Interview With James Lock and Yazmin Oukhellou, The Wellness Retreat Marrakech

Interview With James Lock and Yazmin Oukhellou, The Wellness Retreat Marrakech 4

“A healthy mindset is not about being better than someone else, it’s about being better than you used to be”.

This is the philosophy behind The Wellness Retreat Marrakech, newly-launched by power couple James Lock and Yazmin Oukhellou. The intimate wellness experience at a luxury villa doesn’t just concentrate on health and fitness, but prides itself on focussing on positivity and mental health.

Luxurious Magazine’s Senior Reporter, Sabi Phagura, caught up with James and Yasmin to find out how their own personal journey led them to launch the retreat.

James Lock and Yazmin Oukhellou
James Lock and Yazmin Oukhellou.

LM: Congratulations on launching The Wellness Retreat Marrakech. Tell us what prompted you to start the retreat?
YO: Marrakech is a place very close to my heart, a huge part of our family heritage and tradition, and also a place I have always come myself to unwind and relax my mind! Therefore, we wanted to set up a wellness retreat to help others who may want to get away from any issues they are having or even just the stress and strain of day to day life and let us give them an experience of a lifetime and one they will never forget. This will help them to return home in a positive state of mind with a new lease of life and healthier habits.

JL: I have always been into health and fitness, and am very passionate about leading a healthy active lifestyle. Without our health, we have nothing and I have realised how important it is to look after your mind as well as your body. The mind is a powerful muscle which needs training too.

LM: We understand this is a 360-degree focus on health incorporating mind, body and soul. Why was it important to encompass all three?
YO: I believe that in order to truly look and feel great about yourself, it’s not just looking good on the outside, but it’s how you feel about yourself on the inside. Your mind plays a big part in this. Self-confidence, self-love and worth are rarely practiced these days. So, we wanted to create a retreat that builds this up as well as becoming healthy and looking great.

LM: James and Yaz, you’ve been both very candid about your personal and relationship issues. How has the organisation of the retreat helped you both personally?
YO: It helped me especially as where I sometimes suffer from depression, the gym and fitness really helped me get out of bed in the morning and James really helped me with this journey, therefore making us stronger as a couple. Therapy has also really helped us as it has taught us that we are both different and that is okay to have different opinions so that now we if we disagree, we usually end up laughing at one another rather than shouting.

JL: It has helped me understand Yaz better and her feelings and my own. As I had been very shut off from my feelings, and didn’t really know how to deal with them, and therapy has truly helped.

LM: Do you think depression is still seen as a taboo in our culture?
YO: I think people are now understanding depression more, and coming out more that they suffer from it. However, I think those that don’t suffer from it don’t really understand it yet and we need to change this in society. It is not just a down day or something you can just simply get over. Education and awareness is key, and I think this will only improve as more people talk about their personal experiences.

LM: Do you think social media has a role to play in people’s mental health?
YO: I think it definitely does especially when things like airbrushing and Photoshop come in to play as it creates bodily image ideals to young people that are simply unrealistic. I have fallen victim to it at times, as I find that I am becoming harsher on myself, as I compare myself to others and lose confidence. This is why I’m so excited to enrol in my retreat, practicing self-love and confidence so that eventually I can help teach others.

JL: I agree, I think today’s society is very body and looks conscious, and social media seems to heighten this. You just never know what is going on in people’s heads and daily life. Social media can sometimes create a smokescreen for this.

Interview With James Lock and Yazmin Oukhellou, The Wellness Retreat Marrakech 5

LM: Why did you choose Marrakech to set up the retreat and what can clients expect?
YO: We chose Marrakech as my family are originally from here and we have been regular visitors over the past few years. It’s somewhere that has great weather all year round. It is a short flight from the UK and has amazing views to really set the scene. Clients can expect a stress-free and luxurious getaway filled with positivity, healthy habits, fitness, yoga and healthy food. We cater for all abilities and fitness levels and we have a structured fitness programme from our Fitness Team that includes low and higher intensity workouts which are suitable for all. Our mind coaches have a wealth of experience of dealing with different ages and backgrounds and aim to help clients change their way of thinking to a positive state of mind.

JL: Our week-long experience also includes healthy and nutritious meals and dishes. They have been created by our amazing in-house chefs that we have selected from back home in England after various different food tastings to ensure the quality of food and portion sizes are correct to suit our clients’ needs and the vision of what we wanted to create. We are all about healthy habit changes and long-term results through education and support rather than quick fixes.

LM: We love our food here at Luxurious Magazine headquarters as you can tell from all the food reviews we do. Is the food-restricted at the retreat? Do tell us about the food that clients will be served.
JL: The food will be tasty, delicious and nutritious. We understand that in order to create a healthy lifestyle, it has to be sustainable so our carefully selected chefs and partner company have designed a bespoke menu that is way above and beyond the boring and bland meals that people think about when they think about healthy lifestyle. We will not be restricting our clients to small portions for quick results, but we aim to focus on fuelling the body correctly and we will also be educating the clients throughout the week on how to continue and maintain their healthy lifestyle with advice around portion control and a healthy balanced diet.

Interview With James Lock and Yazmin Oukhellou, The Wellness Retreat Marrakech 6

LM: How can clients continue what they have learned from the retreat continue once they leave? What kind of support will be available to them?
YO: Our guests will have the opportunity to be part of our amazing support network and community once they leave. We fully understand that in order to maintain healthier habits and create lifestyle changes, we need to create a community for our clients to be part of so we can continue to educate, support and motivate them once they leave us. This will be completely free of charge to help them maintain and continue the healthy habits they have started to create on our week-long retreat!

The Wellness Retreat Marrakesh – Where and How?

For more information on The Wellness Retreat Marrakesh, visit

Sabi Phagura

Deputy Online Editor

Sabi Phagura is a health, fitness, travel and lifestyle journalist with over 14 years experience in both print and broadcasting media. With Luxurious Magazine, Sabi has travelled the world and experienced some of the finest things that it has to offer. Sabi is one of our most eager and enthusiastic journalists regularly finding unique and exciting destinations. She always creates articles that showcase the subject in the best light via her wealth of knowledge in the luxury travel and dining sectors.

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