“If you’re not able to see the beauty inside of yourself, you won’t be able to see it outside” – Wellness Director Manuela Herreros, The Place Retreats.
With experience and practices that span nearly two decades, founder of The Place Retreats and highly-regarded therapist is Jean-Claude Chalmet (JC) who offers guests an intimate and transformative space in Seminyak, Bali. While it welcomes all guests through its doors, it has most resonated with top CEOs, CFOs, entrepreneurs and the financial elite who work in these respective hubs across Europe, Asia and North America. “Their work environment is not conducive or as open to talking about mental, physical and spiritual health. The Place offers sanctuary and an open forum for those concerned about such relevant issues to be alleviated from feelings of burnout (which was recently recognized by the World Health Organization as a disease), stress and past/present troubles,” explains Chalmet.
Chalmet offers guests immersive luxury retreats that span as short as a week to as long as 90 days (tailor made sessions are also available). Located approximately 400m from the coastline of Seminyak Beach, the 3800 sq.ft. property has a total of 8 suites (for 8 individual guests, or 16 if attending a couples retreat).
Rooms are eclectic and elegant, each one is uniquely styled and offers a mixture of European flair and traditional Balinese decor. “It’s meant to feel like a welcoming home, an essential element to the design, especially considering that many opt to stay for the full 90 days,” Chalmet explains.
Moreover, his captive audience is unlikely a coincidence; due to his work in finance over the last 30 years, Chalmet easily connects with his industry peers. His portfolio is expansive, with experiences that include setting up his own independent oil brokerage company by age 25 in London, opening two $2 billion dollar companies on the NASDAQ and working at a philanthropic foundation as executive manager whose projects have spanned telecommunications, space and water transportation.
Even though he was incredibly successful, Chalmet says there was a part of him that still needed exploring, “I actually wanted to be a psychiatrist since I was 11 years old but my family was less than supportive about that idea.” Hence the reason for pursuing finance and business. However his passion for psychology endured. “When I was a child, the very first psychology book I ever read was called ‘Les Prodigieuses Victoires De La Psychologie’ (The Prodigious Victories Of Psychology) by Pierre Daco, and I instantly became hooked on the study of the mind.”
In 1999, he decided to pursue his dream and for the next 6 1/2 years, he did an apprenticeship in Athens with a leading psychiatrist and neurologist. Chalmet graduated with dual diplomas in Clinical Hypnosis and Psychotherapy from ICH (Institute of Clinical Hypnosis) at Kings College. He then transitioned completely out of finance to found his London practice shortly after and then The Place Retreats in Bali in 2015. “It’s been my true calling in life to help people this manner.”
While his resort speaks to the larger trend of wellness & internal/external beauty-specific travel, Jean-Claude asserts that The Place is one-of-a-kind and is currently the only luxury facility in the world that offers extended and immersive retreat stays. And this is resonating with travelers, especially those compelled to venture abroad for holistic purposes to improve body, mind and spirit. According to a study by Compare Retreats (a leading booking portal and online publication for world’s leading luxury wellness retreats), 62.5% people surveyed stated that mental health was the primary impetus for travel, overtaking previously prioritized goals such as fitness and weight loss.
At The Place Retreats, restorative purposes and life-changing pathways to healing and revitalization stem from integrative programming that includes Kundalini Yoga (yoga of awareness, cultivating relationship of self and facing resistance), Craniosacral (healing technique to balance the cerebral spinal fluid), Watsu (form of meditation and movement in the water, akin to a rebirth and feelings of being in the womb), Traditional Chinese Medicine (which includes acupuncture and Chinese osteopathy), Hypnotherapy (a technique of deep relaxation to access parts of the mind that are difficult to reach when the conscious is active), Energy Healing (channeling healing energy and working on blood/brain barrier craniosacral) and Spiritual Wellness (facilitate better alignment between intellectual and emotional intelligences).
Moreover, Herreros emphasizes that overall health cannot be separated from mental health: “Our society is obsessive about beauty standards, exercising, diets and eating well – when it is actually the negative mind that we should be aware of that can overwhelm our thoughts and sabotage our actions. If not remedied, the negative mind can be so dominant that it can travel through the rest of the body and manifest itself externally and shift our whole being.”
Through psychotherapy, group therapy and holistic practices, Chalmet says that “our approach to wellness is exceptional. When hearts and minds are connected, so too can our intellectual and emotional ages be more powerfully aligned. From there, deep-seated changes of the mindset will manifest for the betterment of self in body, mind and spirit.”
According to The Place Retreats, 70 % of their resort attendees are males and 70% of them are from the top echelons of the financial industry. This is telling; it addresses a broader societal issue and a dire need for better support systems for males in particular – where they can feel open and secure to seek out wellness-based therapy without the fear of judgment and stigmatization. If these concerns are are neglected, it will have extensive repercussions on society-at-large, most recent of which was collectively experienced in the #metoo movement and its aftermath.
For the men who have the self-awareness to recognize their struggles and be courageous enough to reach out, many of them were admittedly skeptics in the beginning. Many cite that it’s due to the phenomenon, marketability and commoditization of branding buzzwords such as “wellness” and “holistic healing”- so for many, it can be difficult to determine what is authentic and truly helpful. But the majority of Jean-Claude’s referrals stem from trusted word-of-mouth sources. And as a result, many attest to the effectiveness of JC’s services. A Managing Director at a global investment bank in Asia offers his thoughts on The Place Retreats program:
“Finance is a high-pressure environment, which extends not only to the work environment, but also to family and personal life. In hindsight, I was making some bad choices, and had I not met JC, I believe that I would have ended up making some grave mistakes without having the tools to survive and keep it all together. JC’s ability to make me feel comfortable to articulate the issues, coupled with helping me find coping mechanisms and solutions, meant the difference between failure and success, misery and happiness, instability and stability. JC has an ability to not only think out-of-the-box, but more importantly, to see around corners. His insightful questions helped, in hindsight, to provide the key answers to navigate what appeared at the time to be treacherous waters. Ultimately, I developed lifelong coping and learning skills.”
Although The Place Retreats has the creature comforts of a bespoke and luxury resort, make no mistake – there’s a body of work that does require ardent commitment to, in order to heal and thrive. The Managing Director elaborates: “The sessions were not easy; and in fact, JC is a direct straight-shooter. Only by confronting my personal issues head-on, was I able to manage them. I often use these skills today, and on occasion, when a chat with JC may be the panacea, he finds time to speak with me from Bali. I feel immense inner peace today thanks to the guidance and mentoring that JC has provided.”
Compared with other retreats, JC says that he’s able to offer valuable advice and techniques for those who return to “real life”. A European Commodities Trader says that takeaways from the 90-day immerse retreats have been immensely practical. “Rather than demonize and tell you ‘what you’re doing wrong’ in your life, JC and his team help you alter your frames of reference, enhance your abilities, and learn how to maintain a state of nurturing calmness so you can perform better when you return to the ‘real life’ stresses of the day…. and better recognize the positives that are often overlooked and underappreciated.” It’s another reason why he resonates with the finance crowd so effectively; JC knows how to cut to the chase, he avoids the meaningless dialogues and as the industry would phrase it, provides the “long” and “short” about an outcome.
At The Place Retreats, Jean-Claude and his team strive to provide their guests with wholeness and contentedness. Oftentimes, the greatest obstacle is managing all the internal noise and endless dialogues that occur within the mind. “Try to understand what you need, and then give it to yourself – free from guilt and criticisms. We are here to provide you with the tools to try and ‘get out of your head’.”