Jonathan Edgeley, CEO and co-founder of Montrose Retreats, discusses how his personal battle with addiction inspired him to set up a company offering luxury healing retreats based in the Peak District.

Could you tell us what Montrose Retreats is all about?

Montrose Retreats is a very bespoke, high-end health and wellness service that provides residential retreats and a precision-focused treatment and therapy programme for the individual. What makes us different is we work with one guest at a time; we don’t offer multi-occupancy retreats. It’s the only retreat of its type in the UK.

We’re in the process of registering with CQC so we can provide medical services as well. This will be around offering guests who need it detoxification from alcohol and stimulant misuse. We treat everything from stress, and burnout to anxiety, addiction and trauma.

Jonathan Edgeley

What is your target market?

The target market for us has been celebrities, CEOs, sports personalities, high net-worth individuals and professionals. It’s for people who are looking for something that is off-grid and away from traditional rehab services where they may be unable to preserve their anonymity.

On a personal level, what influenced you to set up Montrose Retreats?

My own journey. In 2006, I landed in rehab in South Africa at the age of 30. This was due to my own alcohol and cocaine addiction; my life had gotten completely out of control and unmanageable. There were a lot of consequences which had an impact on my work, family and friendships. So, I spent four months in a rehab centre in South Africa, where I had what I could only describe as a spiritual awakening. I found myself going through deep therapy and a programme of recovery to help me get well, to move away from those problematic behaviours.

What was it about this rehab programme that had such a significant impact on you?

A few things. The fact that it was a 12-step programme; being a long way from home also helped; the beautiful outdoors and nature experiences surrounding me were another important factor. In terms of the therapy, it was the first time in my life I was sitting with a group of people in the same boat, which meant they could call me out on stuff. I had a way of telling my life story in a grandiose way, almost like it was a pub story. There was a lot of humour, cockiness and bravado involved, which was basically a protective system. But when I was told by these people that they didn’t find my story particularly funny – they instead told me it was actually quite shocking and devastating – I realised that I’d been living a lie for many years. It all laid the foundations for where I am today in terms of waking up and wanting to help people.

Montrose Retreats

What were the next steps professionally after returning from that treatment?

I got back from South Africa in 2007, so there was a 16-year gap between then and now. In that time, I had a period of sobriety, relapsed, and then got clean again. A lot happened in that period, and I lost everything I’d built back, so I had to start the journey again when I was 38. I’ve now been sober for the last nine years, but in the first six months of sobriety, my mum died of alcoholism. It was a very difficult time, but it also spurred me on to work in this industry. I retrained as a coach, started working in the health and wellness industry, and I’ve built up a career from that over the last nine years.

How did those experiences inform your plan for Montrose Retreats?

Between starting Montrose Retreats, I’ve worked in different addiction services. And I’ve learned a lot. I was able to learn about what worked, what wasn’t needed, and what we could refine to work better. So, when a family comes to me and says, “My son is drinking and using cocaine and we’re really worried about him”, I want to make sure that if they’re going to trust us with their child, then they are going to feel comfortable with me, the team and our approach. I’ve built a team of people that I would trust with my own children.

The whole thing has been designed to provide a holistic, compassionate service that allows somebody to feel cocooned in the safety of a stabilising team and programme. We offer a full approach to recalibrating mind, body and spirit. We’re not just going solely down the route of a medical intervention and detox. Whether it’s someone coming in with stress, burnout, anxiety, addiction, or whatever is causing them pain, we realise we need to deep-dive to fully understand what’s going on with them, rather than just treat the surface stuff. Let’s get to the root cause and work it through with compassion and kindness. That’s so important because we want people to get well and stay well.

For more information on what Montrose Retreats can offer, visit here.

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