Mayfair, by night, is the ‘Playground of Princes’, but by day, is the ultimate location for outfitters and groomers of the gentry. Here you will find the infamous Savile Row, the luxurious Old Bond Street, and the pioneer of the mid-19th century European shopping gallery, Burlington Arcade. You can have quite the quintessentially British shopping jaunt here, wrapped up nicely with a spot of afternoon tea at The Ritz. What more could you want? Well, how about something for the weekend, Sir?
You have your new bespoke suit with it’s complimentary cut; the new Italian shoes that are so stylish you feel like you are walking on a carpet of silk; you have even picked up something sparkly for the Lady of your life, so why not pop into a traditional gentleman’s barber to polish the look before you settle down for your scones and champagne?
Just a few minutes walk from Green Park tube station (and The Ritz!) you will find Curzon Street, home to Geo. F. Trumper, who are, as their website proudly proclaims;
Recognised as the finest traditional gentlemen’s barber in London and is known throughout the world for its matchless range of gentlemen’s fragrances and grooming products.
I’m sure you will agree that that is quite the bold and un-British statement, so I, your dedicated and intrepid reporter, decided that I would test this claim out for myself. Yes, I know, I really do put myself in the line of fire to make sure you, my fellow Gentlemen, are well groomed!
The first thing you will notice as you approach Geo. F. Trumper, is that you feel as if you are walking into a time tunnel. The store front to this barbers, is as traditional as it gets and doesn’t look like it has changed once since opening in the late 19th century. Your attention is instantly grabbed by it and drawn away from the surrounding modern eyesores. You are hypnotized by its presence and as soon as you open the door, take in the aromas in the atmosphere, that must surely have been the inspiration behind the stalwarts of the modern manly fragrances Brut for Men and Old Spice, you realise you have left the 21st century and all life’s stresses are left on the pavement. Now is Gentleman time. Now is your time. The world and its dog can wait whilst you have your indulgence.
You enter the premises and you can’t help but to be dazzled by the collection of products for a Gentleman. Cut-throats, razors, shaving brushes, shower gels, ties, cufflinks, hip-flasks, umbrellas, you name it, they have it. If you are short of ideas for Fathers’ Day, or even your own birthday list, this is the place to come. You have to fight with the urge to gaze longingly at all these accessories in order to get to the waiting area, where you wait for your barber to lead you to one of the original mahogany and glass cubicles. Whilst you wait, you are offered a selection of papers and magazines, fit for a true gent; a far cry from your GP surgery selection. At Christmas, you will even find a nice plate of mince pies to keep you happy. If you want to enjoy them however, you’d best turn up early because your appointment will start very promptly, something which I never thought I’d consider as a bad thing, but when somewhere is so comfortable and relaxing, you just want to spend as much time there as possible.
So onto the treatment, because that’s what it is. It’s not just a haircut and a beard trim, it is a therapeutic treatment. Omar, my barber on my first visit and with whom I have remained since, is courteous, polite, informative of his background and effortlessly builds my trust in him, a vitally important skill since a gentleman’s hair is as defining of his character as his personality and must always be treated with trusted hands.
The barber’s chair is a delight and Omar’s attention to detail in the process of preparing me with my cloak and towels is exquisite.
As my treatment moves from my hair, which after years of trying is finally cut how I actually ask, to my beard, I am laid back with damp cotton wool over my eyes to protect them from the trimmings. This whole process, combined with the delicate trimming of individual hairs in beard, eases me into a gentle slumber as the full effect of the experience takes hold and I am truly relaxed.
Unfortunately on a couple of visits, this tranquility has been disrupted by some rather over-zealous conversation by a couple of the female groomers. It has not stopped me from returning, but I sincerely hope the management address it as their approach is completely at odds with the other barbers’ and is a stark contrast to the whole experience on offer here.
However, this is my time away from the world and I won’t allow it to be ruined so I am swiftly back into my slumber. Before I know it though, the beard is trimmed and it is time to leave the cocoon of gentlemanly pampering of yesteryear, but not before being made aware of their loyalty scheme which, after five treatments, entitles the customer to a free gift of shower gel. Upon Omar’s recommendation, I opted for the Sandalwood, and he comes out trumps again. It is like having a dose of Geo. F. Trumper every morning, giving you the energy to keep your shoulders back, chest out, back straight and to face the world with an air of pride and the confidence of a Gentleman.
The art of a traditional barber is one we can not afford to lose. Every man should experience a true barbers once in their life and Geo. F. Trumper are offering gift vouchers to encourage more people to cross that threshold and actually take time out to get their hair cut, or their beard trimmed, or even to get a full wet shave and hot towel treatment. This is in fact, the way I first came across Geo. F. Trumper, when my wonderful fiancee bought me a gift voucher for my birthday. I haven’t looked back since. This is where my hair belongs. It is where I belong. It is where every Gentleman belongs.