Celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, Clinique La Prairie is where the world’s rich and famous flock to for an annual wellness MOT. Set among the stunning snow-capped mountains of Montreux, Switzerland, overlooking the famous Lake Geneva, the clinic’s highly customised treatments were first pioneered by Professor Paul Niehans back in 1931.
His original residence still stands, with its buttercup-yellow awnings and spring blooms outside, but the mirrored medical centre is where the true transformations occur. Reached via an underground tunnel, you’ll find an aesthetic clinic where faces are ‘refreshed’ with injectables as well as non-invasive treatments; plus metabolisms are boosted with cutting-edge cryotherapy and bodies are recharged on glowing LED beds.
For the hefty price tag, you certainly get what you pay for. Service is impeccable, from the smooth limousine pick-up at Geneva airport to the cheerful “Bonjour!” at check-in. Rooms are split between the original building, the clinic and the chateau – the best of the bunch are overlooking the Swiss Alps, and where most of the spa, fitness and pool action takes place. The interiors are calming with art deco designs, gilt mirrors, shiny wooden floors, cosy reading spots and a colour palette of soft creams and whites. The lake-facing private balconies offering stellar mountain views (the higher you are, the better the panorama).
Though it all sounds very grand, the real reason people come here is for the science-based treatments. An army of medical specialists are on hand, along with operating theatres, post-operative rooms and recovery suites designed for guests who undergo everything from bypass to cosmetic surgery and sports rehab. Then there’s the famous detox and updated revitalisation program. The week-long agenda begins with a one-to-one session with a personal nutritionist who takes note of dietary dislikes and personal needs. Though physical activity has an important role in the program (with early-morning Pilates and air-yoga sessions), what you eat plays a huge part in the overall success of the CLP wellness plan.
The first 24 hours kicks off with a total juice diet, before two days of plant-based dishes and the gradual reintroduction of meat to your diet. Sara Busetti, the in-house Italian chef, works with all of Clinique La Prairie’s doctors to create regenerative foods that are fresh, raw, vegan and high in antioxidants and proteins. Highlights include the pasta stuffed with chickpeas, daily soups (the seasonal asparagus bowl was especially good), along with a superfood cocktail of the day and glasses of hydrogenated water, which promises to reduce inflammation.
Once the diet is fixed, a typical stay involves a visit to the medical centre where a doctor will take your bloods and give you a full mineralogy and heavy-metals test, examining your DNA to uncover any deficiencies you might have. In my case, tests revealed my magnesium was low and I had high levels of aluminium in my blood stream – the result of the creams I used on my skin.
After the test, you’re asked to present your results to aesthetic doctors who are then tasked with analysing your face during a Visia test. This involves placing your chin on a 3D-photo face scanner, while UV rays analyse everything from the amount of bacteria on your face to your elasticity and collagen levels.
Over the next few days, schedules (delivered to my door every night) revealed a roster of specialised spa and beauty treatments. The first was a full-body massage designed to rid the body of toxins and relax my muscles. In between numerous visits to the pool and hydrotherapy pool, Hicham, the clinic’s masseuse, invited me for a 45-minute infrared sauna session. I was greeted by the sight of a tube, much like your typical MRI-style tunnel, and I climbed in as the heat was turned on to cause you to sweat. The technology, he explained, is designed to detoxify the body, aid muscle recovery, boost the immune system and help you lose weight. Next, an hour-long reflexology massage helped to declog, and to my surprise, zapped away all the gym-related knots in my back and shoulders I had been suffering from for weeks.
My stay ended with a deep-cleansing HydraFacial courtesy of a therapist called Sophie. Using specialised Vortex technologies, a combination of acids are poured all over my face (glycolic, salicylic, lactic and hyaluronic) along with antioxidant serums designed to exfoliate, cleanse and protect the skin. An hour and a half later, my skin was left feeling rejuvenated, glowing and plump, reducing fine lines, hyper-pigmentation and dilated pores.
By check-out, I left the clinic looking and feeling younger, and with the knowledge I have the metabolic rate of an 18-year-old, perhaps the biggest highlight of my stay here.
Luke Abrahams was a guest of Clinique La Prairie. The Master Detox programme starts from £13,553 a person. Designed to reset the mind and body, the week-long retreat boasts a bespoke regimen including various holistic wellness treatments such as cellular purifying facial, reflexology, personal training, private medical consultations and access to the award-winning spa. The Master Detox programme is available with full-board accommodation and limousine transfers. To book, email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring +41 2198 93407.