Nestled among businesses right off the main street in downtown Coronado, Calif., is Domani Salon of Beauty and Wellness, my salon of choice for a natural nail manicure and my first reflexology pedicure. Domani, which means “tomorrow” in Italian, is a stylish, European-looking salon that caters to professional working women as well as a number of retired naval officers’ wives. The city of Coronado (located in San Diego County) is a charming seaside resort community with a population close to 30,000. Situated just two blocks away from the Midwest, who come during the winter months to escape the cold. “We refer to them as ‘snowbirds,’” says nail technician and certified reflexologist Linda Valadez. In the summer, a booming tourist business draws a lot of walk-in clients.
Salon owner Janice Rhea describes the salon’s atmosphere as “relaxing, welcoming, and unpretentious.” Although Domani’s five hairstylists, four nail technicians, two massage therapists, and one esthetician are all booth renters, Rhea says everyone is very giving to each other. “In our meetings I always talk about fairness and how everyone should lift each other up, not knock each other down.” Rhea also stresses the importance of good customer service. “When a client walks in the door, it’s important to make her feel welcomed.”
As I walked into the salon, I was greeted by Valadez’s warm smile. Although we’ve spoken on the phone numerous times during the past three years, it was nice to finally match the face with the voice. Valadez says her clients run the gamut from college students to a 96-year-old woman who comes in every Friday for a manicure. The majority of her clients have natural nails and when it comes to polish they tend to choose the more traditional reds and browns. “I haven’t polished many blue nails,” she says with a smile.
To begin my pampering service, I placed my feet in a whirlpool tub filled with warm, soothing water and fragrant salts. Next, Valadez had me stretch out in a portable reclining chair while she went to work beautifying my feet. Undoubtedly, the high point of my relaxing experience was the reflexology massage performed by her talented hands. “I really enjoy doing a pedicure,” says Valadez, “because it makes people feel better all over.” I can definitely attest to that.
My pedicure was followed by a soothing manicure, and by the time I left the salon – 2 ½ hours later – I was ready for a siesta.