11 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Dirty Place full of Racists
"I was exposed to hatred and bigotry by certain Israeli groups working at the ashram as a result I was also assaulted. My room was the size of a closet next to the stench of shared 3 bathrooms. Best room reserved for their friends and families from their country of origin. The food is mainly starches and carbs . Staff eat better food in a undisclosed kitchen ( with our tourist monies) When I got there more than 50 percent of the population was quarantined under outdoor tents because of diseases. some people caught toe nail fungus because of the deplorable sanitary condition and bugs in my mattress. I regret I went there. "
- Travel date: 15th April 2016
Not a Hotel...its an ashram
"this is NOT a hotel. It is an ashram. I made my plans to attend a music workshop over thanksgiving. I have been to another ashram in VA many times and figured it was alot like that....but it wasn't. It took me a few days to get used to the place. I had a hard time with all the noise and the pollution from the boats. I ended up with a headache. Decided to spend my last two nights after the workshop at the Atlantis instead....so I could get some peace and quiet. My room was on the harbor end.....maybe if my room was on the ocean side it wouldn't have been so noisy. I had a hard time sleeping at all. But then the night club is close to the ocean rooms and they play in the wee hours of the night on the weekends. The rooms are spartan and simple. I felt the place needed alot of work and rehab. No air, no TV but there is a fan attached to the wall. Bathrooms are separate and shared. The dining area is open air and so is the temple. Seems that is the way it is in a beach setting. Yes they wake you with a bell for meditation at 5:30 am....and satsang(chanting/prayer/devotional study) every day, followed by yoga for 2 hours and then brunch. I enjoyed the food. It is all vegeterian. You wash your own dishes. Then you either had your workshop or work around the ashram or do whatever (I went into town everyday...which was so full of tourists from the cruise ships and so polluted from all the traffic) then yoga back again at 4pm.... eat at 6 and satsang again at 8pm. So the day is full if you do all that. They ask that you attend it all, but I didn't make all of it. I am not sure I would return. (Not just because of the ashram....but because of the whole area. It is becoming so overly developed.....americanized...too busy....too many people...too much pollution....to expensive!) Its sad that all the noise from development and tourists disrupts the peace of the place but then I hate to think that the rich and powerful money developers come in and buy the place out...It is 4 acres sandwiched in between the atlantis complex and rich owners like nick cage, mick jagger, richard harris daughter, some rich eye doctor.... the beach side is beautiful though. all the yoga is done on the harbor side....which is so noisy....and i wondered why we didn't go to the beach platform. The boats would pass by with loud music and kids sceaming and yelling. The small ferry boats make fun of the ashram when they give their little tour speech coming over to the island. I could tell there was some problems with people getting along on the staff and in the kitchen...too many egos I guess. Could use more organization. saw lots of cockroaches and even a snake one day, but i guess that is what you see when you are living "outdoors"."
- Travel date: 2nd December 2007
run away from this cult!!!
"RUN>>>>This palce is great if you are thinking of joining a cult. If you enjoy being sleep deprived, fed non nutritious meals, and having strange chanting ringing in your ears to the point of hypnosis, then this is the place for you. they wake you up at 5:30am,and demand that you attended meditaiton for like 2 hours The entire staff are israeli and you don't want to mess with them. It is like an israeli army camp. They demand that you participate in yoga classes and then feed you mush as a reward. The food was all carbohydrate and no fruit. The place was packed with people taking some kind of training and there are no private bathrooms. Had to wait in line for a bathroom and shower and there was not even any hot water. The people in charge are always fighting with each other and pretty much ignore the guests. The staff are impolite and down right smug. The swami guy who is head of it all is a real creep, but seems to have a nice rolex! For the money it is not worth it spend your money elsewhere.."
- Travel date: 28th November 2007
Excellent. Experience life at an asharam in a challenging and unique way.
"There are so much good things to say about that asharam... It has a lot of good people really commited with their spiritual path, wonderfull food, beautiful suroundings, convenient located on the ocean front, offers a good choice of accomodation: from small single to shared room (with 2 or 4 people), tents or family rooms with sea view. All with the simplicity you can expect in an asharam... it is not a hotel anyways! For those looking for a hotel they will have plenty of choice around the island, but there is only one asharam and I am glad I stayed there. I normally travel to 5 star resorts and hotels. I did not want to be have another big hotel experience and I was not desapointed. I will definently go back for another period of yoga and meditation in this lovelly holy place. Yes there are some challenges... including the felling of being so close to the sounds and the craziness that the tourism industry brought to that area, but still just one more challenge to be faced by those looking for a spiritual growth. Probably not the biggest one if you consider all that noise that should be silenced within oneselves... Once you manage that silence within yourself,(no better place than an asharam to help you achieve that ), nothing from the outside world will disturb your inner peace."
- Travel date: 3rd July 2007
Cold, joyless yoga
"Six hours nightly sleep on a mattress with more DNA in it than the local crime lab. I came to be familiar with the "BIS", or "Blank Israeli Stare" when trying to communicate with virtually every staff member. Having to ask permission to go to the bathroom, sneaking off to bed during night satsang like a ciminal, learning practically nothing about running a yoga class (taking teacher training over again at home). Not one single direct answer to any direct question (ask so-and-so, etc.) Six to twelve helicopter flights daily directly over the ashram. Cockroaches. The Atlantis sewage facility within a stone's throw, Numerous fatigue related injuries, including broken bones (one icepack in the entire facility). Needing permission to leave the facility. Cruise ship smog. Loud party cruises in the wee hours. Water failures. Electricity failures. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, white rice, brown rice. Sirens, Horns. Motors. Construction equipment. I could go on, but need I say more? Yes, I will: The guest speakers are fabulous. But they speak elswhere, too."
- Travel date: 12th April 2007
Not a hotel, a Hindu ashram
"This is an ashram, NOT a hotel. It is a religious (Hindu) yoga facility, with a sign at check in alerting visitors that two yoga classes and two satsangs (meditation/chanting sessions) are required daily. As these run 2 hours each, that is 8 hours of your day spoken for before you unpack. Lucky you if you see the beach! And silence is kept from 10PM to 5:30AM when the gong gets you up from your (bathroom-less) hut or tent. Of course, no one is checking to see if you are going to all the classes etc. ... but one wants to have respect for the hard working, believing young people who run this place. The food is lovingly prepared and quite good if you like vegan food. No caffeine, meat, fish, fowl, alcohol (and very little dairy, if any.) There is only one boat to and from the ashram and the schedule does not permit dinners across the bay in Nassau. You can walk down the beach to the Atlantis (nightmare) Resort which is under major construction ... and they may or may not let you in to eat there, depending on which security guard is on duty. So you are pretty well trapped. Also no TV, radio, or newspapers. Nevertheless, I had a hardy, but good time at an interfaith conference which I attended and met some really nice people. If the above is your kind of thing, then this is a good one of those things. Good luck with those headstands. P.S. My favorite moment was when I was deep in meditation one night and suddenly from the decks of the Disney cruise ship, anchored across the bay, came the squawks of Donald Duck. There are a lot of ways to live!"
- Travel date: 20th January 2007
Peace and Serenity
"I spent 4 days at the Sivananda retreat ( ashram ) April 21-25, 2006. My main purpose for the visit was a special musical workshop. I travelled by myself, and found other women who also were there solo. This is a little piece of heaven across the bay from the busy town of Nassau. Although you can hear the sounds from the outside world on occasion, for the most part the loudest sounds were the birds and the chanting of morning and evening prayers. The schedule is "early to bed " ( 10 pm ) and " early to rise " ( 5:30 the gong sounds ) ". The day begins with morning meditation on the beach and prayers. Then we have tea and yoga class until 10 am ( choice of beginners' or intermediate class ). At 10 am there is a meal ~ both breakfast type food or lunch type food... all vegetarian, and all delicious ! After this, the time is ours until the next yoga session ( 4 pm ). During this free time many people helped around the ashram, relaxed on the BEAUTIFUL beach, read, slept, went into town ( a short trip by boat ). Then, after the 2nd yoga class of the day ( they like to say it is mandatory, but it is easy to skip ), there is another delicious meal. After that, there are more prayers in the temple and usually a workshop. The atmosphere is so peaceful. This vacation was everything I wanted it to be and more. It is based on the religious teachings of the Eastern tradition, and I felt comfortable being there even though that was not a type of religion I would ordinarily practice. It was very inclusive and catered to all people, and I would go again for real relaxation and contemplation. If you are in need of loud music, the bar scene, liquor, etc.... this would not be appropriate for you... you may be bored. The accomodations are a mixture of an Israeli kibbutz and summer camp. The buildings seemed like they were in good condition. There is no real "housekeeping" service. You clean up after yourself. The showers / bathrooms are communal. If you need 4 star service, this would not be the place for you. However, if you are comfortable with this type of bare bones vacation I would recommend it highly. It was difficult to get back to the noisy world, but I will always remember this place as a little Garden of Eden with love !"
- Travel date: 27th April 2006
"We were at the ashram for six days of an intended nine. The cottages were cold at night and the food was primarily very tasty carbohydrates. There were at least five great cabbage offerings that were delightfully creative. The satsangs and yoga classes were really wonderful. The facilities at the ashram were like summer camp. What is troubling is that the ashram is surrounded by industrial tourism. For most nights we could smell and hear very loud cruise ships one quarter mile away. When the wind was right, the first three nights, black smoke drifted into our cabin. Beyond that there is some political infighting because the onsite swami is not supervising his flock. Beyond that the beach terminates in a natural rock barrier and a high-rise construction site. You couldn't walk through the property and there were no roads leading to the ashram. I felt trapped. In the future the Atlantis Hotel will develop up to the ashram property line. The trap will get even tighter, maybe. It might be amazing to come out of meditation and go to a water slide or a zoo. Perhaps the ashram could be morphed into a theme park. Yes, my tongue is in cheek. The short boat ride to Nassua meant coping with a parade of ill-tuned vehicles and tourist shops catering to cruise ships. Considering that I heard about the Paradise Island ashram in 1969, I'm glad I didn't wait another year to visit. The Sivananda, Paradise Island experience is not for tourists."
- Travel date: 10th January 2006
Real ashram experience
"I spent four days at the ashram with my girlfriend last spring. We had planned to stay in tents, but after a few very cold nights, we switched to a room. The setting and surroundings of the ashram are quite extraordinary - basically everything is done in outdoor pavillions. We really enjoyed the food and the lectures on yogic philosophy. We tried to attend the morning and evening devotional sessions, but gave up after the second day for sleeping in and talking walks on the beach."
- Travel date: 2nd March 2005
"The combination of sun, beach, beauty, yoga, meditation, chanting, healthy food, and spiritual leaders from many traditions was great."
- Travel date: 17th December 2003
A Great Yoga Experience
"If you are into Yoga and want to learn more or to progress on the Spiritual Path then this is the place to do it! Great vegetarian meals, great Yoga, great people and organization! You jsut have to experience it for yourself! They also have an amazing Certified Yoga Teachers Training Course."
- Travel date: 9th January 2002
Top traveller tips for Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat
"get the condominium and eat outside if you can."
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