“Welcome to the family,” sounds like something you would expect to hear from the proprietor of a Bed and Breakfast; not necessarily from Erwin Gomez, celebrity owner of the uber-chic Erwin Gomez Salon & Spa located in Georgetown. Yet Gomez insists this is the greeting first time clients receive when walking into his salon and I believe him.
From afar, Gomez looks the part of an eliste fashionista but this perception dissipates as soon as he starts talking. With a permanently etched smile and eyes that glitter like a kid on Christmas Eve, it becomes instantly obvious how he has managed to create such an impressive clientele that includes A-list celebrities, high powered politicians and DC residents who are willing to spend a pretty penny (although not outrageous) for an afternoon of being primped and pampered by some of the most talented beauticians in DC.
Cost – $$$
Service – A
When Gomez opened his salon (along with partner James Packard Gomez) about six years ago and started looking for talent, his main requirement was that they have “no ego,” a tall order in an industry dominated by ego on all levels. Gomez admits it wasn’t easy but over time his hand-picked staff has helped drive the success of his salon by exemplifying the culture, grace and style that is a core component of his brand. Like Gomez, who attributes his obsession with impeccable service to his Eastern heritage, his staff place a premium on the importance of making sure the customer is satisfied by both the quality of product as well as the quality of delivery.
Décor – A-
Gomez and his partner interviewed over twenty architects before finally settling on KUBE architecture. Not surprisingly, Gomez was intimately involved with the planning and design of the establishment, evident by the subtle, Eastern theme that runs through the space. From the couture vault on the top floor where Gomez sells high end labels to his clientele, through the main salon, to the patio garden (complete with Koi pond), the salon offered a dizzying display of visual experiences, like an amusement park built for the upwardly mobile, contemporary chic.
Feel – A
My freshman year roommate at Georgetown had a numeric digit in his name, wore pink pants and participated in an all-male singing group. We got along (relatively speaking) until he came back to our dorm room one day and found me ashing my cigarette in his sailing trophy. It was all downhill from there.
Maybe it is nostalgia but there is something subversive about the multi-cultural Erwin Gomez salon and it’s location in the heart of a snooty blue blood neighborhood that I dig. There is something more subversive about its undeniable success (in spite of the conservative nature of Georgetown) that I really dig and at the end of the day you can’t argue with success. Like Gomez himself, his spa finds a way to blend exclusivity and top-tier talent with humility and an appreciation for the customer – an equation that would equal success in any environment and one that has made his salon one of the top picks in DC.