Before the “After”

There’s much more to post-op healing than chilling on the sofa watching TMZ. Isabella Koretz and Karina Stavitsky, co-owners of the Pearl Recovery Retreat at the SLS Hotel, reveal the ugly truth
People come to us because they want time away from the children, the pets, and the chaos that goes on at home. Also when they’re home, there’s no one to check vital signs or take them to the bathroom. We’re not a medical facility, so no special license is required, but we do provide auxiliary medical care. It’s as if someone went home and hired a nurse, only more luxurious.

About 60 percent of our patients are local. The rest are from all over the world. We have a lot of patients from Russia—we ourselves are Russian—so we do marketing there. We also get a lot of patients from the Middle East and Mexico, but we’re here to accommodate everybody, from L.A. Unified teachers to the royal families of Saudi Arabia.

Our patients get face-lifts, eyebrow lifts, injections. Then there is the body: anything that has to do with breast augmentation, liposuction, or “Mommy Makeovers,” which involve a tummy tuck and a breast augmentation, reduction, or lift. There’s vaginal rejuvenation. That’s superpopular. Most patients stay three to five days. It’s $875 a night for a regular room, $1,100 a night for a suite; weekends cost more. That doesn’t include incidentals from the hotel, like movies or extras such as food and certain medical supplies.

All of our rooms are on the third floor in one wing, which we rent from the hotel. Patients arrive through a secret entrance, go up through the back on the service elevator, and are brought to their rooms in a wheelchair. There they are “admitted” to the hotel by a nurse. While they’re resting, we give them chicken broth and crackers if they are nauseated. Our chicken broth is by chef José Andres. If patients are completely out of it, the nurse feeds them.

A lot of doctors have a protocol we need to follow, even for things like applying ice. Icing is huge. For a nose job, for instance, ice has to go on the area 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, for the first 24 hours. The nurse does this, even in the middle of the night. The results are a lot quicker and better. Some doctors specify crushed ice; some want cubes. If a patient has had a face-lift—of course it depends on what kind; there are a million different ones—the doctor’s orders might be to apply a two-inch-thick layer of Aquaphor Healing Ointment every hour.

Each patient is different: Some need that additional step of security, of being told every ten minutes they’re doing OK. Some people just want to be left alone. Some just want the medical attention. Others just want to be pampered and brought their fancy food and have someone make appointments to get their hair done or a spa treatment. We’ll help patients get up and walk them to the bathroom, make sure they don’t fall off the toilet. We will wipe them. We’ll take them to the shower, wash their hair in a special sink, help them brush their teeth. We’ll change their underwear, their pads. There is nothing too gross—we do the whole nine yards.