No-show rabbis, MIA groomsmen—Nicole Simeral has seen (and fixed) it all. But the Boston-based planner does much more than fight wedding-day fires; she also recommends vendors, handles contract negotiations, and thoughtfully coordinates each and every detail (lighting, linens, late-night taco stations) throughout the process, all the while keeping each couple’s distinct vision in mind. simeralco.com.
Even if you don’t spring for the absurdly indulgent six-hour "Boston Breather" packageincluding a scrub, pedicure, facial, and moreit’s easy to while away the day at this 16,000-square-foot oasis four floors above Boylston Street. Book an aroma stone massage, detox wrap, or just a mani/pedi, and come early to relax in the vitality pool and steam room. Extend the aah with healthy bites at the Spa Café. 776 Boylston St., Boston, MA 2199, mandarinoriental.com/boston/luxury-spa/.
When the store was robbed late last year, staffers sprinted down Newbury in dogged pursuit—these are people who take their fashion very seriously. Though the retailer deals solely in its namesake designer—and some seasons will inevitably outshine others—it's general manager and retail vet Mary Nobile-King's trained eye that shapes the mix of bags, shoes, and women's wear that fills the store. The result is a collection that comes together as if Jacobs were designing specifically for Boston itself. 81 Newbury St., Boston, MA marcjacobs.com.
Okay, the size of the shoe wall doesn't exactly bowl us over, and the array of athletic equipment is a mite thinner than what the big boxes carry. But when we want to swim, run, bike, stretch, or lift, this Boston-bred chain comes through with apparel, gear, and even energy gels to keep us fueled. Bonus points for its signature line of athletic clothing that blends quality and affordability. 480 Boylston St., Boston, MA 2116, citysports.com.
Serenella's racks are to Boston shoppers what the sirens were to Odysseus: pure, unadultered temptation. Maybe it's the thoughtfully edited assembly of Pucci brights, quivering with delicious swirls of aqua, canary yellow, and bubblegum pink. Or it could be the crisp Balenciaga skirts, the tasteful cashmere twinsets, or the Roberto Cavalli numbers that are, by turns, over the top and tame. Whatever your particular weakness, prepare to abandon all reservation when you enter. Everything here sings, and—like a siren—even when it's loud, it's beautiful. 134 Newbury St., Boston, MA serenella-boston.com/.
You have nothing to wear to the Best of Boston party, which is tomorrow. Hustle your Manolos over to Copley's new superstore, where clothing designers both ultrafamous (Marc Jacobs) and ascendant (Jovovich-Hawk) merge with bags, jewelry, and 3,700 square feet of shoes. What's more, an in-house concierge will offer opinions, fetch you lunch, and even arrange your ride home. (The hot date you'll have to get on your own.) 100 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 2116, barneys.com.
From the crowds who cheer on marathoners to the city-dwellers who do bridge loops along the Charles, Boston is a runner's city. And no place helps locals log the miles like Marathon Sports. Marathon has the largest selection of shoes from Adidas, New Balance, and Nike, and an all-star staff that will pick out just the pair you need. Throw in a great selection of sports bras, wicking shirts, shorts in any length, and information on local races, and you have everything you need to get moving. 671 Boylston St., Boston, MA marathonsports.com/.
Boston has no shortage of snowboard shops. Some have good selections, some good service. One has both. Whether you huck in the halfpipe or just concentrate on getting down the hill with your tailbone intact, the folks at Blades will steer you toward the perfect board. Chances are, they have it in stock, too. And if not, chill out. They'll happily order it for you. 38 JFK St., Cambridge, MA .
A cyclist's dream: a bright, airy space filled with top-of-the-line inventory and staffed by fellow riders who know their bikes from shifters to spokes. Not only do these folks understand what you really want, they often go out of their way to offer cheaper alternatives. And Fat Dog may just offer the deal in the Boston area on road bikes: free service for the lifetime of the bike (one year of free service on MTBs, and you can do a lot to a mountain bike in a year). 940 High St., Westwood, MA .
This store sells tasteful tchotchkes with a local theme, including throws, tea sets, games, prints, calendars, and books about Boston, many by its sons and daughters. It also benefits the city's unsung (and generally unknown) statehouse. And if you don't see something you like here, you have all the rest of Faneuil Hall before you. Faneuil Hall, Boston, MA .
At long last, a dry cleaner that cares about you and your clothes. Ecoluxe has banished the chemicals commonly found in garden-variety dry cleaning (linked with a handful of harmful effects), as well as a pile of other dirty laundry: nonchalant service, for example, and depressing surroundings. Owner Shelly Mars has instead created attractive, environmentally friendly storefronts with remarkable personal service and excellent cleaning and pressing. For those too harried to make the trek to Brookline, Mars offers delivery to Newton, Wellesley, Milton, Cambridge, and parts of Boston. 1018 Beacon St., Brookline, MA .
After working under the tutelage of makeup-guro-to-the-stars Bobbi Brown, Rusty has come to Boston to transform our faces. He applies makeup with Brown's signature minimalist technique, which strives for natural, subtle strokes for daytime. Colston is also adept at using color to create a little drama for evening. As an added bonus, he'll tweeze unruly brows and even make house calls if necessary. 9 Newbury Street, Boston, MA mariorusso.com.
Heads will be turning now that Duff, Sassoon's North American creative director, has relocated to Boston. Masterful cut aside, we loved his approach—assessing your lifestyle, hair type, and sensibilities before lifting his scissors. "I want to know how this works for you," he asked repeatedly. Just be sure to call ahead for appointments—the man is a bigger jet setter than Austin Powers. 14 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
De Rosa delivers up Beacon Hill stairs, mixes his aged wood well, and turns green at the idea of selling new wood. Though his beat is Boston, De Rosa lives in Billerica (1-633-2197). Rosanno, on Route 3A in Cohasset, fills car trunks with extraordinarily generous loads, dispenses folk wisdom, makes minor car repairs gratis, and has even been known to slip a quarter to a kid with one had while taking a five from the parents with the other. Boston, Cohasset, MA
One of the best things about Boston is its walkability. The downside, however, is our oft-abused footwear. So when the insoles of our beloved boots begin to wear and the heel caps of our oxfords start to disintegrate, we lug them to this small shop in the Park Square building, where they're consistently refurbished to good as new—just in time to hit the pavement again. 31 St. James Ave., Boston, MA .