My magical stay at Sol y Luna in Peru’s Sacred Valley
In the week prior to me going to the Sacred Valley, I would often be asked, “Where are you staying next?” When I mentioned Sol y Luna, it was always followed by “ohhs!” and “ahhs!”. So to say my expectations began to soar was an understatement.
Before arriving here, you first need to know the hotel’s unique origin. Marie Hélène Miribel, affectionately known as Petit, and her husband Franz dreamt of helping to improve the lives of some of the poorest young people in the region. In 1999, they started an education project for local children, but realised they needed to support these efforts in a sustainable way. Subsequently, the Sol y Luna was born.
With a dramatic Andean Mountain backdrop, Sol y Luna (meaning ‘Sun and Moon’) is a little slice of Peruvian heaven and a place where I instantly felt at ease when I entered the picture-perfect courtyard. After a quick check in, we were whisked off to our casita. Winding through the amazing gardens en route, it’s difficult not to get lost, as you can’t help constantly stop-starting to admire the gardeners’ handiwork. They are one of – if not the most – glorious gardens I have ever had the pleasure of walking through.
Each casita is enormous but very cosy. Everything has been considered – from alpaca throws for when the evenings draw in, to the spacious bathroom fit for a king. They have their own verandahs, which are an idyllic spot to rest and reflect on the jam-packed day you’ve had. The Sacred Valley is the gateway to adventures and activities, which makes Sol y Luna the perfect base to retreat to. My favourite way to unwind was having the fireplace lit while I reclined with a glass of red wine.
In the centre of it all is a sumptuous heated pool and the property’s latest addition: a Jacuzzi. If you have been out trekking all day, it’s a lovely spot to rest those weary legs. If you require something a little more intense, they have a lovely spa with therapists on hand at any moment.
For the equestrian lovers, Sol y Luna is home to its own stables. You can take one of their beautiful Peruvian Pasos out for a canter around the Sacred Valley, which is a great way to explore and admire the magical views. Alternatively, we can organise bike rides to the salt flats, hikes in the mountains and off-road quad biking expeditions – to name but a few.
At the heart of this place, though, is the Sol y Luna Association, and if you are there between Monday and Friday, no visit is complete without popping into the school. Ten years after the initial concept of the education project was born, 2009 saw them open the doors to this safe haven for local children in Urubamba, Cuzco. Students here can now receive a full or partial scholarship, allowing them access to teachers, transport, food, creative workshops, mental health support, trips, English lessons and Quechua (the indigenous language) classes. In 2015, they also opened a school for pupils with learning disabilities and, in 2018, a permanent shelter for those who have been abandoned or have been victims of domestic abuse. As part of your stay here, you can partake in a lesson and interact with the children. It is incredibly rewarding to witness first-hand the impact this foundation has had on the surrounding community.
Sol y Luna has uncompromising attention to detail and a caring nature runs through the soul of it. Nothing has been missed – from the immaculate rooms, the gardens and the wonderful breakfast to the welcome note and petits fours. There is so much thought, passion and pride in everything that has been accomplished, and I guarantee you, however many nights you are lucky enough to call it home, it will never be enough.
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