HOW IT ALL STARTED

Our Story

Our Intention and Our Promise

We promise you a holiday romance… with yourself and the beautiful, natural surroundings.  An opportunity to truly relax and nourish your soul, to fall in love and begin a journey of discovery with endless possibilities.

Let Mother Nature wave her magic wand over you!

It is our intention to work in association and in partnership with the most knowledgeable and accredited professionals, locally and internationally. To share knowledge with our guests to support them on their well-being journey.

To source our fresh seasonal produce by supporting organic and permaculture farmers, the natural environment and to truly nourish you, our guests with the very best nature can offer.

The Beginning

Although originally both from the UK, we have spent the last 22 years in the Middle East and travelled extensively. We met on 16 February in 2013 (….. watch out for 16 it features frequently!) and the last few years have been an incredible journey!

Within our first year, we resigned from our corporate lives and set up an events business based in Dubai… we have been lucky enough to travel extensively with our work. It has taken us from Mexico to Marrakesh and Azerbaijan to Australia … our travels have influenced many of the elements that you will find at Maison de Lunel.

Although we don’t have a background in hospitality, we’ve stayed in many hotels and we are very particular about what works and what doesn’t… .. at Maison de Lunel our focus is very much on the guest experience… keeping things simple, chic and elegant. We know how important it is to step away from your day-to-day routine and escape, both physically and spiritually!

The Turning Point

I have always been interested in nutrition and having decided to make some significant changes to our own diet and lifestyle about 8 years ago, I was really keen to pursue my knowledge further. I completed a nutritional diploma and this provided a great basis in terms of running a structured nutritional coaching practice. Increasingly, I was inspired to learn more about plant-based nutrition and Hippocrates ethos of “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food

Our events business involved us to support many pharmaceutical conferences and I really began to appreciate the size and the power of the pharma machine – nearly all of the 45+ conferences a year that we were supporting were addressing medication for lifestyle issues – cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, pain… what I found most worrying was the lack of discussion about diet and lifestyle.

I will always remember one particular conference where the lead physician said to an audience of some 200 doctors; “we’ve lost the battle against obesity; the message of ‘eat less, move more’ is falling on deaf ears – the only way to solve obesity is bariatric surgery, the only problem is we don’t have enough surgeons to scale up… however we have now developed….”

The Kitchen at Maison de Lunel

That was a turning point for me and I knew that I wanted to learn and share as much as possible the benefits of a natural plant-based approach to better health.

Neil and I started juicing in 2015 and became hooked, we followed Jason Vale’s 7-day programme and soon after this I signed up to become a natural juice therapist through the Juice Master Academy.

How we found Lunel… or did it find us?

By the summer of 2016, we were starting to talk more and more about what’s next… and where?  

We had a crazy idea that we wanted to buy and run a boutique retreat, somewhere that we could home and share with others – somewhere that would inspire and relax in equal measures. We had a vision of a beautiful setting that would recharge the soul naturally; a sanctuary that would offer luxury and comfort and a place where our guests could truly escape, recharge and rediscover themselves.

Neil had always dreamt of living in South West France… so it seemed like the natural choice; we knew it had to be somewhere very special and somewhere that we would want to stay… somewhere with the right balance of luxury with rural escapism.

We booked a hotel in Toulouse and used that as our 5 day base to view 16 short listed properties in the region, Lunel was actually toward the bottom of the list as it didn’t tick many boxes on our checklist (e.g. at least 10 bedrooms)…

We simply fell in love with Lunel from the moment we drove through the gates and down the long driveway… the immobilier photos had not captured the unique setting and far-reaching views across the countryside and woodland. There is also a wonderful positive energy about Lunel and we feel truly blessed to be able to call it our home.

We feel it was a very magical energy that pulled us here… the day after we took the keys we noticed a roof tile leaning in the courtyard corner by the front door… when I turned it around … guess what we found? ……. 16 drawn by hand into the clay tile!

That’s why we both have a feeling that we’re supposed to be here!

The Transformation

Of course back then in those heady days, we had no appreciation for the size of the renovation project or of managing such a project in rural France whilst still running the business in Dubai. But we held on tightly to our vision and our dream (I’m not going to deny there were times when we thought it was a nightmare!)

We were looking for at least 10 en-suite bedrooms and the former Lunel only had 3! However, there was an amazing stable block and a striking old barn complete with a traditional stone trough and a tractor from the 1960s (not called Neil!).

We now offer 10 spacious en-suite bedrooms catering for up to 20 guests.  Each of our spacious bedrooms have been thoughtfully designed and wherever possible we have sourced the materials from small businesses and local artisans… quite literally from all four corners of the world. Our bedroom furniture was designed and made in Dubai, our lights were custom-made in Marrakesh and our Turkish pool towels from the Grand Bazaar in Instanbul… and not forgetting all of our local artisans and local brocantes!

The barn has been completely remodeled and transformed to now offer an 120m² multi-purpose studio with French oak floor and ambient lighting – which creates a magical effect against the old stone walls.

The former tractor and animal food store is now our communal dining room complete with professional kitchen. We have installed a new swimming pool and built a large- covered terrace… complete with outdoor kitchen, lounge area and cinema wall.

Here we are four years later and we continue to love Lunel more and more… it’s home and as has always been our dream, we just want to share this very special place with others.

More than that whilst guests are here we want to share with them a little of our wellbeing journey and help others to regain balance.

EAT MORE PLANTS!

What You Can Expect When You Retreat at Maison de Lunel

We are both passionate for a whole food, plant based lifestyle and it’s our aim to share practices that can be integrated into daily life, not only during the retreat but also after, so that our guests leave equipped with the tools and knowledge to be able make a long-term shift towards better physical and mental wellbeing through informed choices.

We believe that we are all individuals and there is no one diet that fits all – with busy lives and differing motivations we work with guests to find a nutritional and lifestyle plan that works for them. It is our aim is to empower our guests to adapt to a ‘whole food’ plant-based diet and take control of their health.

By taking a holistic and realistic approach to managing our nutritional needs we believe that by adopting even small daily changes everyone can gain immense benefits…Eat clean, Move daily, Rest well. 

We are on an amazing journey – we have learnt so much and we have met some wonderful people and made amazing friends

We hosted our first guests in September 2020 and we look forward to welcoming You!

Neil & Ross

Yours to Discover