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“Exceeded expectations”
Review of Xinalani Retreat

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Xinalani Retreat
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 27 January 2013

My incredible experience began the moment Antonio arrived to pick us up on the panga. He was engaging, ensured we had our life jackets on and was on the lookout for whales for us. I hadn't an idea that this type of care was to become a trademark feature of my Xinalani experience.

Arturo was there to greet us as we arrived at Xinalani, was a great source of knowledge throughout my stay and always made me feel taken care of. Berenice was also so helpful. I am still amazed at how Ricardo threw my 90 pound luggage over his shoulder and carried it up to my palapa without a moments hesitation. I wish I had taken one of his surfing lessons as he is a great surfer. I never got to know my housekeepers name but cannot thank her enough. Every day my palapa was perfectly cleaned. Modesto was my favourite. What a wonderful man! Isaias makes the best margueritas ever and Marco always was there with a big smile when I needed anything. Every meal was delicious and each better than the next. Felix Cabrera, the chef, is a food artist! Argelia. Wow. Although I was not there for a retreat, I have been led by many great yoga instructors and Argelia is far and away the best. Everyone can benefit from her classes as she offers many options. Each and every one of the staff are consummate professionals in their individual roles and were an important part of my incredible experience.

The resort in and of itself was a piece of heaven on earth. You can feel that it was built with love. I still cannot believe that I stayed in a palapa for one week! Waking up to the view and the sounds of the ocean every morning was surreal. I loved the stairs! I went to get in shape and cannot believe how toned I got in one week.

I highly recommend a visit to Quimixto. An authentic Mexican village with a beautiful waterfall. As I was not spending much money at Xinalani (aside from a good tip at the end), I tried to spend as much as I could in Quimixto as the village relies on tourism for survival.

As I was a solo traveler I was quite fortunate that the other guests that week were also solo travelers or couples who were not looking for a run of the mill type of vacation. This resort attracts yogi, intellectuals and fitness buffs. I am grateful to have met everyone I did.

Just as in all aspects of life, if we look for the bad, we will find it. I was looking for a place where I could reflect, refocus and grow spiritually and I received more than I hoped for. Thank you Xinalani for helping me to open my heart and my soul. I am forever grateful. Namaste.

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled solo
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1  Thank Yogini-to-be
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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110 - 116 of 197 reviews

Reviewed 17 January 2013

Stayed here over New Years on a yoga retreat. A few people (Antonio, the daytime waiter and Modesto, the nighttime bartender) were especially helpful and friendly, however, some of the staff, e.g., the woman at the front desk, could have been more helpful in the organising of some things. We were also unfortunate enough to have pouring rain out of season. This was a disaster and made going up and down the many many stairs to our rooms a little precarious. Also, since the rooms were open to the elements, which is charming and rustic when it's sunny, became a bit damp feeling. Moreover, I expected the food to be healthier, but many of the dishes included a lot of cream, butter and sugar. However, when the sun came out, the setting was more than lovely enough to get over all of these issues - especially the stunning jungle yoga room.

Room Tip: The petite suites were nice and roomy and had their own bathrooms, but they were another flight of s...
  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled solo
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1  Thank mypinkshirt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 January 2013

Angel with angel hands cured my back with his massage and i walked upright again!! thank you angel... then Arturo offered carrying me to the boat so that I won't hurt my back again, thank you Arturo. I ended my trip to Xinalina with lots of sweet memories...the first couple of days were a bit uneasy ..the boat transport was a very bumpy then I could not get used to hearing the waves all the time , it was colder than I expected and the sea was too wavy so no swimming! .. However , I think at a certain age one needs time to unwind and get used to new situations .Which I did , and I enjoyed the the rest of the week very much . Thanks to the people who worked there , the wonderful guests that were there and my two amazing daughters I can say it was a beautiful holiday . The rooms were clean beds and pillows very comfortable towels clean . However We always ran short on shampoo and cream since we were three in the room . Food was great something new everyday . .. service was wonderful , all you had to do was ask and all the staff was ready to try and please you .i think an easy to access seawater pool will make this place perfect for me .

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled with family
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Thank SaharZA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 January 2013

I attended a yoga retreat at Xinalani from 12/29/12 - 1/5/13. Here are some of my thoughts:

THE FACTS:
-Getting to Xinalani is a 45 minute boat ride from the marina. With your luggage. In a small boat. You'll get wet. Your luggage might too. I thought it was good fun but not everyone did...
-You climb out of that small boat in the water. You definitely get wet. If you're not completely physically mobile, this is your 1st sign this is going to be a hard week for you.
-The resort is off a beach, built vertically into a jungle-y mountainside. To get from the beach to the lounge to the restaurant to your cabin to the yoga studio is a long, long, long vertical walk up stairs and mountain pathways.
-Everything is open - suites, bathrooms, retaurant, etc. All have open air components.
-Bugs and critters (Tejon, specifically) are part of your package, so to speak.

THE GOOD
-It's really a beautiful place, with a beautiful beach.
-Some of the staff is amazing: Modesto, Arturo, and Antonio all come to mind.
-If you understand the concept of an eco-yoga resort, this fits it to a T. Rustic with some aspects of luxury but keeping in mind, it's not the Four Seasons.

THE BAD
-Those vertical stairs might be the death of you, especially if it rains, or at night. Bring a flashlight and move cautiously.
-Some of the staff wasn't so hospitable. Baronessa was snippy with us. The chef was a bit gruff, too.
-They really CAN NOT provide gluten free meals. It was a struggle to explain, and to get straight answers. If you are GF for medical reasons, don't go here. Overall, I thought the food was very average.
-We asked for 2nds on chips and salsa one night and were told that they didn't have any more. Or guacamole, either. However, when we paid extra for it, they had both available. We felt like chips, salsa and guac should start every meal, and it felt funny to pay for these staple resort foods...
-If it rains, you will be damp and cold. The resort is very outdoors, and the rain is unavoidable. It rained 3 days while we were there. I thought it was a good excuse to loll about and do nothing but if you're there for hot fun in the sun, there's nothing for you to do when it rains.
-Because you get to Xinalani by boat, it's hard to just pick up and leave, and in bad weather, even harder, because the waves make it unsafe to leave by boat.

Overall, my trip was fun. I met a great group of girls on this retreat, and they made the trip amazing. I don't think any of us will return to Xinalani. The reality is, there are a lot of resorts like this out there, and there's no reason to go back to a place that isn't exceptional in every way.

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled solo
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3  Thank Mmmidwesterner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 January 2013

I am a big fan of Mexico and have traveled to many parts of the country over the years. I went to Xinalani for a relaxing retreat before winter set in. It is easy to get to, with a transfer service from the Puerto Vallarta airport. It is a safe and convenient location for a Mexican getaway, even if you are not looking for a yoga retreat. The location is a beautiful beach with perfectly furnished detached bungalows tucked into the hillside jungle. As an eco-retreat, guests are of a mind to respect the conservation of water and other local resources. We requested vegan food and were overwhelmed with the expert and creative preparation of every meal. There were snorkels, surfboards, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards for guest use as well as a nice little spa. A short walk leads to the adjoining fishing village and a moderate hike takes visitors to a waterfall. The staff was excellent - friendly and genuinely interested in the guests.

Room Tip: Lots of stairs lead up the hillside to the bungalows. Ask for ocean view.
  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with family
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Thank santafesunset
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ParisTravelfreak, Owner at Xinalani Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 4 January 2013

Dear SantaFeSunset,
Thank you so much for your kind and positive review. We hope to see you and your friends again soon.
Happy new year!

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 December 2012

Everyone I was there with kept saying, "Can you believe how great this place is?"
A beautiful jungle setting, spacious, clean rooms, consistently impressive food, charming, well-trained service, and the yoga studio commands a stunning view of the bay and the jungle.

We all had different levels of experience in Yoga but everyone's needs were met. definitely going back.

Room Tip: Everyone I was there with loved their room
  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled solo
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Thank Barry D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ParisTravelfreak, Owner at Xinalani Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 4 January 2013

Dear Barry D,
Thank you very much for your positive review of Xinalani. I'm glad you enjoyed your experience with us, and it would be a great pleasure to host you again soon.
Happy New Year.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 December 2012

So Ive been to 4 different yoga retreats in central America, two of which in Mexico and here are some things I feel that everyone should know before they book this resort:

- its not really a resort, the element of luxury doesnt exist, its an eco retreat
-the rooms arent enclosed, they are open air, there are curtains but really minimal privacy....we even had animals come into our room twice, once in the middle of the night while we were sleeping (and no we didnt have food in our room)
-the yoga is the most basic, beginners yoga there is, if you do yoga regularly you will be bored and disappointed. also classes are only once a day and there is only one instructor
-everything is over priced. and most things are a la carte, should you want to do any activity etc, its all not included and costs more than it would in the USA, all in all for what they charge you (and it being in MEXICO) its probably double what its worth
-the beach doesnt really get any sun, because of where its located (north/south) you get little to no sun all day
-also the beach is good for surfing, not for swimming, the current is too rough and large waves crash on the shore
- the staff is very attentive, really care about the guests, in my opinion too much so, imagine going into a store just to browse and a sales person wont leave you alone, its similar to that. I am here to relax on holiday, I dont want to talk to every staff member anytime i go anywhere or at every meal. whats funny is though there was never anyone at the bar in the middle of the day or evening, maybe i drink too much but on holiday in mexico isnt it normal to have cocktails at 4?
-its a young vibe, most people are here alone, some in couples
-there are 50-100 vertical steps into the hillside to get anywhere
-the food is excellent and they accommodate food illnesses, but dont come on christmas because even though its "all inclusive" they charge you $70 for a "special" dinner without forewarning you, I guess the spirit of Christmas has been lost on Xinalanai
-getting to and from here (from PVR airport) takes 1-2 hours. I dont recommend taking their transfer, its not reliable and outrageously overpriced, in fact the boat that should have picked us up missed us and then we had to take a taxi to get to another port for a boat, somehow the services dont communicate with each other.
-the place is incredibly remote, they do have wifi, but dont plan on leaving
- the bar area smells like sewer because any time anyone flushes the toilet the septic system omits the worst odor EVER
-they did construction on one of the bungalows all day, even on christmas, loud hammering ...all day
-its cold in the mornings, there are no serious bugs that bite (and EVERYTHING bites me), its really humid, and really informal, you dont need to pack much at all

all of the above can be taken as a positive or a negative, just depends really what you are looking for, but all of that information wasnt quite detailed on their webiste. their website is beautiful and they must have spent a lot of money on it. It served its purpose as a relaxing few days away, but its target market is VERY specific and people shouldnt be fooled. Did I have a good time: yes it was fine, not amazing just fine. Would I go back, No.

Furthermore I would appreciate it if the resort didnt write a response to this because I am being open minded and objective offering a point to of view to travelers that you dont advertise, which is why tripadvisor was created. I read the responses someone at Xinalani wrote to anyone that didnt give them 5 stars and they are all retaliatory and elitist, which is wrong, this is a medium to give our opinion and experience and unless you offer an apology you cant change the negative things I felt, so making excuses is really sad.

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with friends
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10  Thank ucantfakeawesome
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ParisTravelfreak, Owner at Xinalani Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 31 December 2012

Dear ucantfakeawesome,

Thank you very much for your honest review, which we think will be helpful for future guests. We are grateful for the list of areas of needed improvement you've pointed out. Some are humanly manageable and will be accomplished within the next few days as we are truly committed to excellence in our field, some are more related to God's will.

I'll take your suggestions to improve the amount of details on the website in my New Year's resolutions list. This I trust will fine-tune the expectations of future guests.

I want to offer a sincere apology for the few kinks in the quality of the service you received. My concern is that your narration and the tone you're using connote to me as disappointing, with a slightly sweet-bitter taste in the mouth. That makes me truly sorry, for the purpose of this place, that we've put so much love and energy in, is to help our guests build a sustainable, pure and nurturing sense of wellness that they can bring back home and rely on.

Just for truth's sake regarding our readers, your comments about the sunshine, the roughness of the ocean, and the humidity need to be related to the specific days on which we enjoyed your company (last week of december 2012):
- the weather changes all the time, and as stated on the website on the section about surf and on the FAQ page, our beach is exposed to north swells, which means from november to march, we get nice waves. But that's ONLY FROM NOVEMBER TO MARCH
- the beach does get TONS of sunshine all year long, but when approaching the winter solstice (dec 21st), for a reason related to our specific spot on the planet, and the inclination of the Earth vs the Sun, the path of the sun is aligned with the mountain behind us, which leaves us in the shade until 11 am, and after 5 pm, but that sunny window gets larger and larger as we get closer to the equinoxes (March 21st and Sept 21), so it's not as simple as the orientation you described, which DOES allow us LOTS of SUNSHINE
- The humidity is indeed above 75% on average all year long, but that's standard in sub-tropical areas.

On behalf of all the staff at Xinalani, I wish you dear ucantfakeawesome a very fulfilling new year, many blessings to you and your loved ones, and wish to see you again soon.

Kindest regards,
JBB
co-founder

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Xinalani Retreat

Address: Maria Montessori 650 Int 2 | Col Aramara, Puerto Vallarta 48290, Mexico
Region: Mexico > Jalisco > Puerto Vallarta
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 93 Speciality Lodging in Puerto Vallarta
Price Range: £149 - £539 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Xinalani Retreat 3*
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Xinalani is one of Mexico's premier retreat centers. We offer a wide range of activities related to health, fitness and fun, in an environmental friendly setting. We have 23 guest rooms in the jungle, a restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner (fixed menu, 3 meals included in fare), a beachfront lounge bar, a beach club, 3 fully equiped yoga spaces, a spa with a complete array of massages and treatments, and a little souvenir store. Our 4 acre pristine beach front property is solely accessible by boat. ... more   less 
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