Best of Orlando 2017 – Health & Beauty

Our readers voted online for their top picks in dozens of categories, from sweet shops to car dealers, bloggers to wedding venues. We carried our snazzy "Best of ORL" sign to various winning spots for photos, then had a "blast" coloring it for the cover.

est of Food & Drink
Best of Home Shopping
Best of People & Media
Best of Fun & Leisure
Best of Health & Beauty
Best of Kids & Pets

Good Hair Days

If there's a new trend in hair, Joy Ulman knows about it. The owner of Stella Luca Salons in Winter Park loved art in high school and, as a stylist, learns all the latest techniques to transform her clients' tresses into a work of art. Just months after training for Yuko Hair Straightening—an eight-hour process that smooths and straightens curly hair—became available, Ulman flew to Beverly Hills to get certified. She says her 36 stylists are equally passionate about continued education, attending in-house, monthly trainings as well as earning special certifications. Another drive to stay current is the business’ contract with the Orlando Magic dancers, which designates Stella Luca as the sole stylist for all 20 women. But what Ulman says really drives the salon’s success is its family feel. Her mother, Nicole Nemeth—a stylist since age 18—works at Stella Luca, and Ulman’s husband is the business manager. Half of the stylists and many of the customers have been with  the salon since it opened 13 years ago. "They're like extended family," Ulman says.  
—Megan Stokes


1 Stella Luca Salons
Downtown Winter Park and Winter Park Village

2 Velvet Lab Hair Studio
Lake Mary

3 Salon Ciséaux
Winter Park


1 Stella Luca Salons
Downtown Winter Park and Winter Park Village

2 Nails by Mercede
College Park

3 Marilyn Monroe Spas
Four Orlando-area locations 

Hand & Stone (Courtesy Hand & Stone)


1 Hand and Stone
Multiple Orlando-area locations

2 The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes

3 The Woodhouse Day Spa
Dr. Phillips Area


1 Thomas Fiala
Fiala Aesthetics 
Altamonte Springs

2 James Shoukas 
Lake Mary Plastic Sugery
Lake Mary

3 George Pope 
Orlando Plastic Surgery Center


1 Floyd’s 99 Barbershop
Five Orlando-area locations

2 Ponce da Barber at Gentlemen’s Barber Studio
Lake Mary

3 Liberty Barbershop
Milk District


1 Studio K
International Drive

2 Sweetwater 
Yoga & Fitness

3 Sunlight Yoga
Lake Nona


Athletic Apex (Courtesy of Athletic Apex)

Shape Shifters

Randall Hunt, owner of two Athletic Apex Health Clubs in Texas, fully expected to equal his Lone Star success when he opened his Sanford club a year ago. But he’s still gratified that Apex was named Best Workout Facility/Health Club by readers in this year’s Best of Orlando polling. “My program lets people get the most function out of their bodies,” Hunt says. “We’ve been very successful. That’s why I definitely want to expand across Florida.” (He’s already in talks about opening a second Orlando location.) In addition to machines designed by Hunt, his clubs offer customized exercise programs, group classes and a biomechanical assessment he developed years ago to repair his right arm after a car accident. But the biggest key to Apex’s success, Hunt says, is customer service. “We have phenomenal member specialists who know members’ names when they come in,” he says. “Members are always greeted with a towel and a smile.”
— Loraine O’Connell

1 Athletic Apex

2 LA Fitness
Multiple Orlando-area locations

3 Planet Fitness
Multiple Orlando-area locations


1 Vision Health Institute
Milk District

2 Hunt Eyecare
Lake Mary

3 Eyes & Optics
Downtown Winter Park


1 Andrew Hull 
Winter Park Chiropractor

2 22 Health
Three Orlando-area locations

3 Adam Stewart
Stewart Wellness & Chiropractic


1 Rise Above Tattoo
Mills 50 District

2 Trinity Tattoo Company 

3 Chicago Tattoo Company
Winter Park