Luxury with Heart in Peru’s Sacred Valley

Photo © Courtesy of Sol y Luna

By Raye Mocioiu

When luxury and philanthropy meet, amazing things can happen. Just ask Petit and Franz Miribel, cofounders of Sol y Luna. This unique foundation supports community-centric initiatives in Peru by creating one-of-a-kind luxury experiences for travelers worldwide.

When Petit and her husband Franz moved to Peru’s sacred valley in 1998, they had a vision of combining exceptional hospitality with transformative education and social programs. Driven by a passion for beauty and a need to uplift those around them, they launched the Sol y Luna foundation. Two years later, they opened Hotel Sol y Luna with 14 meticulously crafted casitas to raise funds for their foundation.

The hotel has since expanded to include Deluxe and Premium casitas, each experience more enticing than the last.

The Hotel: A Retreat in the Andes

Sol y Luna’s 43 casitas are more than just places to stay—they are intimate sanctuaries offering extraordinary Andes Mountains vistas. Each casita is crafted from local stone, terra cotta, and adobe brick and is surrounded by lush gardens teeming with native flora.

Superior Casitas feature private terraces perfect for enjoying panoramic views of the surrounding natural area. The indoors are just as breathtaking, with vibrant Peruvian folk art adorning the walls. Deluxe Casitas are enhanced by wood-burning fireplaces, spacious living areas, and hand-painted murals, while Premium Casitas boast private garden terraces with Jacuzzis, vaulted ceilings, and elegant decor that includes hand-loomed Cusco textiles.

Guests at Sol y Luna can choose to fill their days with adventures that capture the spirit of the Sacred Valley. The hotel offers unique ways to explore this historic region, from tandem paragliding that mirrors the Milky Way to horseback riding through remote villages. For those seeking relaxation, the Yacu Wasi Spa provides holistic treatments in a tranquil setting, complemented by an outdoor swimming pool, sauna, and gym.

© Courtesy of Sol y Luna

The Food: A Culinary Journey

When it comes to food, guests at Sol y Luna are spoiled for choice. The hotel’s culinary offerings are deeply rooted in the traditions of the Sacred Valley. At Killa Wasi, guests can savor contemporary Peruvian cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients while relaxing around a traditional Peruvian hearth. Harvest-driven seasonal recipes feature Andean trout and grass-fed beef, while other dishes take your taste buds on new adventures. Killa Wasi’s signature crispy guinea pig with Maras salt potatoes and uchucuta salsa is a local delicacy that guests are surprised to find tastes delicious.

Meanwhile, Sol y Luna’s Wayra ranch offers a relaxed dining experience with dishes cooked in wood-burning ovens. This relaxed day-to-night eatery is a feast for all the senses, with hand-crafted murals and sculptures, hand-painted artisanal woodcarvings, and local terra cotta tiles and stonework. The Chef’s Table experience allows guests to delve into the flavors of Peru, guided by the expert hand of Chef Nacho Selis. Each meal features a bespoke menu of seasonal dishes paired with curated wines.

If there’s one foodie experience to rule them all, it’s the Pachamanca, a rustic yet highly symbolic dining ritual that celebrates the cycle of life. Surrounded by the glorious Andes Mountains and Sol y Luna’s thriving gardens, guests enjoy a quintessentially Andean banquet of local delicacies.

The Foundation: Education and Empowerment

For over 25 years, Petit and Franz have dedicated their lives to alleviating poverty in the Sacred Valley. Their efforts have created a ripple effect of positive change, providing education, love, and hope to countless children and families.

“You might look at the rural houses in the Sacred Valley and think life there must be simple, even idyllic,” said Petit. “However, the harsh reality is that all too often, extreme poverty breeds violence, alcoholism, and abuse. With no sense of hope, the light goes out in children’s eyes… At Sol y Luna, we create positive change by giving two things that all children deserve: love and education.”

In 2009, having spent the past decade supporting local public schools, the foundation finally opened its own school. The Sol y Luna School began by offering kindergarten and the first few years of primary school. As the hotel expanded, so did the foundation. Today, this intercultural school educates nearly 163 students from kindergarten to 17 years old and offers a comprehensive curriculum, transportation, meals, and psychological support, ensuring that every child receives a holistic education.

In 2017, the first Sol y Luna students graduated, a milestone moment that began a legacy of change. Petit and Franz’s own child, Thomas, graduated from the school two years later. That same year, the foundation launched Roots & Wings, a program supporting graduates from the Sol y Luna School in further education.

Along the way, Petit and Franz found more ways to support the community. In 2015, they opened Paqari, a center for children with disabilities, and three years later, the Sol y Luna Home opened its doors. The orphanage offers a family-like, safe, and loving environment for children who have experienced abuse or abandonment so they can heal and thrive.

Nearly all of the children educated and cared for by the Sol y Luna Foundation come from backgrounds of extreme poverty. Many have experienced violence, suffered neglect or been abandoned. The Sol y Luna Foundation gives them love, support and a sense of hope for a bright future.

More than a luxurious retreat, Sol y Luna is a testament to the power of compassion and the transformative impact of education. By staying at Sol y Luna, guests not only experience the beauty of the Sacred Valley but also become part of a mission to create a brighter future for its children.

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