Frequently Asked Questions

What is a “Retreat”?

No, it’s not a silly question.
A retreat is exactly what it sounds like — the chance to step aside from life for a while, to rest and just ‘be’ in a welcoming, peaceful place.
El Palmeral has a wide variety of retreats to choose from including retreats with themes relevant to a season, special interest eg painting and photography, quiet weeks, themes focusing on particular approaches to spirituality or even short breaks that are more like holidays.
You can also design your own retreat by using ‘TimeOut’ days as short breaks.
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Is a retreat right for me?

Retreats are for ordinary people at any time in their lives. There are no expectations on anyone going on retreat and you don’t need to be a churchgoer.
Do you:
Wish for some quiet time?
Want some time to develop your interests?
Need some time for reflection away from work or family?
Want to pay more attention to your spiritual life?

If you answered yes to ANY of them, then a retreat might be just for you
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Why take a retreat?

Each of us needs to find a balance between doing and being. Spiritual health entails being calm, focused and purposeful, free to accept some challenges and say no to others, and with time to relax and play. A balanced lifestyle is not easy to achieve in the ‘busy’ of life, so choosing some time out for yourself to think some of these tensions through can be a good thing to do.
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What’s so special about El Palmeral?

Well, I guess you will have to discover that for yourself, but we do really get the personal touch – programmes are never bigger than 10-12 people, you won’t be lost in the crowd, and you’ll be able to eat and socialize with the programme leader. And here’s a few things those people have said . . .

1. I found it was a place I could stop, relax and recharge.
2. I appreciated both the freedom and the rhythms and structures within the days.
3. I consider that Mike and Julie have a real ministry of welcome
4. Once through El Palmeral’s gates you are in an oasis of calm.
5. The food is delicious and is predominantly local produce and the bar is well-stocked . . .
6. El Palmeral with Mike and Julie deserves to be on the list of everyone seeking a retreat from daily life, a time of relaxation and spiritual refreshment.
7. Sitting outside the bar on the terrace at 11 p.m. in shirtsleeves on a beautiful balmy evening with the pool and palms lit up, chatting with friends. That’s my own personal “Wow!”.
8. For me, it was to be able to walk in the garden, with God, among the flora and fauna found at the other end of the Mediterranean in the Holy Land.
9. The Chapel is a simple place of meditation, reflection or worship with a few chairs facing a small altar and its rough palm cross – it enabled me to sit and feel His Presence.
10. The words ambience, atmosphere, etc., hardly do the place justice. You just have to be here to feel it.
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Is it like group therapy, and will I have to talk about myself when I don’t want to?

Absolutely not, the core ingredients of a retreat vary from person to person, and retreat to retreat. There may be some retreats that have more ‘doing’, some that have more ‘listening’, some that have more ‘reflecting’ – you will be able to look at the programme for your retreat to get an idea of this balance. We can guarantee that the interactions with others that help create the space for deep and fulfilling spiritual nourishment will respect your choices.
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 Do I have to go to Morning and Evening Prayer?

The daily services in the chapel form the ‘rhythm’ underpinning our life in Palm Grove Community. Anybody on retreat is welcome to attend, but it is not compulsory – freedom is an essential part of the retreat experience. The service is non-denominational and very simple, and you are welcome whether you would say you have a church background or not.
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 What if my flights don’t ‘work’ with the programme timings?

Cheap flights are a feature of 21st Century travel, but sometimes the schedules can be less than customer-friendly in their timings! Firstly, you can arrange airport transfer from Alicante Airport with us, it’s about 45 Euros single journey for a taxi, but we can transport you for £35 return per room. Secondly, we leave 2 days ‘gap’ between programmes usually, so you can often buy ‘bookend’ days, to arrive before the programme begins, or leave a day or two after it finishes. These are priced very competitively, starting at £40 full board per person in a shared room!! If you can’t make the dates work exactly, you can call us to check the possibility of arriving later/leaving early – this will vary in importance depending on the programme.
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 Isn’t it a bit expensive?

Well, we all know that economic times are hard for many of us today. We make no secret that El Palmeral is our only source of income and we need to cover costs that includes maintaining the house, providing food and overnight accommodation and paying for staff and retreat leaders.

When you consider that many 3 & 4 star hotels are well over £100 per room for a night, and many luxury B&B’s are over £50 each per person, it’s worth remembering that all our Retreat programmes include Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner as well as the cost of the programme. We can assure you that we get the best local ingredients going into your dining experience.

‘TimeOut’ stays start at £50 half board per person for a shared room, and you can get 7 nights for the price of 5 by choosing a TimeOut Treat week (see calendar) so we believe we are providing excellent value – and we invite you to tell us if you think we’re not!
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 Isn’t it a bit underpriced?

Maybe! In our research, we have found specialised retreats that charge well over £600 for a 5 day programme. We are still in the first few years and the most important thing is to build the programmes and experience the community that our guests and leaders will bring. We may well revise prices in the future, but our aim is not to make a mega-profit so, as long as our bills are being paid, we’ll hold prices down!
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