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“Relaxing Yoga Retreat for All Levels” 5 of 5 stars
Review of White Lotus Foundation

White Lotus Foundation
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White Lotus Foundation
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2500 San Marcos Pass, Santa Barbara, CA 93105   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #46 of 61 Hotels in Santa Barbara
Los Angeles, California
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Relaxing Yoga Retreat for All Levels”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2012

I went to this yoga retreat with my friend and found that others had similar ideas. There were people by themselves, mothers and daughters and friends that met up at this great place. Ganga and Tracey make a wonderfully supportive place to ask questions, increase your yoga knowledge, and make new friends.

Set in the mountains above Santa Barbara, the place is in a private area with wonderful views of the ocean and the mountains. We stayed in a Yurt (kind of like a teepee) that had nice day beds and a wooden floor. Other accommodations include tents and cabins. In every case, you are on a very comfortable futon and on a solid wood or concrete floor. It's the nicest "camping" I've every done but do bring ear plugs if you aren't used to the cricket chirping and owl hoots at night (us city folk are used to sirens and helicopters). Bathrooms and showers are outside in separate areas so you do have to do a little hike. The best is the "Loo with a View" which is a normal toilet room with a large window facing the mountains.

The schedule is just right:
7:30am Breakfast
8:30am Yoga discussion where you get to ask questions about Yoga
9:30am Energetic yoga session
12:00pm Lunch
1:30pm Massages or Guided hike (optional)
5:00pm Gentle yoga where you do a lot of breathing exercises
6:30pm Dinner

I didn't get a massage on this trip but my friend did and had a wonderful experience. The masseurs come from all over Southern California and are $100 for 70 minutes.

The food is vegan/vegetarian but it's definitely not what you would think. Beatrice has been working at the retreat for 21 years coming up with wonderful recipes like: Gluten free pasta with pesto sauce, Veggie Tacos, and Apple Cake with Nut Crust. The food is so fresh and filling. She makes wonderful sauces that will make you not miss meat.

Finally, the yoga was very educational. The teachers explain what muscles are being used, what you should feel, and providing options for positions whether you are a novice or advanced. We had two people there that had never been to a yoga class and they felt that it was a great way to try it out and really get a good introduction to start their yoga practice.

I will have wonderful memories of the people I met, the food, and fun I had adding to my yoga experience. If you are interested or in to Yoga, I would highly recommend this retreat!

Room Tip: - If you get there early, you get to choose your Yurt location so you are close to the main building...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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4 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room Tips
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Fullerton, California
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2012

I stayed at the White Lotus Foundation retreat center for a three-day yoga retreat. You can tell from the moment you enter that White Lotus is a special place. Situated on the side of a hill off of San Marcos Pass above Santa Barbara, the property has many unique features that will help you detach from your regular life and open up to new ways of thinking and being.

I recommend staying in the Yurt Village - a collection of circular "tents" clustered together in a beautiful oak-covered dell. The yurts house three people each and are furnished with Balinese day beds. I found them to be very comfortable. The showers and bathrooms are housed in little wooden huts right by the yurts, but the plumbing, while rustic, is all modern, i.e. no pit toilets. Make sure to try the "Loo with a View."

The property also has a hot tub, sauna, hiking trails to a stream and waterfall, secluded cabins and - coolest of all - an underground kiva for meditation. The main facility includes a large gathering room, where meals are served, and a yoga studio. This facility also has regular bathrooms like you would find at home if showering semi-outdoors isn't for you. There are many places to sit and enjoy the amazing views of the surrounding hills and Santa Barbara, including a roof deck and garden area. The yoga studio is a nice space and fits 20 students easily. It isn't the most beautiful studio I've ever been in, but the views and setting more than compensate. It probably goes without saying that there aren't any televisions and cell phone access is spotty, which is just as well since you're not supposed to use them on most of the property. But you're here to get away from it all, right?

The main facility is a bit of a hike from the yurt village up a steep dirt road. Make sure to bring sturdy shoes and and a flashlight.

Easily one of the best things about staying at White Lotus is the food. We were served by vegetarian chef Beatrix Rohlsen. Meals were announced by the ringing of a bell and the delicious cooking smells always had me wishing it would ring sooner rather than later. Every dish was delicious and I never walked away hungry.

There is a small bookstore/gift store in the main facility where you can purchase Beatrix' gourmet vegetarian cookbook, The Art of Taste. If you ask her nicely, she might even autograph it for you. The store also has other books, including those by Ganga White the founder of the Institute, and a nice selection of yoga togs and White Lotus t-shirts if you want a souvenir. They take cash or credit cards.

As another reviewer said, I recommend taking the trail if at all possible. The traffic on the 101 is horrible and it kind of bums your high after spending time in this tranquil setting. It would be easy to just take a taxi from the Santa Barbara train station, which is only about 10 miles away. Namaste.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2011

Just returned from a yoga retreat hosted by owners of "Yoga Oceanside" It was pure indulgence.. The facility was rustic but accomadating, the smells from the kitchen by master chef Beatrix were out of this world. Rolling fog into the canyon at 6:30am is unforgetable. Thunder storms in a yurt is music to my ears. Getting rained on in the hot tub, with a cup of coffee watching the morning bird traffic was heavenly.
Ride the train, come with an open mind, open your heart and you will be filled with happiness, peace and bliss...
worth every penny.. long-term investment for the soul for sure..

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Big Sur
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2010

White Lotus Is a Yoga retreat and training center. Beautiful location in the mountains, great staff (we love Beverly) good healthy food, and professional training.

Stayed July 2009, traveled on business
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about White Lotus Foundation

Address: 2500 San Marcos Pass, Santa Barbara, CA 93105
Location: United States > California > Santa Barbara
Hotel Style:
Ranked #46 of 61 Hotels in Santa Barbara

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