Is this The Cotswolds best kept hair secret?
PUBLISHED: 10:12 04 May 2012 | UPDATED: 21:21 20 February 2013
Did you know that right on the doorstep of The Cotswolds is one of the UK's top hairdressers?
Is this The Cotswolds best kept hair secret?
Did you know that right on the doorstep of The Cotswolds is one of the UKs top hairdressers? It is a well-kept secret as the man himself left London in pursuit of a more relaxed rural lifestyle and is now more focussed on developing his team and affording them the type of opportunities he has enjoyed during his career.
There are lots of salons in the area that have good stylists but there are very few who are as well regarded by the national press, the industry and high profile celebrities as the ever-gracious Stuart Holmes.
His salon is housed in an understated four storey Georgian town house in the middle of Cheltenham overlooking the well-manicured Imperial Gardens. You would be forgiven for mistaking it for a beautiful boutique hotel.
The Times recently described Stuart, who spent years in London maintaining the locks of the likes of Lisa Snowdon and Helen Mirren, as someone in need of a knighthood for his services to womens hair. It is that sort of national recognition that speaks volumes about his tireless enthusiasm and skill that he has imparted in his own career and upon those with whom he now mentors.
For those who have met Stuart, his demure exterior and gentle personality make it obvious as to why he has been so successful in developing a salon experience which so unique in The Cotswolds.
Stuart and his wife Sara opened the salon in 2003 in which time it has gone from strength to strength. Stuart moved to Gloucestershire from London in pursuit of a more family friendly lifestyle. With Sara growing up in the area and having strong connections locally, it always felt like home for the couple.
Stuarts London links and his industry wide reputation have now well and truly put Cheltenham on the hair map. Many of his clients still regularly travel from London to see him.
The national press have followed Stuarts progress in The Cotswolds with interest. He brings a fascinating element of great personality and skill to the region. The Telegraph recently described Stuart as resembling more of a lawyer than a hairdresser, often dressed in an understated dark blue suit and open necked shirt.
For the team at Stuart Holmes, they follow in their bosss footsteps and consistently deliver an ambience and relaxed experience that people have grown to love. At some trendy hair salons, arriving at reception is horribly intimidating. Many are staffed by a gaggle of very young, very pretty girls who appear to look down on incoming customers. However, there is nothing snooty or unfriendly here. Clients at Stuart Holmes are greeted with a smile and 5* hotel level of hospitality. Stuarts wife Sara worked in boutique hotels for many years and it is her professionalism that is instilled on every member the team.
The Stuart Holmes Hair and Beauty Spa has been pinpointed on more than one occasion for top industry accolades including Salon of the Year and Salon Team of the Year at the British Hairdressing Business Awards. When you visit the salon, it is easy to see why.
One particular award that Stuart is very proud of is when he won The Apprentice Development Award at the Gloucestershire Business Awards. Stuarts efforts these days are continually directed towards helping nurture young talented stylists and giving them the kick start their career needs.
The Stuart Holmes Apprenticeship Scheme is widely regarded as one of the best in the industry. Young people who join the scheme are presented with fantastic opportunities that even those who have been in the hair trade for years only dream about. They are taken on high profile magazine shoots, given opportunities to shadow Stuart at top international Fashion Weeks as well as being financed to test drive and mystery shop London salons to see how they deliver top notch customer service. Stuart was recently named as the South West Ambassador for Apprentices working within the Service Industries.
The Stuart Holmes Hair and Beauty Spa underwent a complete refurbishment that was finished in January this year. The new look interiors are now even more in keeping with the salons boutique hotel feel. Sharp wallpapers adorn this design haven and compliment the monochrome finish. A new hair spa has also been created so clients can escape the salon floor and step into a state of total relaxation while they enjoy a luxurious head massage.
You can follow Stuart Holmes on Twitter: @stuart_holmes