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“Special place on earth”

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Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat
Ranked #1 of 14 Hotels in Paradise Island
Certificate of Excellence
Zagreb, Croatia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Special place on earth”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 May 2014

I have been to the yoga retreat 4 times for the yoga vacation and for other courses as well. I have been in many ashrams around India and Europe. This is a place where you can really get deep relaxation, spiritual progress and unwind from everyday stress and activities. I find that the energy here is very warm and welcoming. The staff are very nice and friendly, the ocean is beautiful, and the water is clean with great healing properties. The daily lectures are given by highly advanced healers and spiritual practicioners and everyone can join and benefit from the intresting information and tools. All daily activities such as yoga exercises , pure vegeterian food, mediation, chanting, selfless service, etc. are directed towards discovering your true Self and Self realisation. I really recommend the ashram for any person who wants to relax and enjoy themselves.

Tip: Plan to stay at least 10-14 days to get full benefits!

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank GoranThetaHealing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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662 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Tel Aviv, Israel
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 May 2014

I visited the yoga retreat with my family last month.We had a great time enjoying the ocean, the daily yoga classes, and the food! The staff were very kind and helpful especially to my 15 months baby,
I felt very inspired and grateful for the rich program and interesting speakers. The place is so beautiful and the birds literally eat from your hands.
I"ll definitely return to the yoga retreat which already feels like home!

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Einatef
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Keene, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 May 2014

5 stars because if this specific kind of experience is what you are looking for, you will find it relaxing and uplifting, possibly even transforming. The overall experience far exceeded my expectations.
But first, BE WARNED.
If you are looking for a cheap boutique hotel on the beach, this is most definitely not it. As one strolls 400 yards west from the massive "Las Vegas" style Atlantis hotel, on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, you'll see the Shivanda Yoga Retreat presenting a number of cottages within 100 feet of the beach. There is even a large yoga platform almost on the beach. 'Sure looks like a fine boutique hotel. But traveler beware; it's very far from it. But remember, I give this experience 5 stars, so if you don't check out in the next couple of paragraphs (for good reason) you'll see why.
More like a cross between a Hindu monastery and an adult summer camp. This a great blend if you don't require a private bath with your room or tent (some rooms do have private baths however), don't mind or even enjoy exclusively vegetarian cafeteria-style communal meals at picnic tables. They even offer "mandatory", "semi-required", or "suggested" (I never figured out which, and made my own choice to attend most, but not all of the sessions) meditation and Sanskrit chanting sessions at 6 AM and 8 PM.
Did I mention: no alcohol, no tobacco, no drugs? Yes, that too. No beach chairs, cabanas, or beach bar.
On the other hand, where can you go and observe/participate in the "real deal" Hindu and yogic spiritual and temple rituals, learn yoga and meditation in an immersion context from professional, patient and caring guides, and engage with other spiritual seekers from many different paths from all over the world; all at various points on their journey. And all within a very accepting and upbeat context.
Here's my example:
In early January, I asked my friend Richard (who has travelled widely) where I could go for some beach time without becoming a complete slug; eating, drinking too much, getting sunburned and vacating virtually everything. Doesn't sound bad, but this time I wanted to maintain, or even enhance my "inner work" without completely indulging every whim. He suggested this place, which he has visited a couple of times with his wife. His wife was expecting 4-5 star accommodations and service, so she gives the food and accommodations 2-3 stars, the yoga 4 stars; the beach 5 stars plus.
I enjoy tent camping, and actually prefer to sleep that way rather than in a small confined room. My tent was pitched on a platform, had a light, fan, bedside table, open dresser, bed with foam mattress, wardrobe with hangers. Altogether most elegant for tent camping. My only complaint about the "room"? The bed was too short for my 6-1 frame, and the mattress too thin for my 280 lbs. Yes that's me, XX Large. With multiple sports and career injuries on every limb. I considered requesting another mattress (they are thin) and placing 2 directly on the floor, but was pretty well accustomed by the time my visit ended.
The Yoga: My only prior exposure to yogic practice was a couple of local beginner classes taken a few weeks before my trip. I enrolled in the in 5 day Beginners Class for the first part of my retreat. Our class met for 1 hour of lecture, consisting of a well-presented introduction to the larger context of yoga as a spiritual discipline; the place of asanas (the unusual poses that some might describe as tortuous), pranayama (breathing exercises), and meditation, and lifestyle choices. The point for me was that the asanas are part of a larger practice.
We also met for a 2 hour "yoga" class which focused on gradually learning the 12 poses and the breathing exercises. During these classes our very capable and experienced instructor showed us numerous modifications to accommodate our specific physical challenges. What was important about the modifications was that the quality of the "perfect pose" was stressed much less than the intent of the pose (both inner and outer). This allowed someone like me, whose physical limitations and injuries required a modification for just about every pose, to gain most of the benefit of the practice. I couldn't imagine a better way or place to learn about or participate in a yogic practice.
The Beach: Oceanside. Almost deserted. Lots of trees along the beach provide excellent shade. Did I say almost deserted?
The People: Many guests; over 200 (including staff and monks) which at times felt a bit crowded. Although I could always find a spot away from it all (often the beach. such hardship). I definitely did not take this trip to meet people, but in spite of myself, I did meet a number of kindred spirits and deep souls.
To summarize: I've been fortunate enough to vacation in several of the finest resorts in the world, spending $20-30k for an amazing, pampered, and "vacating" week or two. Excepting self-guided wilderness camping trips, my week at Shivanada Bahamas was one of my least expensive vacations, but one of the most enriching. I will definitely return. 'Might even take the Beginners Yoga Class again.

Room Tip: Top floor, corner of tent platform units most private of this style. Newest beachside units seemed...
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled solo
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Helpful?
7 Thank john w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
new york
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 May 2014

I am actually here at the sivananda ashram right now. The place has a beautiful,peaceful energy that I love. This is my second time here in three weeks. First with my 19 year old son and now with my husband. We are vegetarians so the food is great, we really enjoy the yoga,satsang and meditation . The people are beautiful and friendly. We came to relax and heighten our awareness. We are getting that and more. We are here right now and are already planning to come back. Accommodations are simple. If you know exactly what this place is about and know what to expect, your expectations will be exceeded. If you don't feel this is for you the mega resort Atlantis is a short walk away Will return to the sivananda ashram again and again. Namaste. Pam

Room Tip: Beachfront villas are awesome.
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank panther71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Westport, Connecticut
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 May 2014

Yoga in the Bahamas... need I say more? It's clean, plenty of open space, fresh ocean air, and amazing energy throughout the whole ashram! It's a wonderfully beautiful placed filled with incredible people! Honestly, I can't wait to go back- it's an amazing community that supports you like no other! I found what I was looking for and so so much more!

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank NoCuOd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tampa, Florida
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 May 2014

This is the first time I write a review on a facility and I have traveled the world. My experience was so bad that I thought it important that I share it with you. If you are into roughing it, this would be the destination for you. Since I am not, I want those of us who go on a vacation to rest and relax to know about this place. First, I want you to know that I was in an "ocean front" cabin for two that cost a little over $300 per day, so I wasn't paying for a bare boned facilities. I say "ocean frront" because we had a window we could see the ocean, no porch, no door, nothing, just a window. When I say bare boned, I mean we had a wooden bed with a foam pad on it, see the attached picture. On the website, it looks like a twin bed with a mattress, it is not. At 6 feet tall and 250 pounds, I simply could not find anyway to get any rest and in fact, woke up in so much back pain that I couldn't sit long enough to participate in the yoga class the next morning. I then went to the office at 9 am and asked to speak to a manager to see if they could find a room with a mattress for me. After waiting an hour and a half, the manager came to the office and advised me that the few rooms they had with mattresses were occupied and that they had no other occomodations for us. It is important to note that we had not been at the Ashram a full day yet. They recommended that I see if there was any availability next door at the Atlantis and that is eventually what I did. In the interim, however, I asked them to please give me a refund since it was not my fault that they could not provide a room with a mattress and I simply could not function do to my back pain if they had no other availablity other than a foam pad on a wooden board. I then got the line that there were NO REFUNDS at the Ashram. Mind you, we were originally booked for 4 nights and when we got there, before we went to our "ocean front" room, we extended our reservation for another night, total of 5 nights. I found this particularly offensive since they only required a $200 deposit to hold the reservation and they now were keeping $1,545.00 for less than a 24 hour stay at their facility. I was told by the manager on duty that she simply did not have the authority to give me a refund and that she would see what she could do. This is also interesting since this Ashram is apparently so religious. They obviously find no problem with keeping customers' money when the service they provide that customer is substandard. To be clear, we entered the Ashram in the afternoon of April 29, 2014, left in the morning of April 30, 2014 and it is now May 7, 2014 and I have not heard anything back from them on keeping all of our money for our very brief stay at their facility. But it gets better, and I think you should know the whole story before you elect to stay at this facility. Our "ocean front" cabin for $300 a night had a communal bath that the shower did not work and the bathrooms, also communal, were not very clean. We joked that we could take a bath in the ocean then wash off the salt at the outdoor shower. I thought that was a better idea than running the risk of catching something in the shower. The first day we arrived, on our way to our room we passed the kitchen where we saw workers working on food prep in the open air with no gloves or attention to sanitary conditions. The food, although very basic, was aweful and served from large pots that looked like they contained pig slop. NOTHING LIKE THE PHOTOS ON THE WEB SITE. Still, that did not phase me, I've been to war and I have had to deal with unsanitary conditions in the past. Although I could not eat any of the prepared food because it was simply so bad, we joked about how that was a positive becasue we would lose some weight while we were at the Ashram. For dinner, they had tea, also prepared in a large pot that people would ladle into their cups. Oviously, as people handled their cups and ladled tea into them, over the pot, tea would get on the outside of the cups and fall right back into the pot of tea for the next person to ladle into their cup. Frankly, it grossed me out and I stuck to my bottled water. I suggest that you read the negative reviews on this place, they are pretty much on the mark and I wonder if the positive reviews are coming from the folks that work there or are volunteering there to get their yoga certifications. I have never experienced such a huge discrepancy between the reviews on this cite and reality as it relates to the positive reviews. My final suggestion is that unless you are into roughing it, you reserve only one night and check it out for yourself so you don't have my experience of paying over $1500.00 for a one night stay in a dump. I hope you realize it was that bad, that we left without a refund. Finally, let me end this on a positive note, the beaches on Paradise Island are absolutely gorgeous and the facilities at the Atlantis are awesome!

Room Tip: I would never return to this facility so there is no tip I can offer other than, STAY AWAY!
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
39 Thank George L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tel Aviv, Israel
Level Contributor
30 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 May 2014

I have been to the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat more then once.
I have found that when you reach the grounds of the ashram, you are being transported to Paradise.The ashram is shrouded by the trees and plants that were planted there by nature itself untouched and undisturbed by human hands.
As soon as you step in, there is a feeling of calmness and serenity and after a short while you feel like you have left all your worries behind. Life takes a different pace here and suddenly you are able to think clearly without pressure and view and value things in your life from a different angle.
After you have settled into the yoga classes and meditation things material in your life take less importance then before and you start listening more to the inner self. Your problems and your achievements take a different roll and you become calmer and able to think more clearly without pressure and suddenly see easier solutions to your personal problems.
Your day goes by at ease and in between classes you can attend lectures on different subject not necessarily related to yoga, given by highly qualified individuals for those subjects.Those individuals come from all over the world as guests of the ashram.
The people who come to experience the yoga in the ashram are all by and large interesting individuals and you hear a lot of interesting life experiences as you join them for the fulfilling relaxed meals served by the staff and fellow members.
During the day you have plenty of time to relax, read a book or just take a nap and at night you retire to your quarters facing the blue ocean and just fall asleep listening to the endless waves.
The staff are all very helpful and knowledgeable and you will always find a good listener to your thoughts.
Once experienced the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, you leave knowing full well that you will come back again for that special experience you had there.

Room Tip: I would always prefer being close to the sea & sun
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank RANI S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat

Property: Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat
Address: 4777, New Providence Island
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Bahamas > New Providence Island > Paradise Island
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi )
Hotel Style:
#1 Best Value Hotel in Paradise Island
#1 Family Hotel in Paradise Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 60
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Yoga Retreat is a spiritual center & retreat place offering courses and workshops and yoga vacation. The daily schedule includes two yoga classes, two Satsangs (meditation sessions) and two vegetarian meals. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat Hotel Paradise Island
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat Bahamas/Paradise Island

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