Lymphatic massage, compression boots, and trips to the drugstore (no scrunchie? no problem!) are all on the menu. “We’re big on the concierge side,” says Amy Dunfrund, director of operations at Prestige. “One patient had a specific vegan restaurant that she wanted food from. Another needed makeup to be picked up at Saks Fifth Avenue, and it was right before the store was about to close, but we were down the street, so we met her makeup consultant to get the products.”
These service providers do not function as arms of the hotels, but they do have deals with them, some including discounts on rooms, designated blocks, and accessible IV drips. Patients pay for the room, plus the cost of staffing it with a nurse for 12 or 24 hours a day, with total costs ranging from about $750 to $3,000 per night. Most patients opt for a two- or three-night stay, though some shell out for a month or more.
“It’s probably saved some marriages,” says Julius Few, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Los Angeles and Chicago, whose Chicago patients have the option to stay at the Four Seasons, The Peninsula, or the Waldorf Astoria. “It’s intimidating [to take care of someone after surgery], and obviously their partner wants to make sure they do everything right. And the patient is kind of suffering with the initial phase of the [recovery] process,” he continues. “It creates a lot of emotions and that extra layer of stress can impact the whole recovery process. Being in a plush environment that is nurturing and nonintimidating takes a lot of the stress away.”
While many recovery services in L.A. are independently contracted, Dr. Few’s practice handles its own, staffed with nurses he employs. He checks on patients staying at the Four Seasons, in-room IVs are available to alleviate nausea, and room service is left in the hallway for nurses to grab (an extra level of discretion appreciated by patients). Dr. Few also employs “runners” who will pick up prescriptions or comfy loungewear for patients. “They’ve gone to Neiman Marcus to pick up lingerie or bras, especially after a breast augmentation, or athletic leisurewear,” he says.
Dr. Few has been providing ritzy recovery care for the past 15 years, after patients began flying in from as far away as Hong Kong for breast augmentations and face-lifts. They often traveled alone and, since you can’t fly right after surgery, “we had to put together a process to make it easy for them,” he explains. He started floating the idea of staying at the Four Seasons, which is in the same building as his surgery center, where his nurses can wheel patients right to their rooms, and then help with everything a partner might, like bathroom visits and post-op drains (we will spare you the details). As more patients flew in, more rooms were booked. “The management at the Four Seasons reached out to me and said, ‘Hey, can we take you out to lunch?,'” says Dr. Few. “That’s really how it started. They said, ‘We want to facilitate this.'” Now, his patients book over 50 nights a year for post-op care.