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“Peace in Paradise”

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Serenity by the Sea Retreat
Ranked #5 of 11 Galiano Island B&B and Inns
Reviewed June 7, 2013

I so enjoyed meeting my hosts, Chidakash & Shera Street, during my stay with them last week! The accommodations were very comfortable and cozy, the food was delicious and nutritious, and the word game we played in the evenings was SO MUCH FUN!!! We laughed and laughed until our sides hurt! I loved the peacefulness, tranquility and magic of the property and its surrounding environs. Some of the highlights included a group of sea otters swimming by and an eagle swooping down off the roof of the house. I highly recommend Serenity by Sea to anyone who wants to simply relax and immerse themselves in nature.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Harmoney L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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22 - 28 of 75 reviews

Reviewed September 24, 2012

This experience was so different than any other B&B that I've stayed at, and I've stayed at many, that I don't know where to begin. There were some problems but also some fantastic moments all set in a stunning garden on the ocean. By a landslide, this place is run by the two quirkiest owners in my 20 plus years of travel history. I am not kidding. These guys should have their own reality TV show. I would watch it too!
Let's start with the garden. Amidst the B&B and a couple of out-buildings, there's a labyrinth, beautiful rock walls and brick paths, a flowing stream, ancient trees and lush plants. A bit of a throw-back to the 60's, "Chidakash", the tall, statuesque owner did most of the work himself. (He reminds me of Adam West in the original Batman series because of his good looks and stilted conversation. He is a boyish older man whose name means Sanskrit for "sky of consciousness". Ok. Usually most people tell you what their name is, not the definition of it. But hey, it beats "John Smith" any day). I was told the labyrinth opens up the potential of the right brain. I'm not sure of that but the property as a whole was beautiful.
My son and I stayed this past July and almost as soon as we walked in the door, Chidakash asked us to sit in these legless chairs and proceeded to roll us on to our backs. He asked us "how do you feel"? My 12 year old son said, "good". In fact, my son got a lot of attention here and reveled in it. The other owner, Shera, and Chidakash played many games with him, whether it was a balance game, hitting a ball across a table, or flipping upside-down on a rope in their living room. I have never seen that before. Chidakash even put what looked to be a brass bowl on my son's head and tapped it like a gong. I try not to laugh when I picture this, but my son loved it.
Breakfasts were terrific, in fact, the best B&B breakfast I've ever had. They grind their own grains for the homemade waffles and are extremely conscious of the ingredients they are serving. Local, fresh and homegrown was the norm. I did feel a little awkward at the table when we "gave thanks" for the meal. It was not saying "grace" but something of the like, and consisted of some words that included "yum yum yum and thank you, thank you, thank you". I am not religious in any way, nor was the "thank you" said before the meal. It was not a bad thing but just a weird thing. And thinking about it now, makes me laugh - in a good way.
The house was warm and inviting and there were a lot of young people staying on the property who assisted in running it. They were full of stories and had amazing talents. One was a guitar player who filled the night with incredible music. One couple was building their own home in the US, having never done it before and yet another couple was applying for their own plot of land in a community living program on Galiano.
About the room. We stayed in the Windsail room, a fantastic space with tons of windows. The futon-style bed was extremely comfortable. A screened-in window and patio door would have been helpful to keep the bugs out however. My son freaked out when he saw a large brown spider in the bed.
My biggest problem with the experience as a whole was the bathroom. I always, always, always get a private bathroom when I travel. This room is advertised as having one. What is not advertised is the fact that the shower is shared with everyone staying in the house. After our arrival, we were told that the shower is reserved for the guests between 8 and 9am. Other than that hour, anyone in the house can use it. My son went to take a shower one evening but apparently Shera was about to use it and was unhappy about that. Really? We did however, have a private sink basin with a toilet. This was separate from the shower room as well as separate from our bedroom.
The owners were polite and friendly. They seemed worldly and knowledgeable. That said, I couldn't help but feel somewhat uncomfortable. Chidakash in particular seemed to try too hard to present himself in a certain light and it comes off as a little strange. Then again, in a world full of boring sameness, big box retail chains and cookie-cutter hotels, I would choose this place any day.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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12  Thank TDEmery
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 26, 2012

Serenity by the sea is exactly what it claims to be. The owners are extremely courteous, friendly and open. It's rare to find a stranger that invites you into their home not just once but over and over. They recommend trying out the outdoor bathtub and you would be a fool not to. Definitely ask for recommendations on where to hike/bike/walk/sightsee if that's what you want to do, Chidakash is a tomb of galiano knowledge. However, there was a slight but not untoward lack of professionalism one would expect at a regular b&b or hotel but this is not a regular b&b or hotel. I came here with my partner for her birthday and it was an amazing experience. Definitely recommended.

  • Stayed: July 2012
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1  Thank Cockofthewoods
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 5, 2012

I recently spent a wonderful week at Serenity resting and recharging. The location is heavenly and perfect for meditating, walking, reading and generally getting away from the every day hustle and bustle. The owners, Shera and Chidakash, are wonderful people and welcomed me with open arms, including inviting me to join them for dinners and a concert that they were hosting. Similar to the other reviews, this is a very special place in an amazing setting on Galiano. It's not a high end resort...but much better.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled solo
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Thank D H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 25, 2012

We recently visited Serenity by the Sea for the second time, and wish we hadn't waited so long to return. It is a unique and amazingly beautiful place. Part of the magic is the natural environment: the incredible waterfront setting with sweeping sea views, twisty arbutus trees and the blessed quiet that comes from being so far away from the urban reality we dwell in. The magic is also in the place itself: the buildings created by hand in natural materials to harmonize with the surroundings; the winding paths, the gardens, even the inventive "Welcome" gate that greets you when you arrive. Each window is strategically located to take in the best views and afford maximum privacy. The third aspect of the magic of Serenity that ties it all together is Shera and Chidakash themselves. This place is their creation, an offering of peace and healing to those who take the voyage down the path. Shera's art is stunningly beautiful and inspirational - and if you love elephants, this is the place to come, as she has spearheaded a creative art project that helps protect elephants in Thailand. Also taken to a high art is the cuisine... Westcoast organics, hand ground flour, everything fresh and served with reverence. The dishes are works of visual delight in themselves!! Shera and Chidakash each have such rich life experience, and conversations with them are fascinating and deep. They have created the world they wish to live in, and it was an honour to be able to share that world for a time, and to carry the memories back home. It really was an inspiration. I encourage anyone who wants to feel fully alive and recharged to come to Serenity by the Sea.

Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
2  Thank Minstrelsea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 15, 2012

Serenity by the Sea is a restful, secluded, unpretentious sanctuary for meditation, walking, writing, reading, and sleeping (or some combination thereof), amidst the trees beside the water. Don't come expecting a high-end, fancy luxury resort. It's a down to earth, comfortable place to escape from the busy world for a while to focus on becoming centred, grounded and replenished. There are personal touches everywhere--from the pottery to the paintings.

I stayed at the Seaview Haven Chalet for four nights in total. I ate my meals on the back deck with a view of the water, where I was visited by curious hummingbirds. I relished the privacy, quiet and the natural setting and all the natural light coming through the windows, especially in the upstairs bedroom in the mornings. The bookshelves are well-stocked--and I luxuriated in reading a wonderful novel I found there, cover to cover without interruption--a rare treat.

The owners, Chikadash and Shera, provided a very warm, hospitable welcome and went out of their way to make my stay comfortable. The hosts are also fascinating people, who have much experience and wisdom to offer those seeking insight into whatever issues they bring to their retreat. I hope to return again soon.

(There's a wonderful little organic market on the island if you need to stock up on supplies for the kitchen--produce, breads, soups, sauces, snacks of all kinds.)

Room Tip: The two storey chalet has the benefit of a separate upstairs bedroom and a nice deck overlooking the...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank AkhmatovaNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 8, 2012

I have stayed here twice, once with two girlfriends in the separate cottage and once with my husband in the main house. Both times were fantastic. The owners are so nice, so "gulf island", and welcome you into their family. It is just perfect if you are looking for a real West Coast Island experience. I loved the cliffside bathtub. Because of the little waterfall coming down the side of the cliff, we saw phosphorescence in the water. Just amazing!!

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Jenn S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Serenity by the Sea Retreat

Address: 65 Serenity Lane, British Columbia V0N 1P0, Canada
Location: Canada > British Columbia > Galiano Island
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 11 B&Bs / Inns in Galiano Island
Price Range: $112 - $155 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Serenity by the Sea Retreat 2.5*
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Serenity by the Sea Retreat is a waterfront retreat haven with quiet, creative spaces--perfect if you are seeking quality time alone or with a friend, for re-connection, reflection, or healing and creative play. Cocoon yourself in a cozy, nurturing accommodation to relax and recharge your batteries. Enhance your retreat with massage, reiki, and a myriad of special features and services. Enjoy nature, sky and sea from our cliffside tub by the sea. Our garden embraces the dynamic vibrancy of waterfront, the soothing energy of our ponds and waterfall gardens, and the personal gifts of our meditation circuit and classic labyrinth. ... more   less 
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