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“Bliss”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Xinalani Retreat

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Xinalani Retreat
Certificate of Excellence
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Bliss”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 7, 2013

I have just returned from a wonderful yoga retreat at Xinalani and it exceeded all of my expectations. The resort is beautiful and peaceful, the food was delicious and the staff were super friendly and accomodating. It felt secluded and intimate, often we were the only people on the beach.

I booked my yoga retreat with Alchemy Tours www.alchemytours.com . It was amazing and being part of such a wonderful group with incredible leaders definitely made Xinalani very special for me.

One of the highlights for me was the dining room and the food. We ate so well and were never hungry. They make the most delicious granola. Breakfast was my favourite meal of the day! I also loved practicing in the jungle studio, a very beautiful space.

If you want to feel like you are in the middle of nowhere, don't mind walking up and down stairs (quite a few!) to get to your room or to yoga, enjoy being outdoors, can sleep through the sound of waves crashing on the beach (the water is a little rough but you can swim!) then I think you will love it too!

One thing I would like to point out to Xinalani is that sometimes the water coolers were out of water.... which was frustrating when I had walked up all of the stairs and then had to go all the way back down to fill my water bottle up!

Room Tip: The more expensive rooms are lower down, closer to the the dining room
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Zofia108
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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193 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (57)
Date | Rating
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English first
Anchorage, Alaska
Level Contributor
51 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 1, 2013

I'll start by saying Xinalani is a beautiful place, and I think they'll get better over time. Given that this is their 3rd season, however, I'm surprised at the issues they are still having with service and food. Our pick up at the marina was perfect and organized, with none of the issues some people noted in other reviews. We arrived at 2pm (leaving the marina at 1pm) so there wasn't time for lunch in PV and our group was hungry. However, contrary to their website which stated they could provide snacks for an extra charge, when I asked for something you'd think I'd asked for the moon. Then what I was given was tortilla chips and a bowl of white rice. What? While 2 others in my group somehow wrangled bowls of bean dip and salsa to go with their chips. The chips, by the way, were the tortilla strips from Costco, not even the organic ones. For these prices I expect handmade tortilla chips. Anyway, I ate the chips and for some reason left the white rice "dip" and made my way to my room. My room had not been cleaned from the prior guest! Neither had someone else's room in our group. I don't understand why they didn't give me a room that was already cleaned given that the rest of the group wasn't arriving for hours. For close to $300/night I expect my room to be cleaned when I check in. I don't think that's too much to ask. By the time dinner arrived we were all starving, but it was late, just like pretty much every meal we were served. Not one meal was served on time.

I arrived at Xinalani really looking forward to the food after reviewing the sample menu online and being familiar with Felix the chef from his time at Joe Jack's Fish House in PV. The same day we arrived, however, they also brought in a Vegan Consultant to work with Felix for 2 weeks to make the menu healthier. I won't go through every detail but her food was bland and the amount of calories we were served was woefully inadequate given our activities. We were served very little protein (fish 3 times in 5 days) and had to beg for guacamole to finally get it on day 4. I woke up every night in the middle of the night starving, but there was no food available. Many in the group complained about the food repeatedly until Felix was 'allowed' to serve his food for 2 meals...the only ones I enjoyed. On Wednesday of my Saturday-Saturday trip Felix got so frustrated with the situation he quit and left the property, although they apparently talked him into coming back the next day. I was so fed up myself I left on Thursday and went to Yelapa to try and salvage my vacation. I was also not happy with my yoga instructor and the people I was with, which was a big part of me leaving, but that has nothing to do with Xinalani. However, the food situation was ridiculous. I told the owner (Jean-Baptiste) that it seemed he was jacking up his profit margin at the expense of his guests and that to make these changes and "experiment" on guests without prior warning was unacceptable.

Most of the staff of Xinalani were wonderful. Isiah, Modesto & Marcos were very helpful and sweet and worked hard. Although except at peak times you had to go looking for someone to get you a drink from the bar, mainly because they were trying to make the staff do many jobs at once so that is management's fault. Bernessa (spelling?) warmed up on the 3rd day but she was curt (bordering on rude) the first 2 days and I personally found Arturo to be smarmy. Even though I had talked with Arturo on several occasions about my dissatisfaction with the food, once I told him I was leaving he acted surprised and said he would've fixed it had he known (what?) and then I had to tell Jean-Baptiste myself I was leaving as Arturo hadn't (even though they'd been in a long meeting.)

All in all, Xinalani is a beautiful place and the staff is great (but not management.) If they let Felix cook his food things will improve dramatically. I'd read other reviews here and mostly they all raved about the food. Unfortunately I didn't get that food. Management also need to realize that customer service should be their top priority, even if that means they need to hire a few extra people. And for the exorbitant prices, they need to be more flexible with the food and be prepared to actually provide the snacks outside of meal time that they advertise they can. I'd give them a couple of more years to work out the kinks before I'd spend any money here. But if you do go....do the hike with Modesto! It was the highlight of my 5+ days there.

Room Tip: Despite the claim, not all eco-suites have Wifi...make sure you make your need clear when booking if...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank TeleKelley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ParisTravelfreak, Owner at Xinalani Retreat, responded to this review, April 12, 2013
Dear Kelley,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write this review. We're grateful for the feedback you've expressed while on property and the one you're listing here.

First of all let me offer a sincere apology for the hiccups you experienced throughout your stay with us. It is indeed unacceptable that you were checked in a room that hadn't been previously made up. This sudden service quality issue has been under my personal radar ever since you reported it, and I immediately started a service quality review with my staff, that includes:
- frequent reviews of our cleaning process
- check-list management
- new induction of initial training of all the housekeeping team (5 maids)
- improvement of communication between frontdesk and housekeeping

As regards food, the staff should have offered you a more substantial snack upon arrival. Please accept my apology on behalf of all my team. It is my commitment to guests that they all receive a warm welcome after a long day of travel, that welcome must include a fresh home-made fruit based beverage as well as an organic local snack.

We're committed to offering an exquisite culinary experience that satisfies both your palate and stomach, and provides sufficient caloric fuel for a couple of intense yoga practices, and a few hikes going up and down the stairs several times a day.

I understand the frustration you felt about not finding the kind of food you were expecting to be served, sudden changes in diet sometimes make people cranky, especially when they do not foresee the benefits of doing so. Change is a tough process for everyone, even when it's for the better.

We did hire a professional nutritionist to help us trouble shoot a few of our recipes, as it is very important for us to guarantee that our food is not only delicious but also very healthy. Most of our guests are greatly educated in the nutrition field and some of them had repeatedly requested improvement in catering to gluten free and vegan diets. Hence the thorough effort. We want to improve continuously.

Nevertheless we heard your voice and the latest version of our seven day menu does include guacamole in 4 different meals, and a whole range of Mexican delights cooked the healthy way such as ceviche, enchiladas, mole, chile relleno, fish tacos, shrimp tacos, fajitas, etc. all this with gluten free, veggie and vegan options. It's a challenging job to please yogi palates, but it's a job that I love doing for I truly believe that our retreats do trigger healthy habits, and do change lives.

I do wish you come back soon for your presence amongst us is a true blessing, I'm only so sad that in spite of all our continuing efforts to be warm and professional hosts to healthy retreats, we failed you on our mission to make all our guests happy.

Many blessings,
Jean-Baptiste
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Issaquah, Washington
Level Contributor
29 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 9, 2013

Xinalani has likely spoiled me for most future retreats & vacations. The other reviews about Xinalani provide you with all sorts of details about the remoteness, secluded beach, fabulous spa, ALL the stairs, delicious meals, attentive staff, open-air palapas and 2 yoga studios. I'm a girly girl and I loved everything about this amazing retreat.The stairs were worth it all! And I loved our walk through the jungle/ local Mexican village. Best of all: I met incredible people...and had such a relaxing vacation. I'm very grateful for Xinalani! I personally much preferred the Jungle studio over the Greenhouse studio for our yoga practices. Diana O was my yoga teacher and she's absolutely delightful.

Room Tip: We stayed in Palapa #7, which was 111 stairs up, yes, they were hard, but in a weird way, I will adm...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Angela R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 4, 2013

Xinalani exceeded all expectations I had for hosting my yoga retreat! Private, secluded, gorgeous property, amazing food by Chef Felix, most accommodating staff, environmentally conscious and yet absolutely luxurious. Can't wait to go again in 2014!

  • Stayed February 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Sarayoga
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 24, 2013

I just came back from leading my first yoga retreat at Xinalani. It was my first international retreat I've lead and it exceeded my expectations on every end.

Leading up to the retreat, Jean Baptiste was there to answer every single question I had (and it being my first retreat- i had a LOT of questions!) and he never made me feel like I asked too many. He thoughtfully and thoroughly answered every one.

Arriving at the retreat, I was blown away. It's a spot that seems so personal and out of the way from many of the touristy spots, leaving it feeling like you're really getting away. The facilities were modern and gorgeous but at the same time eco friendly and rustic.

The FOOD! Felix, the chef prepared meal after meal of amazing, diverse and healthy foods. I looked forward to the meals every time and each time I was so happy. He really catered towards dietary restrictions with ease. If I couldn't eat something, they gave me something else. I never felt like my vegetarian options were less amazing than the 'regular' options.

The yoga facilities were gorgeous. I was preferential to the jungle hut studio because of the fresh breeze, but both were great. They ARE a bit of a walk and due to the altitude it took a few days to get used to it, but I liked the extra walking because I lounged a lot on the beach.

Overall, I can't recommend this place enough.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Diana O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Level Contributor
13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 16, 2013

I went here on an organized retreat during the first week of February to get in shape, learn from an excellent yoga teacher, and get away from suburban distractions, and it completely met my expectations.

There are 2 yoga studios, and they are a steep climb up a lot of stairs. The studios themselves are beautfiul, clean, and well-equipped. One is hotter (the greenhouse), the other open-air (the jungle). The surroundings are very remote. You may be awakened by animal noises or ocean waves, but not much else.

There are no TV's, etc. at this hideaway. Also, no telephones, no room service, no staff announcing an activity every hour to keep the guests occupied. Get comfortable entertaining yourself, and plan on climbing a lot of stairs everyday.

There ARE very comfortable beach chairs, complimentary kayaks and SUP boards, and enough to explore on foot. Off-site activities are available, such as hiking, horseback-riding, and swimming with dolphins. Plus books and board games to borrow, and a very comfortable lounge area.

Food was good, and healthy, but not much variety. We were never offered a meat option for the entire week, which I was disappointed about. But we had fish and eggs every day, the best quacamole you could ask for, and plenty of fruits and vegetable dishes that were unique and delicious. The chef was available each day and special requests are easily accommodated.

I was most impressed with the rooms. They are open-air, with shades on the open wall if needed and a mosquito net around the beds. I stayed in a petit-suite with a roommate I had never met, and we had no problems at all. The room was clean, the bed and linens extremely comfortable, the bathroom was partitioned with plenty of shelves and hangers for storage, the shower was roomy yet private, with plenty of hot water. Plus a balcony and hammock, and the stars were something to behold. You cannot keep food in your room because critters may come around, just FYI!

The bottom line is this: If you want a place to kick back and do nothing and have a multitude of options at your fingertips, this is NOT the place for you. If you enjoy yoga and want to get in shape, shed a few pounds, give your digestive track a break from excess, tone your legs (you have no choice - you will climb a hundred flights of stairs each day), and also embrace rural Mexico and all it has to offer without roughing it at a campsite, you will get all that and more at Xinalani.

Room Tip: Petit suites - plenty roomie for 2 people, and closer to the yoga studios at the top of the climb (l...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Irizzle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Skokie, Illinois
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 2, 2013

I traveled to Xinalani in late January with a group of 14 led by my yoga instructor. We did two 90-minute yoga classes per day. It was wonderful. I left feeling renewed in mind, body and spirit. I would absolutely recommend Xinalani for an athletic, healthy vacation. I plan to go back.

Xinalani provides:
• Fantastic yoga facilities on the Banderas Bay. It is a beautiful resort built on the side of a rocky hill in the jungle. The crashing ocean waves constantly come in and out of your awareness.
• Coffee, tea, fruit and nuts all the time.
• Beach toys like kayaks, boogie boards, surfboards, footballs, soccer balls, and beach checkers.
• Board games and books/magazines.
• Salsa dance lessons on Thursday nights.
• Dinner on the beach and a bonfire on Friday nights.
• Beach towels.
• Solar flashlights.
• Maps of the grounds.
• Shampoo, shower gel, soap and lotion.
• Gift shop with postcards, tee-shirts, hats, scarves & jewelry.
• A breathtakingly beautiful spa.

What to bring:
• Sun block and a natural, organic insect spray like Badger.
• Sunhat, water shoes (key item), hiking shoes, and good slip-ons that stay on your feet.
• Camera & binoculars.
• Pre-paid international calling card.
• Small headlamp (key item).
• Waterproof watch (be on time for yoga & meals!)
• Small backpack, beach tote bag.
• Friends!! Your yoga teacher!!
• Willingness to converse with the wonderful staff. Brush up on your Spanish for the fun of it.
• Your journal.
• Lots to read.
• Tencel knit skirt & leggings (travel in the skirt and leggings combo; slip the leggings off in the panga for your wet entrance onto the beach!).

Don’t bring:
• Makeup or hair products.
• Computers or work.
• Any clothing that you can’t be sweaty and comfy in.

Food highlights from our trip…
• Freshly blended juices at every meal (hibiscus, tamarind, watermelon-mint, carrot, celery-green blend, beet).
• Amazing hot and cold soups at lunch and dinner (black bean, gazpacho, corn-cinnamon, melon spice, creamy avocado, carrot, cauliflower).
• Healthy, fresh traditional Mexican dishes (ceviche, chile rellenos, huevos rancheros, shrimp fajitas, veggie tamales, chicken tacos & enchiladas).
• One amazing dinner was a roasted Portobello mushroom with kale topped with shrimp with a side of mashed potatoes drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
• Lots of fish including slider sandwiches & skewers.
• Breakfasts including lots of beans and salsas, scrambled eggs and omelets, breakfast quesadillas.
• Green salads, roasted vegetables, chick pea, cous cous, and rice salads (one standout salad was basil, beet and pineapple with vinaigrette).
• Desserts like homemade fruit sorbets, fruit & cream phyllo cups, truffles, vegan chocolate cake, banana-cranberry rice pudding, roasted plantains with cinnamon, and lots of homemade cookies including Mexican wedding cookies.
• Wonderful drinks like mojitos, pina coladas, cielo rojos, and good house wines.
• Complimentary fresh fruit with dried chili served to you on the beach!

Room Tip: I stayed in Petite Suite no. 9 and it was great.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Gretchen O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Xinalani Retreat

Property: Xinalani Retreat
Address: Maria Montessori 650 Int 2 | Col Aramara, Puerto Vallarta 48290, Mexico
Location: 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 #5 of 92 Specialty Lodging in Puerto Vallarta
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
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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