On the Road: Stella Nova

Hannah Lee celebrates her visit to Charleston, Souch Carolina by hunting down a new salon to visit. 

One of my favorite cities in the United States is Charleston, S.C. I think it’s a combination of its historic charm (beautiful antebellum architecture and gardens), surrounding low country marshland (think “the Prince of Tides”), and great seafood (oysters, shrimp, and crabs are all locally caught). During my week enjoying the Indian summer I was delighted to find Stella Nova on beautiful, historic Society Street.

One of four locations (there is also a separate retail store and salon located nearby), the downtown day spa is located in a two-story house built in the mid-1800s. In typical Charleston style, it’s long and skinny. Downstairs, you can find a small retail area (For a more complete lineup of spa products, just head up the street to their original location, which is now a beauty boutique.), a manicure room with two tables and waiting area, two small pedicure rooms (a single and a double), two facial rooms, and a wet treatment room. Upstairs, owner and hairstylist Ginger Evans has a private studio complete with a sitting parlor. There are also two massage rooms upstairs and  a long, skinny porch-style hallway with café tables for guests to sip tea.

The morning I went in I was battling a cold, so even though the temperatures were unseasonably high for September (in the 90s), I was served hot tea in a cute little teapot during my service. Nail tech Dixie McIntosh, a Charleston native, couldn’t have been friendlier. (Charleston is known as one of the friendliest cities in the nation.) She gave me Stella Nova’s signature manicure and we chatted the entire time I was there. It felt like I was hanging out with an old friend. Dixie has been doing nails for three years and has been at Stella Nova for the last year. She’s a natural nails-only tech and she enjoys the atmosphere and clients at Stella Nova. (She worked for a short time at a luxury resort hotel spa and said it just wasn’t for her.)

I couldn’t help but notice all the college girls going back for waxing and skin care services during my appointment. (In preparation for my cousin’s wedding, I got my brows done, too.) Because of its proximity to downtown and the College of Charleston, the salon attracts a steady – and varied – clientele. The atmosphere at the spa is low key and comforting – and impeccably designed, thanks to owner Ginger’s great taste. Stella Nova is a must-see for anyone visiting historic Charleston.

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