Once inside I was greeted warmly by two reception staff, both looking rather busy.
I was asked for my name, and they then had my coat and bag taken and tidied away. I was told that, since it was my first visit, I would be given a tour of the salon.
We walked through to the consultation area, which had a trendy living room feel.
It had three large, comfy two-seater sofas, with a single client seated on each as they awaited their stylist. It was explained to me that the salon doesn’t employ junior staff: you book in with a stylist who is yours for the full experience.
Taking a step down, we entered the cutting room floor: an impressively sized room designed to be simple but striking.
Beautiful solid-wood floors, exposed brickwork on one side and frosted glass on the other.
Huge mirrors hung from the ceiling in front of a single chair – a far cry from the usual wall-facing back-to-back salon effect!
I was told that the layout was designed to make ‘guests’ feel comfortable and relaxed, not overlooked by passers-by and other clients as they’re mid-cut and looking a fright – we’ve all been there!
We then walked downstairs to another vast space, only this one had dim lighting with soft, spa-like music playing. I was told that this was the colour studio and wash room.
With the tour complete, we headed back upstairs to the consultation area, where I was asked to take a seat on a sofa and given a shot of iced tea (which was delicious), along with a menu to peruse, while I waited for my stylist.
Within minutes, I was greeted by Tom, who sat next to me on the sofa to discuss ideas for my hair.
As I’m growing my hair out, we decided on long layers with a sweeping fringe. Tom suggested that I would suit a ‘floating tea lights’ colour effect on a future visit.
We headed downstairs to the wash room and Tom began to wash my hair.
He explained that my hair was damaged due to the sun and styling, so he had chosen a specific shampoo and conditioning treatment to deeply condition it from root to tip.
I enjoyed a firm and extremely relaxing five-minute head massage – it was so good that I forgot I was interviewing him!
Tom then left me for five minutes to let the conditioner work its magic.
I was totally relaxed and enjoying the peaceful space, just able to hear a quiet conversation taking place close by, with someone who was clearly a regular catching up with her stylist.
The time flew by and Tom returned to rinse my hair, ready to head back up to the cutting room.
I was seated in front of one of the grand mirrors, with a little table by my side holding a glass of chilled white wine to help me fully relax. (There are hot drinks and non-alcoholic drinks available as well.)
Tom started cutting and told me how The Chapel came about:
I learnt that owners Amanda and Toby Dicker have a truly unique approach to their business.
Amanda’s world travels taught her that it’s the little details that count and she wanted to create an environment where guests could feel at home and special, enabling them to build a bond with their stylist.
Determined to do things differently, Amanda and Toby opened their first salon in Tunbridge Wells in 1997 and taught their team to ask their guests how they wanted to feel, rather than just asking what they wanted to look like.
Since then, the talented duo have opened a further three salons, each one distinct in its design while remaining true to the brand’s ideals: relaxation, education, service and tailored treatments (REST).
Once the cut was complete, Tom asked me how I would like my hair dried.
I told him I like volume without looking overdone, and Tom suggested loose waves and said that he will show me ways to easily create the look myself at home.
I learnt three new techniques that I’m sure I will be able to achieve myself.
We had finished, and my hair looked smooth and shiny, delicately framing my face. I loved it!
As Tom walked me out, I had a colour test and booked an appointment for Tom’s suggestion of the floating tea lights colour effect.
I was blown away by Tom’s expertise and his willingness to share advice on everything from scalp treatments to styling techniques.
The Chapel is an experience: somewhere you can take some ‘you’ time to relax and then leave looking and feeling fabulous.
Prices range from £49 to £100 per hour, so you can find a stylist that suits your budget. (For your first appointment, you are given a complimentary 15 minutes on top for consultation time.)
W: THE CHAPEL
A: 394–396 St John Street, London, EC1V 4NJ
T: 0207 5200 460
Sunday – closed
Monday – open for telephone bookings only
Tuesday – 11–9
Wednesday – 11–9
Thursday – 11–9
Friday – 10–6
Saturday – 8–5