Maison de Lunel: Yours to Discover
Themed gîtes are becoming more and more popular but Maison de Lunel, which has been in the making for two and a half years, has taken it to a whole new level.
Experiential in nature and designed to be a haven where people can escape and rediscover themselves, this massive project has involved a major change in lifestyle and an enormous restoration.
A labour of love born out of their best experiences from the many places they have stayed as part of their “previous corporate lives”, Ross and Neil Beckley have transformed a set of old buildings in Mauroux, Lot, into a luxurious, relaxing retreat that offers a wide variety of courses to truly nourish the mind, body and soul.
“Open to Ideas and Yours to Discover”
Yoga is just one of the many options
“It all started in 2016”, explains Ross, “with a lazy conversation about what’s next and where. Neil had always wanted to move to France and we had a yearning to create a boutique retreat so, a few days later, we were on our way to Toulouse to view 15 properties.
“At the time we were living in Dubai, running a small events business so you can see how serious we took this thirst for change and an improved lifestyle. Having travelled extensively with our work we were looking for something very special, a place where we would want to stay, and somewhere where people could escape to and rediscover themselves.
“As with all the best laid plans, our checklist of must-haves went completely out of the window when we first saw Lunel. Driving through the gates, we could see the potential immediately but, more than that, we fell in love with the place with its far reaching views and 35 acres of designated Natural Area. However, it only had 3 bedrooms, not the 12 en-suites we were looking for, but it did have an amazing stable block and a striking old barn.”
The accommodation, which is ideal for weddings as well as courses and private parties, now comprises 10 spacious en-suite bedrooms, including two self-contained apartments and two small cottages. The stone barn was blitzed and now offers a 120m² multi-purpose studio space with fabulous French oak floors and dramatic albeit ambient lighting, whilst the former tractor and animal food store has become the communal dining room with a professional kitchen that’s ideal for external traiteurs.
The design is chic and elegant and peppered with furniture and decorative objects from small businesses and artisans from the local area as well as international craftsmen and women.
The heated swimming pool and large covered terrace combine with a lounge area and cinema wall to provide relaxation, and the professional gym offers a treadmill, bike and elliptical trainer. There’s even an infra-red sauna.
Mind, Body and Soul
As a nutritional adviser and weight loss coach, and currently training to be a natural juice therapist, Ross is keen to help people discover the tools and knowledge to make a long term shift towards better physical and mental wellbeing. “No one visits us without sampling the juice of the day, especially the apple, lemon and ginger shooter”. It really is Maison de Lunel: yours to discover.
However, it’s not all about nutrition and lifestyle, the mind is catered for too with self-help, painting, amateur dramatics, creative writing and crafting opportunities.
“Course leaders, practitioners and teachers who are looking for a dedicated venue for their experiential courses are encouraged to come and take a look.” Adds Ross. “Yours to Discover is our philosophy and, as part of our service, we take care of the menus and catering, relaxation and spa treatments, airport transfers and, if required, bespoke excursions. The course leaders can even have their own separate accommodation to experience some private down-time.
“We have courses planned from yoga, natural juice detox and naturopathy to cycling, making natural cosmetics and mindfulness. ‘The Best Ever You – Unlock your Power and Claim your Potential’ at the end of June, for example, an inspirational 6-day retreat for women. It aims to help women to push themselves beyond what they thought they were capable of, and understand that they are only bound by the limits they create.”
Run by a certified health and life coach with over 10 years’ experience, this is typical of the forward-thinking philosophy behind Maison de Lunel.
First published in the March/April issue of The Local Buzz
Images: Maison de Lunel