Out of sight: 77 Maiden Lane Salon & Spa

77 Maiden Lane

(415) 732-7900

Hard to find factor : 1

1 Not too bad

2 Takes some searching

3 Ask a native

4 Bring a map

Neighborhood: Union Square

On the downlow since: 1986

Petite sophisticate: For two decades, countless pairs of Manolo Blahniks have click-clacked their way up the staircase to this posh salon and spa. Begun by frequent A-lister Sherlee Rhine (who once earned her keep selling tires, by the way), the Maiden Lane Spa is a throwback to the days when spas remained the exclusive right of the rich and fabulous. These days, the old-school clientele has been infused with a proportionate amount of Financial District power-lunchers and disciples of Neiman Marcus. This isn’t one of those themed-out spas that stuffs miniature Buddhas into every corner, or accessorizes with smooth stones and bonsai trees. Professional, no-nonsense beauty is what keeps them coming to 77 Maiden Lane.

Hot and cold: A lot can happen in 20 years. Trends change, markets saturate, etc., etc. What we’re trying to say is that the Maiden Lane Salon & Spa has a lot more competition than it did even 10 years ago. Which could be one reason of many why the reviews of 77 Maiden Lane either overflow with adoration or teeth-clenching hate. For every person who has found heaven in the small, coffee-colored spa, positioned away from the salon wing of the facility, there is someone who only found hell. We’ve heard tales of people getting cut short on their 80-minute massage, while others sing the praises of an aesthetician who took extra time to de-clog a few unruly pores.

In and out: Still, when your layered ’do is on the fritz or a last-minute spray tan is the only thing that will pull off that evening dress, this place is the best to book a last-minute beauty appointment. Of course, we still recommend booking in advance and taking advantage of the spa’s long menu of services. No one would want to rush through a diamond peel, where a device the size of a pencil shoots diamond bits into your pores and then sucks them back out, banishing those wrinkles and acne scars for good and making your pores as tight as Sheryl Crow’s abs.

Know any hidden gems? E-mailus at outofsight@examiner.com and tell us your favorite off-the-beaten-path haunts.Bay Area NewsLocal

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