The Sol y Luna is a fabulous hotel by anyone's standards. Located in Peru's Sacred Valley, surrounded by the Andes, and Relais & Chateaux accredited, you know it's going to be a good experience before you get there. What you may not know though is that this isn't just any upmarket hotel. Set up by an intrepid and big-hearted French woman, it exists to support an education project in the valley, and to help improve the lives of the people who live there. Below is an interview with Petit (as she is known), the driving force behind the Sol y Luna Association.
Sustainable tourism is: Connecting our hospitality business with the true culture and real people of the Scared Valley.
What we’re doing: Our inspiration and drive for Sol y Luna originates in thinking of the hotel as being part of a virtuous circle. The Andean concept of Ayni actually means reciprocity in the local language, Quechu, and emphasizes interdependence.
This very holistic philosophy is why we formed the Sol y Luna Association back in 2009, a humanitarian, holistic, non-profit civil institution, fully financed with the hotel’s profits plus voluntary contributions from generous guests, friends and benefactors. It supports the Sol y Luna Intercultural School fuelled by our passion for bettering the prospects for local young people through education. Some of these vulnerable individuals have specific needs so with the utmost integrity, we fight to provide direct personalised assistance, positive local acceptance and a competent professional team to support each child. It seems incredible that myself and my husband Franz first set foot in the Sacred Valley back in 1988 helping local schools and our Relais & Châteaux hotel that stands today actually began as a humble seed to create jobs for the community, supporting our educational projects.
Our school makes a world of difference, offering the children of the Sacred Valley an instructive, creative education. We provide access to sports and cultural activities alongside core life and work skills boosting their potential so each child develops emotional intelligence and cognitive abilities while fostering a collective identity. The school has proactively intervened, engaging with the community, offering training and education via full and partial scholarships for over 90% of our intake.
Our project addresses the needs of every child, teaching mutual respect and celebrates our multicultural community giving them pride in the precious treasures of their homeland. We are interested in developing the children’s self-esteem and awareness of their unique potential. All these lessons in turn, feed back to the community positively.
The education provided by professional teachers, therapists, cooks, psychologists and team of strong leaders is very dynamic. Days are full of quality time for laughing, playing, sharing and communicating freely, thus equipping each child with indispensable knowledge to build their brighter future.
The school has always welcomed children with special needs and provided them with personalized assistance via a competent and professional caring team. Our vision is to offer children with disabilities an integrated school education paving the way for a dignified life within their home community and beyond.
The children and young people from the Sacred Valley with disabilities do not usually have access to any educational or health resources. Most of them are sadly marginalised by their own families and remote communities who do not have the necessary knowledge or resources to deal with the situation. Our inclusion programme has proactively engaged with the local population by offering training and raising awareness of these children. We provide physical and language therapy, academic special education, psychology and social care as well as providing essential emotional support and encouragement to families. We believe each child should have an equal chance of a brighter future.
Perhaps on reflection, our blessed and hotel business success through our well loved Sol y Luna hotel is as some might say, ‘paying it forward’. Anyone making a travelling choice and receiving great hospitality not only moves that person from one place to another but also creates opportunities to open their hearts in ways that can change many lives in the process. We feel deeply privileged to be part of their story!”
Accommodation at the Sol y Luna hotel is provided on our Incas & Conquistadors Peru holidays, as an upgrade on our optional Two Nights in the Sacred Valley excursion. You can support the project by staying in the hotel or making a donation to the Sol y Luna Association.