Room with some phew
This press trip was funded by Clinique La Prairie but the content is independently written without sign-off from the company.
I am child-ravaged and am still carrying about two stone of baby weight. The former influences the latter and I’d like to assure that I’m not upset with my aesthetic, I just feel like human foie gras. I feel stodgy, which may not be a medical term but it’s where I sit – with my bum splayed across a chair. I wheeze carrying a buggy up two steps and I feel like I’m in decline when everyone is hollering “40 is the new 30”. So when Clinique La Prairie got in touch they can tackle anti-ageing and weight loss, I was, well, at a loss for what to say. Other than: sign me up.
The clinic is in on the rather wrinkle-free Lake Geneva in Clarens-Montreux and is a one-stop centre offering an amalgm of medical and beauty treatments designed to make you look and feel fresher. This is the elixir of youth in many ways but with more pomp (fluffy robes in abundance) and ceremony (waiters in the restaurant wear white gloves). You can essentially check out with new boobs, less of an eye twitch, an ironed-out face and a shot in your bum that will have you hauling a buggy up ten flights of stairs in a flash.
Now I can’t stress enough that this isn’t about changing who you are. My maladies were fairly basic – like crackling, creaky knees from running a Marathon woefully unprepared and deep-rooted anxiety. It’s about feeling as good as you can and one woman I met was having reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy. It’s basically a safe house of medical-meets-aesthetic treatment overlooking snow-capped mountains.
Celebrities swarm here and even though the clinic won’t reveal the names of any current A-list clients, it is, however, happy to reel off a list of dead customers, including Frank Sinatra, Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, and Pope Pius XII.
You can book in for a hip replacement, triple bypass, dental implants, sports rehab, or a comprehensive general check up to work out all the creaks. Equally, in the immaculately white spa area, you can sign up for a sleep-improvement (yes, please), weight-loss, stop-smoking or detox programme, or splash the cash on a Master Detox.
Plushly old-school, the 23 rooms mostly overlook the lake, with flattering lighting (the Hollywood actors who once packed the place presumably encouraged that), marble bathrooms and beds that at the press of a button prop up the mattress, allowing effortless enjoyment of the view. In the restaurant the white-jacketed waiters glide about as smoothly as a Michelin-starred restaurant; the nutritionist injects a down-to-earth element with an instructive display of 100-calorie snacks.
Perhaps the most incredible moment was my therapist telling me she thought I needed Craniosacral therapy instead of my Swedish massage. It’s a gentle but potent way of working with the body using a light touch and she quite literally read my mind. Despite there being limited pressure, I drifted off into another world where I found myself able to cry for the first time in a long while. It’s that level of detail that Clinique La Prairie offers. It may be about medical and aesthetic treatments but it has a truly human approach. I left feeling more human and, also, able to carry a buggy up five stairs without getting a bead-on.
Clinique La Prairie is in Clarens-Montreaux, near Lake Geneva in Switzerland (00 41 21 989 33 11).