Best Spa 2012 | Exhale Miami | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times

Are you ready for a craniosacral massage? It's not some twisted fetish thing involving skulls and male private parts. It's a spa treatment at Exhale Miami that gently removes accumulated stress from the central nervous system and facilitates meditation. If you're looking for a treatment that works on the surface, try the Glow Body Scrub, which uses dry brushing, a citrus sugar scrub, and white tea lotion to make your skin feel like it's 1992. If a little poke is what you need to relax, try Exhale's many acupuncture and fusion therapies. (What did you think we meant?) There's also reiki and cupping for alternative-healing junkies. Want to take a more active role in your relaxation? Exhale is universally praised for its incredible yoga instructors, who offer group and private sessions that leave devoted students blissed out and begging for more. Especially popular are the Core Fusion and Exhale Slow Flow classes, led by Jodi Carey, a former Broadway dancer who's been teaching yoga for more than a decade. Then suck some Zen right through your pores with a Cool Beam facial, which uses antibacterial light to spark a collagen growth spurt. What truly makes this full-service spa exceptional is its professional and friendly staff members, who keep customers coming back whether they're full-time residents or twice-yearly passers-through.

Suffering from the ever-present Miami shine of sunblock and sweat? Fear not! At Skin Institute, not only do you walk away with the cleanest face in the 305, but also you're treated like royalty while trained technicians scrub the grime from your pores. Between the complimentary juices made in-house and the bag of freebies you leave with, the facial is just the icing on the cake. Depending upon how disgusting your skin has gotten, you can opt for an "Acne Maintenance Facial," which is $70 for 80 minutes, or a scouring "Deep Pore Cleansing Facial," which runs 60 minutes for $60. Feeling the need for more of a pampering session? Enjoy the $90 "Champage and Caviar Facial" for 70 minutes of heaven. And if caviar isn't good enough for your face, spring for the $300 "24 Karat Gold Facial," during which you are slathered and caressed for 140 luxurious minutes.

Helmed by Dr. Marcy Alvarez — a young, supercool, and hysterically funny dermatologist and University of Miami grad — Lincoln Road Dermatology is a new boutique-style medical office specializing in all things zit, mole, mark, and, above all, hair removal. Go in for a consultation regarding your furry back, fuzzy feet, overgrown armpits, and tragic bikini line and Dr. A will tell you what it takes to get you looking like a newborn in no time. Her secret: the Lightsheer Duet, which is virtually painless, faster, and more effective than most lasers. And it has a larger spot size, so it covers more surface area with each touch. It's suitable for most skin types, and results are seen after only one treatment. Typically, you'll find your trouble spots virtually hair-free after only four to five visits, and the total cost is less than you might think. Woohoo! All you gotta do is strip down to expose the fur, put on some sunglasses, lie back, and deal with the weird feeling of having a machine gently suck at your (sometimes naughty) bits. If you're embarrassed at the thought of having the doc zap parts of your body you have never seen, just giggle uncomfortably and she'll ease the experience with some lighthearted conversation. Or you two can debate the merits of why some guys dig bush and others prefer their lovers' private parts to be as slick as a Barbie doll's.

Going to the hair salon can be pretty damn stressful. You're basically trusting some relative stranger (unless, of course, your stylist is your actual relative) with your precious tresses. And let's face it — even air traffic controllers screw up once in a while. We can't think of a more appropriate time to be a little buzzed than when someone is working with scissors or a 450-degree flatiron near your face. Problem is, most salons don't serve booze. Which is why we love Rik Rak. Not only does it serve beer and wine, but there's also a full espresso bar. Skipping off to the salon on your lunch break? Order a salad or sandwich from Rik Rak and eat it in the styling chair or take it back to the office after you've been properly coiffed. And if it's one-stop shopping you're after, check out the shoe selection here. Because after spending an hour getting a winter's worth of dead skin scraped from your heels, you'll need a new pair of peep-toe pumps. In a city of convenience, Rik Rak is the only place we know where you can booze it up and actually look better than you looked before you started drinking.

A man can tell a lot about a woman by her hair. Is she the type of gal who hits the ground running out of bed and off to work, or the kind to wake up two hours early just to make sure every strand is in place? Whatever your preference, every type of lady loves Salon Vaso. Sure, it's a little pricey (haircuts run from $40 to $90, with color treatments costing up to $320), but we're talking about hair here. It's easily the most recognizable thing about a person, so why shouldn't you treat it well? Salon Vaso is the spot to spoil your locks. It offers more than just cuts: Check out the keratin treatments for $200. The customer service is supreme, and with the salon's chic décor, you'll feel like a million bucks.

Whether you're beating your hands to a pulp hauling fish out of the Atlantic Ocean or banging those cuticles on a keyboard all day, sometimes nothing feels better than getting your nails done up properly. At Brickell Nail Spot, 35 bucks buys a perfect French pedicure: no missed corners, no jagged filings, no uneven tips. Don't you hate it when the manicurist makes your cuticles bleed? It's the worst. You don't get that here. Just beautiful nails at a reasonable price (a regular manicure will set you back $15, with pedicures for $30). The shop is clean and relaxing, it's open Sundays, and you don't need an appointment. And the really attractive owner makes for great scenery while you're getting your digits done.

Why would a Miamian ever need a tanning salon? Beats us. But for people who don't want to take advantage of the free sun, Tan V is the next best thing. The attentive staff and clean facilities make a visit pleasant enough that you won't miss the sand in your butt crack and loud stereos in your vicinity. And with two locations in Miami Beach and Coral Gables, you're never really that far from a quick spray or tanning bed session. The real advantage here comes from getting a membership, which starts at $19.88 a month and allows you to use an array of tanning beds, from standups to traditional beds. But if you want to spare your skin future visits to the dermatologist, do the VersaSpa spray tan, which starts at $39 for three sessions. Just avoid going full-Snookie orange.

Walk into this joint and you probably won't feel like you just entered a sex shop. As long as you ignore all the dildos, lube, and floggers, that is, and focus on the clean, well-lit ambiance and the polite, cheery clerks. But who wants to do that? Dixie Adult Book and Video is like the Gap of porn shops. Apart from the extensive collection of sex toys and other pleasure enhancers, Dixie offers a wide and varied collection of skin flicks. Wherever — and we do mean wherever — your sexual tastes lie, you will find your fetish on DVD at this den of deviancy in the Dirty South. But why take the movie home when you can watch it right there? Dixie has a megaplex, fools. You read right: a megaplex. There are not only private viewing booths ($5 for 30 minutes) but also full theaters, which means you can sit in a darkened room with a bunch of other hornballs and watch pornos all day. Yes, all day. For ten bucks, you can relax in the theater for as long as you want (or can), and for $12, re-entry is allowed — which means you can leave to eat lunch or buy a pack of Juicy Fruit and go right back to your porn. Talk about getting more bang for your buck.

Photo by Kristin Bjørnsen

In business since 1979, Shoe Gallery is a true Miami classic, but it's not the kind of store that rests on its laurels. The inventory here is always forward-thinking, and the store's reputation means they often carry super-limited-edition kicks that you can't find anywhere else in the state — and sometimes the world. Looking for the latest special-edition LeBrons? Got 'em. Want high-fashion collaborations like Missoni for Converse or Jeremy Scott for Adidas? Got 'em. On the hunt for $50 kick-arounds? Got those too. There's a reason Shoe Gallery is the first stop in the 305 for sneaker freaks (even of the celebrity variety). It's because there are few places in the world that keep their sneaker game so on point.

Alexandra Rincon

We 20-somethings are really busy sticking it to The Man. We don't need no offices or 9-to-5 slave gigs. We're just fine selling our handmade wares on Etsy and blogging our way to the top. But slouching in front of a computer in bed all day is no way to live. Starbucks is famous for its Wi-Fi, but it's too played-out, crowded, and corporate. So where does a web entrepreneur go to get some work done while maintaining authenticity? There are plenty of cute coffee shops, bars, and sandwicheries around the city to get your blog on, but why pick one when you can have all three? Lester's is the perfect place to post up on your laptop with some premium coffee, craft beer, or wine. Plus the place boasts a solid menu of wraps, sandwiches, and snacks to hold you over while you toil. The prices are reasonable — a shot of espresso is $1.75, and a delicious cappuccino is $4. If you're in a boozin' mood, there's also local beer such as Monk in the Trunk and Jai Alai for $6. Need a distraction? There's foosball, darts, and an array of awesome niche magazines to flip through. The atmosphere is laid-back with a fun sense of humor. (One wall is dedicated to awesome mustache pictures. If you bring in that hysterical photo of your dad from the '70s, the friendly staff would be happy to add it.) When you're finally done staring at Facebook — um, working — you can walk across the street to Wynwood Walls and enjoy works from some of the best street artists in the world. Now that's what this generation is talking about.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®