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South Florida’s Beauty Boom

South Florida’s beauty and wellness scene is heating up just in time for the return of the snowbirds. Here, a look at new spas, stores and fitness and wellness centers throughout the region. 

Tammy Fender Holistic Spa

Holistic wellness pioneer Tammy Fender’s approach to growth follows the same philosophy as her product formulas: organic. While others race for world domination, the Palm Beach-based Fender has taken a steady approach to building her business. But even this slow beauty believer couldn’t resist the opportunity to expand when the Opal Grand Oceanfront Resort & Spa in nearby Delray Beach offered its 8,000-square-foot spa with Atlantic views.

“I realized that I could offer so much more in this space and expand my wellness message,” said Fender, whose second spa and retail location opened in October. “The original in West Palm Beach is an intimate jewel box, whereas Delray has room for energy modalities like meditation and other workshops in addition to our signature treatments.”

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The spa and wellness center’s separate entrance with valet parking is as inviting to her large local following as to hotel guests. Inside, they’re greeted by a concierge, as well as a full-service hair and nail salon and large retail area. Her niche magic happens upstairs, however, where eight treatment rooms dedicated to various services like facials and scrubs also feature amenities such as salt walls, an infrared sauna and a crystal light therapy bed. The second level also houses a coed relaxation lounge and a spacious outdoor terrace, both overlooking the ocean.

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“We offer early morning meditation in the relaxation lounge and use the terrace to host guest speakers and other programs in the holistic realm,” said Fender, of the growing demand for education. “The last year and a half have been extraordinary for wellness. So many people have realized the importance of health.”

Design emulates her original spa’s calm, simple aesthetic through blond wood, oodles of natural light and white uniforms, which she describes as humble in the ashram sense. Fender is a huge nature lover, too, so elements favor fresh botanicals and healing stones from a quartz crystal meditation room to honoring the resort’s opal theme.

“We worked with the vibration of the plants’ essence, healing stones throughout and the call to the ocean to bring that energy into the space.”

10 North Ocean Blvd, Delray Beach, Fla.; 561-278-8111.


Vegan Fine Body

Vegan Fine Body
Vegan Find Body has a cross-category offering. DAN CUTRONA

They say it takes one to know one. Steven Smith teaches business management and leadership for Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business, but he’s also a longtime vegan who turned his lifestyle into a start-up that appeals to like-minded and inquisitive parties. Vegan Fine Body boutique launched a few months ago in Boca Raton, Fla., with a grand opening slated for November.

“I guess I have two full-time jobs now,” said Smith, who straddles his responsibilities by using his entrepreneurial venture as case studies in the classroom.

Smith learned a lesson about small business the hard way, when he opened the first, short-lived Vegan Fine Body in Fort Lauderdale just before the shutdown. It briefly existed next door to his much larger Vegan Fine Foods, a market and café that he plans to reopen somewhere in South Florida in 2022. Their concepts were inspired during his travels to Berlin, where he discovered and fell in love with the Veganz supermarket chain.

“We stand out because we’re entirely plant-based versus just a section for clean beauty like at Target. Shoppers don’t have to sort through items and read labels to make sure there’s no animal testing and other factors that are important to them,” he said, of vetting 100 brands for skin, hair and nail care, cosmetics, supplements, fragrances, feminine products, candles and other gifts, and a small but growing section for men’s products. “We offer about 2,000 skus that meet our clientele’s criteria. They’re comfortable knowing we did the homework for them.”

Since all that product can be a bit overwhelming, especially for newbies, he and Sara Kary, the company’s president, whom he describes as “the face of the store,” make it fun by offering a glass of wine and sample kits. She’s also the mastermind behind the Sara Kary Signature Rose Collection, whose face cleanser, face cream, eye cream and toner retail from $38 to $58.

“Many skin care brands’ ingredients are too complicated, and just because something’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy,” she said, of only using four ingredients in her line. “Everything is made from scratch locally with ingredients from small farms and herbalists.”

5250 Town Center Circle, Boca Raton, Fla.; 954-368-2632.



A number of new beauty and wellness openings are planned for Miami’s Cocowalk.

A slew of beauty and wellness concepts are part of Cocowalk’s grand reinvention. The open-air, lifestyle center in Miami’s Coconut Grove signed leases for Bluemercury, Glosslab, 3D Brow Studio, holistic fitness center Antidote Wellness Labs and SkinLab by Barba Skin Clinic, the Florida foray of SkinCeuticals’ SkinLab through a partnership with Dr. Alicia Barba. Barba, a Miami dermatologist who sits on SkinCeuticals’ advisory board, has used the line at her decade-old clinic for noninvasive skin treatments in the same building as her medical practice. Her second clinic opens in November.

The 2,000-square-foot clinic with six treatment rooms will feature SkinCeuticals’ signature treatments, in addition to her own. “With so many K to 12 schools in the neighborhood, plus University of Miami nearby, acne treatments will be a focus,” said Barba. Patients can also pick up prescriptions for acne, customize SkinCeuticals products and touch up their makeup after treatments with Dermablend, the only other brand carried here.

Launching in early 2022, Cocowalk is Glosslab’s first of three Miami locations; the hygiene-oriented, membership nail studio also plans to open in South Miami and South Beach next year.

“Miami is filled with so much art and culture, and we look forward to giving the city’s residents a chance to share that art and expression through their manicures and pedicures,” said founder Rachel Apfel Glass.

Rachel Apfel Glass
Rachel Apfel Glass will open a new Glosslab in March. Matt Oliver

Lynet and Paco Aspuru, owners of Antidote Wellness Labs in Miami’s affluent Pinecrest suburb, will open their second location in March. The couple also founded LIV Fitness Clubs in Puerto Rico, but saw a void in boutique gyms with a holistic approach. They offer dietician services for custom nutrition plans, body analysis scans, metabolic testing, classes that rotate running, weights, climbing and boxing, and recovery amenities such as infrared saunas.

“Fitness alone isn’t enough, which we especially saw during COVID-19,” said Lynet.

3015 Grand Avenue, Coconut Grove, Fla.