in its just-published Best of Augusta awards. I like the idea that not only had I just traveled across the country, but “Tuscany – A Classic Italian Spa” promised to virtually transport me all the way across an ocean and back in time to Old World Italy.
The salon’s entryway set the mood for our visit. My older sister, who I’d asked t come along for some quality family time, and I admired the rustic fountain that bubbled by the reception area, as well as the airy waiting room that featured a cozy fireplace and comfortable furnishings. The Tuscan-themed design continued upstairs as we were enveloped in a palette of rich reds and cozy neutrals, framed Old World-inspired art, high-end light fixtures, and custom-made furniture, including a banquette where my sister and I were seated for side-by-side pedicures. “I really like the Old World, especially Italy, and it was a big influence as I mapped out the design for the salon,” said owner Leigh Ann Keels. Leigh Ann and her husband, Matt Keels, own the 7,600-sq.-ft. salon, including the 1,600-sq.-ft. massage school located on the first floor. The two also recently opened an aesthetics school in North Augusta, S.C.
In the pedicure area, we were pampered by nail techs Kristina Owen and Wayne Brooks. A South Carolina and a Georgia native, respectively, they are two of about 30 employees who work in this full-service salon. Our Classic Pedicures were completed with professionalism and a healthy dose of Southern hospitality.
After the service, Kristina showed us around the various treatment rooms. Each had an Italian-inspired theme – such as the Vineyard Room, which features faux vines encircling the wooden framework of the ceiling grid. The salon gives off such a comfortable and welcoming feel – much like the feeling I get in the city of Augusta itself.