Much like ‘tousled, bedhead hair,’ or ‘luminous-yet-matte skin,’ the phrase ‘best-kept secrets’ is one of those phrases so beloved of editors that it no longer has any real meaning. With that caveat, though?

Salon Ruggeri is one of New York’s best-kept secrets.

Housed in a heartbreakingly beautiful Murray Hill brownstone, it’s the brainchild of Aussie stylist/color Greg Ruggeri and interior designer partner Craig Longhurst.  Greg Ruggeri has worked for the likes of Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Yves Saint Laurent and since coming to Manhattan in 2010, his salon has been praised as a 2012 Pick for Hair Cuts in InStyle’s Beauty Black Book issue, a New York magazine “Best of New York” winner, and many other a lofty accolade. The salon is particularly praised for its bright-but-never-brassy blondes.

So when we were invited in for an appointment, how could we say no? We trekked out to Murray Hill, to a picturesque, largely residential block of East 37th Street. After being buzzed in, we headed up a flight of steps, only to be thoroughly transported.

The salon is an immaculately decorated, airy space that’s at once cozy and elegant. Our stylist, Cassie, led us to one of the two chairs (she and Greg are the sole stylists at the salon) that look out onto 37th Street, and handed us a beverage menu. A few minutes later we were presented with our earl grey in a darling tea pot, accompanied by sides of lemon and sugar.

Cassie, who has been working in salons since the tender age of 15 in Sydney, chatted with us about what we were hoping to achieve. We told her about the all-over, ash blonde highlights we envisioned, and she got to work preparing bleach.

What ensued was bar none, the single most relaxing salon experience we’ve ever had. As Cassie (who is beyond lovely, and a damned snappy dresser with a fabulous blonde bob) painted our strands with swift precision, we chatted beauty products, New York neighborhoods, and the dangers of shopping at Zara. Sipping our earl grey, we marveled at the ease of conversation—a rare thing when at some salons you’re trapped with a stylist who clearly feels obligated to make small talk. Cassie explained Ruggeri’s “mapping” technique where highlights are concerned, which mimics the natural patterns of hair growth to avoid unsightly stripes or lines when highlights grow out.

Once our color developed, we were treated to an efficient but luxurious shampoo using Australian import line evo (Ed. note: Expect more on their phenomenal products soon!). Cassie took us back over to her chair, trimmed our brittle, split ends, and gave us one seriously silky blowout.

And the highlights? Pale, ash blonde lashings so delicately dispersed that you’d never know they had been painted on.

Ruggeri has taken our expectations of what a salon experience can be to a whole new level, and that’s saying something. Whether you’re hoping to switch up your look, or just lose those dead ends, we can’t recommend them enough. Get thee to Murray Hill, yesterday!

Salon Ruggeri, 115 East 37th Street, NYC 10016. 212.229.2094. Highlights from $150; Women’s cut and blowout $150; Single process color from $120.

Images: Salon Ruggeri.