When Lynne Florio began to create the concept for the
first La Prairie spa, her thoughts immediately turned to her loyal customers.
The president of the luxury Swiss skincare brand wanted to design a piece of heaven for her clients, a place where they could feel utterly spoiled and rejuvenated.
That place was Silver Rain, the exclusive La Prairie spa nestled in the confines of The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.
“I always wanted to build a haven for La Prairie,” says Lynne, who has been at the helm of the brand for more than 20 years. “When we sat down to design the spa, we started with the customer. What does she want? How does she want to feel? How can we make her comfortable?
“Most spas tend to be too architectural in design. They haven’t actually considered the customer. We wanted to draw the customer in, but also give her a reason to keep coming back time after time.”
This attention to the customer’s needs has proved successful for both Silver Rain and The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman since the spa opened six years ago; the clientele is comprised of locals and tourists, who continue to return to this beauty sanctuary for its relaxing environment and deluxe treatments. One of the attractions is Silver Rain’s alliance with La Prairie, a Switzerland-born, New York-based company that has pioneered the science of skincare.
Lynne’s design concept for Silver Rain was twofold; she wanted to create a unique, lavish environment, yet also stay true to the fundamentals of La Prairie. Compounding the demands of the situation was the fledgling relationship with The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.“We met with [Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman owner] Michael Ryan and he wanted something exclusive, something never seen before. He wanted it to be one of the most exclusive, talked-about places,” Lynne laughs. “I think when you have that pressure it forces you to deliver.
“Michael’s vision was for a different environment. When you enter, the sound is different, the temperature is different, there’s a sense of movement. We knew it was The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, and it has its own style and brand, but we also wanted to take a chance.”
La Prairie enlisted the help of New York-based Carl D’Aquino and Francine Monaco, of D’Aquino Monaco, to bring the vision to life. With only the name, Silver Rain, as inspiration, Carl D’Aquino set about creating the ultimate spa experience, with water as the predominant theme.
“Lynne was developing the perfume, Silver Rain, at the time, and all we had was the name,” Carl says. “We were taking a very Swiss company and moving it to the Caribbean.
“We started with the idea of water in its many states. We looked at the purity of water, with Swiss glaciers, water from mist to ice, to the warmth of the Caribbean blue.
“Our other key note point was La Prairie’s packaging, which is very classy and geometrical. So we used the themes of water and colours, of the blues and whites and silvers, and followed them through the spa.”
“Water is a force of life, and that’s why we used it so prominently at Silver Rain,” Lynne agrees. “It’s tied in really well here because it reflects a sense of place. We wanted to bring the external into the internal.”
Silver Rain stretches over 20,000 sq. ft., the biggest La Prairie spa in the world, with 17 treatment rooms, a nail salon, saunas, a whirlpool spa, and Silver Haven lounge.
Carl and Francine have left their impression on every inch of Silver Rain, from the architecture to the furnishings, creating a luxurious space with an acute attention to detail. The entrance, or water room, has an almost glacial feel, with ethereal lighting, stalactite structures and fused glass conjuring images of Switzerland’s ice-capped mountains. The reception has an abstract feeling, with textured carpets juxtaposing against the quartzite floor, a uniquely Swiss stone. The changing rooms are the epitome of glamour, “beautiful enough to be lounges”, Carl says, with wall caviar, sparkling chandeliers and the introduction of shiny whites, soft blues and demure greys. Upstairs, Silver Haven lounge offers a serene environment, akin to a cocoon, with customised lounges and textured curtains to create privacy. Even the treatment rooms are a lesson in the aesthetic, with crushed silk walls and mirrored mosaic backsplashes.
“Our physical environment was very sensual, very modern. We wanted it to be a very sensory experience,” Carl says.
“We designed every inch of the space. Francine and I designed all the furniture in most of the spaces. There is a minute attention to detail. In the reception and water room, we introduced little touches that trail through the spa. Every space has a scent so it feels different. Entering the reception is like a cleansing experience. You are in a new place, in the world of Silver Rain.”
Lynne believes the many facets of the spa reflect the many social and physical stages that a woman experiences.
“We wanted to target all the transitions in a woman’s life,” says Lynne. “When you walk into the reception, there’s a real wow factor. Most receptions are small and crowded, but this is such a gracious space. You’ve entered the world of La Prairie.
“When it comes to skincare, women really have the luxury of choice. At Silver Rain, the experience is customised to your needs. Whether you’re single, in a couple or with a big group of friends, it allows a different experience. You feel comfortable there.”
Lynne says the relationship between La Prairie and Silver Rain is one of the reasons the spa is such a success. She has loved working with The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, as both businesses have one main concern – the customer.
“We’ve really loved working with the Ritz because our standards are compatible. At the core, both businesses are about the customers,” Lynne explains.
“There’s also a lot of trust there. Michael said, ‘I want the best’, and that was very easy for us to work with.
“Five years later, Silver Rain is still growing, which is a real testament to the business. We have people that come and stay at the Ritz because of the spa.”
Carl agrees that Silver Rain has set the standard when it comes to luxury spa experiences.
“It has been an extremely interesting collaboration [between D’Aquino Monaco and La Prairie] because this is the first Silver Rain spa in the world. We were establishing that identify for the perfume [Silver Rain] and for the brand.
“[Now] it’s the most successful spa worldwide in the Ritz-Carlton chain. Moving forward, all the La Prairie spas will have that feel.”
Lynne says Silver Rain will expand when The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman decides to expand. In the meantime, La Prairie aims to continue updating the products and services available at the spa, offering Grand Cayman the ultimate pampering experience.
“We have to bring the best to our customers,” she explains. “As trends come in, we will adapt.
“I always say that if I can’t be the best, I want to be better,” Lynne laughs. “It’s really a constant evolution.”