Release Well-Being Center Boston Featured In Boston Magazine

When the cold weather sets in, it can feel harder to find ways to exhale after a long week. After all, trips to The Cape are on pause and long walks outside are becoming less enticing by the day. But overlooking Boston’s Public Garden, there’s a collection of iconic European-inspired storefronts known as The Heritage On The Garden that can help you abate those seasonal blues and focus on yourself as you step out for a Saturday of self-care. At these shops, salons, and restaurants, you can pursue renewal with physical tune-ups, decadent meals, and retail therapy. Mario Russo, owner of The Heritage On The Garden’s Salon Mario Russo, one of Boston’s most highly sought-after salons, describes the experience at The Heritage On The Garden best: “There’s nothing like it in Boston,” he says. We sat down with Russo to learn about his favorite dishes, styles, and treatments at The Heritage On The Garden this season—ones that might even make you want to abandon the warmth of your cozy couch.

Take time to focus on your full-body wellness

Russo is excited to have a new neighbor at The Heritage On The Garden, Release Well-Being Center. Release is the passion project of Founder and President Linda Townsend, whose Westborough-born wellness facility aims to bring together different facets of holistic wellness under one roof. As an avid tennis player, Russo loves contrast therapy, which involves spending alternating blocks of time in the infrared sauna and the ice bath. Russo uses this treatment for recovery from playing tennis, but he finds it’s also great for boosting energy levels and reducing inflammation. “It’s just amazing,” he says. Release offers clinical consults by an expert esthetician, who will discuss your skin concerns and goals before recommending treatments like facials. They may recommend the Essential Youth Reset, which uses sound waves and electrical currents to help your skin absorb a vitamin and peptide-packed facial treatment. To combat dry skin going into the winter, the Essential Moisture Boost will use hyaluronic acid to not only hydrate the skin but reduce the appearance of fine lines. Release will also offer custom massages, body treatments and alternative healing therapies. Aside from the healing therapies, you can luxuriate in Release’s signature Bliss relaxation lounge, participate in workshops, and hold private events for your friends. That way, you can all experience that bliss and renewal you need.

Indulge in a luxe salon experience

Russo explains that his salon’s unique and intentional approach to hair care could be the perfect addition to your self-care Saturday—plus an opportunity to prime your look for the evening. Whether you’re a new or returning client, you’ll be greeted by name and made to feel at home in the classy-yet-cozy salon. Your greeters will treat you to refreshments and your stylist will sit with you to discuss your hair vision. “It’s very personalized, and we make sure that we match the right stylists with the right clients,” Russo says. Then, you’ll enjoy a blissful moment in Russo’s favorite section of the salon, the hair washing suite—which he calls the ‘lather lounge.’ “We’ve designed it so that it’s very comfortable. You’re virtually reclined,” he says. “It sets the tone, bringing your stress levels down.” Salon Mario Russo is brand new (they recently moved off of Newbury Street after 38 years), and in redesigning the space, Russo chose features that would optimize the ambiance. Surround-sound technology, for example, envelops clients in soft music tailored towards the time of day. “We made the investment in Bang & Olufsen residential speakers, which adds another layer of relaxation and makes it feel less commercial and more loungey,” says Russo. Russo also revamped the air filtration system to minimize infamous hair color smells. “When you walk in, you don’t even have any odors because that air is constantly circulating and pumping fresh air through the space,” he adds. While you enjoy a masterful cut, color, or treatment by some of Boston’s most talented hair stylists—Russo recommends their professional deep conditioning going into the dry winter months—you can also enjoy the renewing energy of natural light flooding in through the salon’s floor-to-ceiling windows. “Even in January when our clients are first arriving, it’s very bright, very sunny, and very happy,” he says.

Treat yourself to some of Boston’s most beloved food

Russo can’t say enough about The Heritage On The Garden’s two restaurants, Bistro du Midi and Legal Sea Foods. The Salon Mario Russo team frequents both, enjoying the extensive wine list and mouthwatering menu at Bistro du Midi and quick, always-fresh meals at Legal Sea Foods. Bistro du Midi’s proximity to the Public Garden is one of Russo’s favorite parts about the restaurant. “Having those French doors open up, you really feel that connection with the Public Garden,” he says. “It’s calm and quiet, and very relaxing.” Russo is especially taken with Bistro du Midi’s tuna niçoise salad. The executive chef, Robert Sisca, hails from New York City’s seafood mecca Le Bernardin, so many, like Russo, look to the fish dishes on the menu. But Russo’s clients also rave about the Bistro burger, the French onion soup, and the bouillabaisse. Legal Sea Foods, Russo says, is a fantastic option on the Arlington side of The Heritage On The Garden that he often visits for lunch. It’s also a more family-friendly option for those spending the day with little ones in tow. Locals love the lobster roll, cioppino, and the seared scallops.

Try some fall couture on for size

Retail therapy is a tried-and-true mood booster, and something Russo says is a must when visiting The Heritage On The Garden. Home to designers like Hermes, Bottega Veneta, Giada, and Anne Fontaine, The Heritage is a one-stop shop for all the latest luxury fashion. At Hermes, Russo recommends sweaters, joggers, and blankets for the colder months. “The cashmere is beyond,” he says. “It’s the only cashmere that you can actually put on without a tee shirt under it—you can just melt into it.” Shoppers in search of women’s fashion can find more fall styles at St. John, where eclectic colors and patterns meet timeless styles in evening wear, knits, basics, and holiday party looks. Russo’s clients also love Anne Fontaine for the baby-soft cotton and timeless Parisian fashion. Those looking for long lines and modern simplicity can find both at Giada. Russo also recommends the leather goods from Bottega Veneta for the fall, like the lace-up Haddock Boot, which could make the perfect versatile accessory for anything from casual daytime looks to chic night-out ensembles. But he says if you’re in need of recommendations or inspiration for your seasonal looks, the managers of the stores are always willing to consult. “Many of these managers have been there from day one,” he says—The Heritage On The Garden opened in 1988. “So there’s a consistency and constancy to the people who are serving you or facilitating your needs.”