What do you consider your team’s greatest achievement? In some parts the Sol y Luna team crosses between the hotel and foundation - for eg our finance team oversees both wings of Sol y Luna and this means that our foundation incurs very few extra administration costs and any money donated or taken from hotel bookings can go direct to the 250 children for whom we care. I see this as a great achievement. I am also very proud of their high standard of service and detail throughout the hotel and grounds.
What do you most value in a hotel for your own holidays? I adore making a connection with local people, so service always comes high. But also local details that give a hotel a sense of place - there's no point travelling far and wide to stay in a generic hotel that could be anywhere. I like to experience new and local flavours, styles and tastes.
What is one place nearby that every one of your guests should discover? Of course our guests are attracted to the area by the wonder that is Machu Picchu, however there are many Inca sites around the Sacred Valley that are much lesser known and which you will most likely enjoy yourself without another tourist in sight. I would suggest setting out from our stables on one of our Peruvian paso horses, heading up through the outskirts of Urubamba and into the mountains above - our guides will show you a genuine and unseen side mainly enjoyed by the locals.
What is your dream journey? The place I have been that most captivated and amazed me geographically was Antarctica. My dream journey changes each year, but this year I dream to travel my train around Europe with my 18 year old daughter Melanie.
What local dish do you never tire of eating? I love seafood, we have some ceviche that is made from sustainably sourced local fish - I could eat that each day!
What motivated you to become a hotelier? I was motivated to become a hotelier as a way of funding the Sol y Luna Foundation. My main drive has always been to ty and improve inequality and poverty by means of educating the next generation. My husband Franz and I moved to Peru's Sacred Valley to work in education, we came about the idea of creating our hotel as we needed funds and at the time (20 years ago) there were no luxury hotels in the Sacred Valley so we saw a gap in the market and a way of raising funds for our foundation via tourism. We were one of the first to move towards regenerative travel and travel as a genuine force of good for the local community.
What was your greatest extravagance in creating your hotel? We decided to go into the luxury sector as it is lower impact and higher yield. As a French person, I liked the idea of becoming part of Relais & Chateaux so that the hotel would meet its exacting standards... and also because as an independent hotelier without a background in the industry (my background is trading!) it is a great source of learning and support. Our greatest extravagance was probably the original art throughout the hotel, we have unique pieces, murals and statues in each casita and communal area - and the man behind the art, Peruvian artist Federico Bauer, spends a month on site each year so really the art is alive and always evolving. We also have the most beautiful swimming pool and spa which was an extravagance, but one that our guests very much use and appreciate.
Where do you feel happiest on your property? I feel most happy with my guests, staff or with the children of the Sol y Luna Foundation which is just alongside the hotel.
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