Best Barbershop: Menlo Park Barber Shop. Pictured barber Sam Valero (owner).


Menlo Park Barber Shop has already won its second Almanac Readers' Choice Award for favorite barbershop, although it has been open only since November 2015. Owned by Sam Valero, the shop has several barbers who were with the former Golden Shears on Santa Cruz Avenue. Mr. Valero points to the shop's ambience, convenient location, untimed parking, TVs tuned to sports programming, and the barbers' personalities as factors that bring the customers back. The shop now has a hair stylist and is seeing an uptick in requests for trendy hair styles, such as undercuts and disproportionate cuts.
2100 Avy Ave., Menlo Park | (650) 391-9008 |


Customers of Tom Ramies' Portola Valley Garage, a repeat winner in the category of favorite auto repair place, have voted to put his shop in the top spot. "I want to thank this fabulous community for voting for us to be #1 eight years in a row!" Mr. Ramies said in an email. "Outstanding quality of workmanship at a fair price," said Roger N. of Portola Valley, one of hundreds of website testimonials. New for 2017: the garage has been certified by Porsche as an independent repair facility, there are new diagnostic systems for repairing BMW and Mini Coopers, and an upgrade for VW and Audi.
4170 Alpine Road, Portola Valley | (650) 851-7442 |

Best Day Spa: Watercourse Way


Private hot tub rooms are among the reasons Almanac readers have again elected Watercourse Way their favorite day spa. There are eight of the rooms, each distinctively designed. All have a shower and changing area, and others have a steam room, dry sauna and/or cold plunge. The spa treatments are carefully designed and often complement the season (such as the "Tropical Tranquility" treatment). Many on the staff of certified massage therapists get regular requests from customers. "One of the things I truly love about working here is watching someone come in stressed or distracted and then leave smiling and relaxed," says Watercourse Way administrator Tyler Hanley. "They thud in and float out."
165 Channing Ave., Palo Alto | (650) 462-2000 |


For the third year in a row, Ladera Cleaners, located in the Ladera Country Shopper, has won the Almanac's Readers' Choice Award for best dry cleaner. Co-owner Clara Rhee, who has been there 30 years, says for the last 15 years, the company has been using eco-friendly cleansers. The shop features telling tools of the trade: colorful spools of thread mounted on the wall above six sewing machines, each providing different functions for creating clothing from scratch, as well as for tailoring and alterations. Other services include wash and fold laundry, drapery and wedding dress cleaning.
3130 Alpine Road, Suite 260, Portola Valley | (650) 854-2291 |


Studio Rincon, started by owner Bill Petrin in 2010, has grown to be a local favorite, this year winning three Readers' Choice awards — for favorite gym, fitness and yoga places. Studio Rincon holds all levels of yoga classes, from absolute beginner to advanced. Additionally, it offers a variety of fitness classes including Zumba and hip-hop dance classes. "Our instructors can be inspirational and our community can be very uplifting and encouraging to each other," owner Bill Petrin says. Studio Rincon is in the process of opening a boutique on Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park called Yogarok Living. It will feature active living apparel for men and women as well as other items "inspired by active lifestyles, wellness, and community," Mr. Petrin says.
3536 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park | (650) 861-0242 |

Best Hair Salon: Olive Hill Salon. Pictured (left to right) owner Arlene Tascian-Russell, Aundrea, Gina, Barbara, and Sheri.


Olive Hill Salon has been voted favorite hair salon for the fourth time. New owner Arlene Tascian-Russell says she has "worked on adding more services and is focusing on the client experience." She was a stylist at Images in Woodside and Expressions in Menlo Park before taking over Olive Hill Salon in January. She likes running an all-Aveda salon because the companyĆ­s products are organic and not tested on animals. She calls her six stylists "highly trained and ahead of the trends," the latest being the French highlighting technique balayage.
2920 Woodside Road, Woodside | (650) 851-1150 |


Guests at the 162-room Stanford Park Hotel — located at the Menlo Park-Palo Alto border along El Camino Real — prize it for its location, staff and comfort, says the General Manger Patrick Lane. Described by guests as relaxing and quiet, the hotel is distinctive, Mr. Lane says, in its "familiar touches that make it feel like your home away from home rather than a commercialized hotel." It's a popular stay for guests ranging from business travelers to couples seeking a get-away. On tap are plans to upgrade the pool area that are awaiting permits, Mr. Lane says. At the hotel is the Menlo Grill Bistro & Bar, another Almanac Readers' Choice Award winner, in this case for favorite American restaurant and place for live music.
100 El Camino Real, Menlo Park | (650) 322-1234 |


A Touch of Elegance has won the Almanac's Readers' Choice Award for manicure and pedicure for the third year in a row. When asked why her nail care salon is so popular and busy, co-owner Hanh Ly explains: "We've been running the same operation for 18 years. We're very basic and standard; we don't do anything special, but we give good services and we're a happy salon." The business offers nail care, waxing and massages, plus potted orchids, a little side hobby her mother, co-owner Mai, enjoys.
1150 Crane St., Menlo Park | (650) 321-0679

Best Plumber: Guy Plumbing & Heating. Pictured (left to right) Bubbles, Dave Guy, Laurie Guy, Jake Guy, Glen Lepe, Yanira Cisneros, Casey Steckel, Camille Guy, Dan Cisneros, Alan Guy, Troy Malesic, & Troy Guy (not pictured Ron Prasad & Carrie Jenkins). Photo by employee, Carrie Jenkins.


Guy Plumbing & Heating has again been voted the Almanac readers' favorite for plumbing products and services. "We are family-owned — a lot of us grew up around here," showroom manager Camille Guy says. Since 1948, Guy Plumbing has been working with generations of local families. Those long-term ties to local customers and the community have been the foundation of its success over six decades. Guy Plumbing has a showroom at 1265 El Camino Real and a staff of consultants and installers to help with plumbing and heating projects.
1265 El Camino Real, Menlo Park | (650) 323-8415 |