Cosmetician-turned-international spa empress Ronit Raphael is readying to open a new luxury location in Cannes. The health club – called L. Raphael – is located at Hotel Martinez, overlooking Boulevard de la Croisette, in the French Riviera city that swarms with film stars each summer.
"The spa is almost ready… but there's still much to be done," says Raphael, who is busy schmoozing reporters from across the globe and orchestrating her employees, some of whom have arrived from Geneva to introduce L. Raphael's meticulous treatment protocol to the Cannes facility.
The spa employs 9-12 workers year round, and is expected to employ 30 during peak season.
Raphael is the founder of the L. Raphael brand, which has several health centers in Switzerland and a facility in Moscow. She has also forged an agreement with the Four Seasons, and now operates the spas at the prestigious chain's hotels in Paris and Provence, among others.
The Cannes spa (Photo: Frederick Rubay)
"I’m an entrepreneur in my soul," she explains, noting that new spa locations are in the works for New York.
"It will happen in New York," she adds, "But New York can wait. This year we are concentrating on Cannes and Macau, where I am opening a 4,000-square meter spa in the Venetian, where 100,000 visitors arrive each day. These numbers are unbelievable."
'I was scared to say I'm Israeli'
Raphael notes that her future plans include locations in Hong Kong and Los Angeles, although she intends to avoid opening more than one spa a year.
"I have same goal I had 10 years ago, when I said I want to be Estee Lauder," She says. "(…) Every three or four weeks I travel to Europe, and I visit Israel once every two and a half months. I am a mother of three and sometimes I take them with me, although they're happy I'm not at home every few nights; I'm a tough mom sometimes."
Almost ready. Cannes (Photo: Frederick Rubay)
The business mogul says she is considering opening spas in her homeland. But Israel isn't mentioned in the presentations that are shown to reporters, which features information about the company and some biographical details about its founder.
"In Switzerland I was scared to say that I'm Israeli at first," she admits. "But here in Cannes I have been accepted with open arms. We have three Moroccan employees who are Muslim, and in Geneva a Palestinian guy worked for us for a year and a half."
Raphael says that off peak, a spa package costs €5,000-8,000, an includes a hotel room, meals and treatments. But she expects the prices to rise significantly during peak season.
The package include a blood test that checks for vitamin and mineral deficiencies, body composition tests and a strict antioxidant diet regiment.
Electromagnetic wave therapy for the skin and cellulite, oxygen therapy for the skin and various massages are among the treatments on offer. The therapies are said to be developed by the company's in house scientist, Meir Shinitzky, and are supervised by Dr. Raphael Gumener, the company's chief medical officer.