Excited to explore Singapore with SingapoRediscovers vouchers, but can't shake that craving for an overseas holiday? While these destinations below aren't voucher-eligible, they are sensational Singaporean places where you can get that year-end beauty refresh, as well as a heady taste of foreign flavour.
Japan is the Singaporean's destination of choice for cherry blossoms, beautifully-packaged azuki snacks, and the ill-fated 2020 Olympics. But while you can't go watch Autumn Foliage or Sakura in Tokyo, you can enjoy Japanese service and take kimono shots at COVO Japanese Hair Salon @ Katong.
Expect to have your hair cut in a minimalistic, airy space where customer's chairs are separated with privacy partitions a la solo-dining restaurants in Tokyo. And of course, you'll receive flattering, fuss-free Japanese styles provided by artists from Japan with an average of over ten years experience, and who exemplify omotenashi Japanese service by attending to you from the shampoo stage till you're done with your brand new look.
As if that wasn't enough, COVO also has a kimono-dressing service, with resident expert Sara having attained official certification after years of training and examinations to transform you from sleepy Singaporean to impeccable Japanese bijin.
Meanwhile, while the azure Flamingo Hair Studio - with branches at Tiong Bahru and Neil Road - doesn't have what you might call quintessentially Japanese decor, it does boast stylists and service standards hailing from the land of the rising sun.
Not to mention that while you're having your Japanese hairdressing experience, you'll be refreshed by beverage choices including Japanese probiotic drink Calpis...
...Or plum kelp tea, with a snack selection that lists rice crackers and Onigiri among others!
Or the ultra-luxe Branche Japanese Hair Salon at Capitol Piazza that pulls out all the stops to impress.
Depending on which part of Japan you'll like to visit, there is a Japanese salon just for you.
If you've spent the circuit-breaker watching K-Dramas and desperately covet some C-curls and maybe an Oppa, LeeKaJa Beauty Salon @ Mandarin Gallery is the place to go. This multi-award-winning beauty destination has been called 'Korea's no. 1 Beauty Salon in Singapore', and upon entering, you'll be struck by how it's replete with charming plants and raw wood accents, to transport you to the deliciously dreamy Seoul Forest Park, or the gorgeous rural locales in Crash Landing On You (without the threat of being imprisoned by communist soldiers).
Next, a large part of their hair team are indeed unfairly attractive Korean oppas and onis, with several of them previously featured by our page not just for how good they make you look, but how they are poster boys and girls themselves for Korean-style cuts.
Senior Director/ Oppa DongHyun Kim, courtesy of LeeKaJa Beauty Salon
As they give you the superstar treatment with barista-made drinks and snacks, feel free to practice your Duolingo Level 1 Korean with your native stylist, soak in the atmosphere, and pretend you're in Seoul.
If you need to ogle more oppas, try Zinc Korean Hair Salon @ Millennia Walk, which has a lower price point but equally suave Korean stylists. Just try not to forget that the gentlemen are there to work.
Justin and Jacob, stylists at Zinc Korean Hair Salon
If Hong Kong movies and TV series are more your cup of tea, you can feel like a Kowloon bigshot at Mode Studio @ Wheelock Place, home to two of the few celebrity Hong Kong hairstylists in Singapore, Sam Woo and Kan.
Sam Woo of Mode Studio
The founder and director, Sam, was handpicked to be Kim Robinson's assistant in Hong Kong early on in his career and has worked with numerous top celebrities in Hong Kong before he was asked to help set up Kim Robinson in Singapore. Kan, on the other hand, has over 13 years of experience at the city's top salons, and rubbed shoulders with top models during fashion shoots. Both their work continues to be seen front and centre, on the covers of numerous magazines.
With the salon's stylists being famed for friendliness, feel free to rattle away in Cantonese to these two, while admiring the swanky dai-lou style decor with lots of glossy marble, a view of the city, and a bar.
Love Shanghai style? Then where else would you go but to a salon called The Bund? Okay, the view doesn't look like the seaside city, mainly because it has a full glass exterior to give you 360 degree visuals of your gorgeous surroundings in a lush Bishan Park locale.
Images courtesy of The Bund @ Ang Mo Kio Bishan Park
It certainly is a transporting experience to be in Singapore's first luxury garden hair salon though. And while it might look like a tropical wonderland rather than a city famed for wearing furs over sleek cheongsams, Founder and stylist Ricky Wang will take you right back to the Chinese fashion capital with his incredibly slick bob cuts honed over years of experience in Shanghai.
If you like old-school Chinese charm but also love Japanese-level cutesiness, you're probably a fan of Taiwan; and might be one of Koinonia Hair Salon @ Tiong Bahru too.
Just look at this sweet sunshiny pastel exterior...
...Combined with an Oriental retro interior.
As Taiwanese as the salon's vibe, is its super-friendly and dedicated service.
They prepare and personalise your seat way before your appointment time - see the little placemarker above - and when you enter, expect to be immediately greeted by name. Koinonia is known for its thorough consultations to provide the perfect look for you. And to double down on the Taiwanese vibe, ask to be styled by Elin - A Taiwanese native who's received rave reviews (from visiting Taiwanese patrons no less) for creating looks ranging from extremely cute to exquisitely classy.
And of course, Koinonia is super instagrammable, meaning you could take lots of shots there, hashtag #Taiwan and people might very well believe you took the trip.
If you want to end your weeks of pajama-wearing with a French high fashion fix, then take a little excursion to Yann Beyrie @ Wisma Atria. Founded by the eponymous Yann, who was born in the idyllic South of France before working his way up to hair director in a celebrated Parisian salon, his setup in Wisma Atria is a masterclass in design, with even the hair-washing recliners being sleek statement pieces.
Courtesy of yannbeyrie.com
It's designed to look like a Parisian gallery, where your hair is the artwork: The salon is renowned for precision cuts and colours, and rather than jumping onto new trends (though they can certainly give them to you),
Yann's team - including fellow Frenchman and Creative Designer Anthony who has worked in various fashion capitals worldwide - releases seasonal collections akin to a fashion label.
Courtesy of yannbeyrie.com
Which salon have you visited that makes you feel you're on a brief holiday from Singapore? Share your experiences at BU.sg