That Famous Spa in Switzerland, Clinique La Prairie and the Product Line, La Prairie – Sorting it All Out
by Susie Ellis
(Note, if you aren’t seeing any photos in this blog post, then please read the blog at http://www.blog.spafinder.com/ as the photos will be a big help in following this timeline!)
By now I have probably lost a few of my blog readers, but I promise that this is my last post on the story of Clinique La Prairie! After many hours of research to figure out how Clinique La Prairie and La Prairie skin care products are related (they aren’t anymore), I thought I would share the timeline I created. Who knows, maybe there is one other person out there who finds this sort of thing fascinating. Also, there are a few more pieces of the puzzle to complete – like how much the skin care line was initially sold for – so I welcome any additions or corrections to this timeline.
Here is the bottom line: To keep things straight you have to be conscious of the fact that Clinique La Prairie, which refers to the famous medical spa in Switzerland, sold their product line, La Prairie, in 1982. Since that time the companies have been totally separate. Always check if the word “Clinique” is being used – if so, that means the reference is to the facility in Switzerland. If the word “Clinique” does not appear, then you can assume the affiliation is with the skin care company. Except (and, of course, this adds to the confusion), the URL for Clinique La Prairie is http://www.laprairie.ch/ and the URL for La Prairie the skin care product company is http://www.laprairie/.
Here is a snapshot of what I have found to be a fascinating story:
1931: Clinique La Prairie opens in Montreux, Switzerland. Professor Niehans begins fresh fetal ovine (sheep) liver cell injections as a method to slow down the aging process. Over half a century later, the product became known as “CLP Extract” which is used in the clinic’s signature “Revitalization” injections today.
1953: Professor Niehans treats Pope Pius XII. Clinique La Prairie becomes word famous.
1971: Professor Niehans dies.
1976: Armin Mattli, a Swiss banker, purchases Clinique La Prairie.
1978: Mattli creates La Prairie Cosmetics, a range of skin products based on the clinic’s expertise in cellular revitalization.
1982: Mattli sells his skin care line Laboratories La Prairie, Switzerland to the American-based Cyanamid Company (a large, diversified, American chemical manufacturer) for a reportedly huge sum of money which he used to finance new buildings and medical programs. (I find it absolutely fascinating that he created and sold this line so quickly and so successfully!)
1987: American Cyanamid Company sells two of their product lines, La Prairie and Jacqueline Cochran, for $54 million to Sanofi.
1987: Sanofi, very shortly after purchasing La Prairie, turns around and sells it for a $20 million profit to Georgette Mosbacher for around $30 million. La Prairie has $20 million in worldwide wholesale volume.
1991: Georgette Mosbacher globalized the La Prairie line, doubled its sales (impressive!) and then sold the company for an estimated $45 million to Beiersdorf Group of Hamburg, Germany. Mosbacher is now CEO of Borghese.
1991: Clinique La Prairie adds a new Medical Center on their property in Switzerland. It is a hospital and has a surgical theater with specialties in myriad of areas, radiology, dentistry, plastic surgery, etc.
1992: Mattli launches Prestige Products of Switzerland from which he developed a new skin care line, Swiss Perfection. It is based on Iris flower cells. Apparently his son now runs this part of the business.
2002: The World of ResidenSea – a resort community circumnavigating the globe which has private apartment residences available – launches with the first Clinique La Prairie Spa.
2002: The first spa in the United States with the La Prairie name opens in New York, called La Prairie at the Ritz-Carlton Spa.
2004: La Prairie opens its first California spa at the Beverly Hills Hotel, now called the Beverly Hills Hotel Spa by La Prairie.
2004: A La Prairie Boutique spa opens at the Ritz-Carlton Berlin.
2005: Clinique La Prairie in Switzerland adds a health spa to its facilities. They added wellness rooms, thalassotherapy, a salt water pool, etc.
2006: The Ritz-Carlton Silver Rain La Prairie Spa opens in Grand Cayman.
2006: A spa-inspired condominium project in Miami is announced. It is a new project by Armin Mattli as he spends his time between Switzerland and Miami. He is calling it Clinique La Prairie Lifestyle Residences at Te
n Museum Park. This will have a Clinique La Prairie spa without the medical aspect.
2007: Clinique La Prairie sues Ritz-Carlton over the use of the name La Prairie in New York.
2007: Banyan Tree Spa replaces Clinique la Prairie as operator of the spa on the World ResidenSea.
2009: Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage is to open a $25 million La Prairie Spa.
Re La Prairie Skin Care: I have tried some of their products and really like them – especially the subtle fragrance and the clean feel. Many people swear by them. However, I haven’t tried the entire range or used them long enough to give a thorough analysis.
Re Clinique La Prairie: After visiting, I give it a thumbs up. What I saw was impressive. To me, they appear to be a superb medical spa, possibly one of the most advanced in the world. They have a first-rate hospital. The staff is professional. They are in a fantastic location right on Lake Geneva. Lovely rooms, tastefully designed dining room, and I am thrilled to see that they now do have a very nice spa. I think that the popularity of spa around the world necessitated that recent addition and upgrade. Good for them.
So…as we left, my husband suggested I come back sometime for an “in-patient” visit. Not sure if he was referring to my need for plastic surgery or testing to see if I would try the “Revitalization therapy.” But after giving it some thought, I had to admit that the idea of coming here for a total tune-up, inside and out, was appealing. And yes, I would probably give that “Revitalization therapy” a go – in the interest of spa research of course. (Yeah, right.)
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