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Manoir Mouret Retreat Special - Spring/Summer2024

Welcome to our 1st Retreat Special where we share some of our thoughts on the world of retreats.

Every year we run a limited number of accessible wellness retreats at Manoir Mouret working with experienced professionals such as nutritionists, yoga instructors, personal trainers and chefs.

Manoir Mouret is also a venue which other retreat leaders rent to hold their own retreats. So, we see things both as the retreat leader/host and as also as the venue provider which gives us very useful insights into what makes the perfect retreat setting!

On a personal level, in the last couple of years Jack and I have been on two retreats. The first was a private retreat in the Sierra Navada mountains with a coach to look at life planning and goal setting. The second was a group activity week in the Pyrenees which was hard work but a lot of fun. Although very different, both were perfect for what we were looking for.

Retreat Season Timing

Late Spring through early Summer is a prime time for retreats in southern Europe. The weather is generally good but not too hot, the dates are typically outside high season (meaning lower travel costs and less crowds) and guests with children can schedule a “me time” break outside school holidays.  

The second European season for retreats tends to be September and October for very similar reasons. Autumn can be a gorgeous, mellow time of year to spend in a relaxing location. Our Nourish retreat in October 2023 was perfect for many reasons including long lunches on the terrace and walks in the vineyards.    

What sort of retreat is right for you?

We’re all different &, if you’re anything like me, what you need from a retreat will be heavily influenced by what’s going on in your life. So, its great that there is an almost endless range of retreat types with something to suit pretty much every person and occasion. But how do you choose the right retreat for you?

There are some obvious criteria such as convenient dates (including travel options/time) & your budget (again, including travel costs). We’ve found that since the pandemic airlines have been much quicker to cancel flights or change timings which can be very disruptive. We’re lucky that Toulouse international airport is just under an hour away and has several options for flights from the UK (and across Europe). So, if a guest’s initial choice of flight isn’t possible alternatives are available. It’s worth exploring travel Plan Bs! 

In addition to the practical considerations, a retreat’s overall vibe is an important factor. Is this a full-on boot camp style retreat, an advanced yoga & spiritual meditation retreat or a slower paced, relaxed break with plenty of free time & the odd glass of wine. Do you want to switch off completely or perhaps learn a new skill or invest a block of time to improve your vinyasa flow technique? Most retreat marketing will include a sample “Day on Retreat” & you can learn a lot from the pictures used to capture the essence of the retreat. It’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words (but make sure the photos are of the actual retreat not stock photos of killer views!). A good retreat leader will always be happy to chat with you about what to expect & answer any questions you have.

How to start looking for a retreat?

There are some established websites which consolidate a range of retreats such as BookYogaRetreats The Retreat Company & Tripaneer. These should give you some good objective information for example on dates, locations and what’s included. However, the majority of these sites rely on the information that the retreat leader or venue provides to them, and they work on a commission basis. They do not typically have personal knowledge of the actual retreats.

The Global Retreat Company is the only retreat site we know of that insists on one of their reviewers going on a retreat before it will list the retreat on their site. Based on this personal knowledge and depth of experience it also offers a concierge service to give advice on which retreats might suit you based on the criteria you provide. The Global Retreat website is worth checking out & yes, we are listed on it & have enjoyed having 3 members of their team visit Manoir Mouret over the years! 

Holiday, lifestyle and wellness sections in magazines and newspapers are also another source of information about retreats. The January editions of these publications often have round-ups of the best retreats in different part of the world such as The Guardian’s 10 Best Health and Wellness Retreats in Europe and The Evening Standard’s lovely piece about the trend for joyful retreats  (yes, we do appear in both articles!).

Recommendations & Feedback from other guests

Of course, another great source of insight are guest reviews and, even more persuasive, personal recommendations. If you have friends who love a retreat holiday or perhaps members of your local Pilates class, gym or spa try asking for any recommendations.

A retreat which has a high percentage of returning guests is also a very good sign. Some retreats and retreat booking sites do reference guest reviews but its not as widely done as for say TripAdvisor hotel and restaurant reviews. We include a selection of recent retreat guest reviews here on our website.

If you’re considering a retreat but can’t see any past guest reviews why not ask the retreat leader, they will usually be very happy to share guest feedback or even put you in touch with a previous guest.  

We’ve done a short overview of why you might like to choose a retreat with us based on feedback from our nutrition retreat guests from 2022 and 2023, Ten Reasons to Join Our Retreats.

Solo, with friends or as a couple?

One of the beauties of retreats is that they are (or should be!) designed to make solo travellers feel welcome and fully included. For when we holiday on our own, retreats are a great way to have both company, a share experience and, at the same time, a degree of independence. Over the years I’ve retreated solo, with friends and with Jack. I’ve enjoyed all three ways of going on retreat and our guests at Manoir Mouret fit into all three categories of traveller.

What about creating your own private bespoke retreat? 

One option which you could consider is putting together your own bespoke retreat with a group of friends and/or family. Venues may welcome this, we do, as it gives them a full retreat without the significant marketing and administrative work involved in getting individual bookings. At Manoir Mouret we need a group of around 10 people to make a bespoke retreat work. We have created a bespoke yoga retreat for a group of friends, and versions of it for other groups including catering, yoga and massages.   

Our retreats calendar.

Our June retreats are now fully booked but we have another set of Manoir Mouret retreats in October and waiting lists for our 2025 retreat programme.

You can find all the details here. We’d love to welcome you and to hear about your retreat experiences elsewhere.


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