Globe-trotting podiatrist and pedicure specialist Bastien Gonzalez puts the “b” in barefoot luxury.
“At the Hôtel Costes, in Paris, I once worked on nine supermodels in one day,” says Bastien Gonzalez, the man who has elevated the pedicure to both a medical procedure (he’s a certified podiatrist in his native France) and an art form. “The manager told me: ‘You can retire now.’” An hour and a half in Gonzalez’s hands involves no water, no polish, and no pain. Instead, your nails will be smoothed with a tiny diamond drill and buffed with chamois leather until they are as glossy as a seashell. His signature treatment ends with reflexology to increase circulation, which is, according to Gonzalez, “the best cure for weary travelers.” And he would know. “I am on the move almost every four days,” says Gonzalez, who has a base at the Cadogan Hotel, in London. “Paris, New York, Dubai, the Maldives—I basically live in hotels!”
He first became a household name in 2001 at the One&Only Le Saint Géran, in Mauritius: owner Sol Kerzner, a devoted client, wanted the world’s most beautiful feet around his pools, and asked Gonzalez to set up shop in One&Only properties worldwide. Now he is expanding, opening Bastien-branded studios everywhere from the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona to the St. Regis in Singapore to, most recently, the Istanbul Edition. His next step? Gonzalez will launch a pedicure school in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2012, and he’s developed his own product line, to boot. Treatments from $200.
Gonzalez’s Global Picks
England: Gonzalez loves the vibrant print dresses and tops by Nigerian-born, London-based Duro Olowu. “His fabrics are amazing.” 14 Masons Yard; 44-20/7839-2387.
France: “I’m from a medieval village called Treignac, in the Massif Central. I spent my childhood swimming in its river, La Vézère. Now, I have a beautiful log cabin on its bank, in the middle of the forest. It’s where I go to retreat.”
“Paris’s Museé Rodin is my favorite. I’m fascinated by the Danaïde sculpture—it looks so different in varying lights.” 79 Rue de Varenne, 7th Arr.; 33-1/44-18-61-10.
Italy: “The black-ink risotto at Harry’s Bar is reason enough to visit Venice.” 1323 Calle Vallaresso; 39-041/528-5777; dinner for two $260.
“I’ve always had a thing for Berluti shoes. I own many pairs—I haven’t been able to stop buying them. Luckily, I can justify it because my job is all about feet!” 5 Via Pietro Verri, Milan.
South Africa: A nonprofit in Cape Town, Monkeybiz employs local female artists “whose beadwork is so stunning that some of the pieces look like they are alive.” 43 Rose St.