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“Totally missed the mark in so many ways”
Review of Omega Institute

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Omega Institute
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Rhinebeck
Camp Hill, PA
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Totally missed the mark in so many ways”
Reviewed February 17, 2012

I must preface my comments by saying that I am an avid outdoors woman; thus, cabins, the outdoors and all that comes with those two are fine by me.

I was greatly disappointed by my Omega R&R experience. I believe they missed so many opportunities to be a fabulous example of mind-body harmony, eco-friendly and holistic living, and self-empowerment. What I received was an expensive, dirty, contradiction of principles, provided mostly by individuals who seemed to believe less in the principles espoused on the Omega website and more about [ssss]

I stayed with two friends in a deluxe (I use this adjective very liberally) cabin. This was the first missed opportunity. The place was dirty and very much counter to eco-friendliness. The carpet was old and dirty. So dirty that it was stained and black around the edges. They should have plain wood planked flooring that could be easily swept. I echo a previous comment about the cheap motel linens. This would have been a great opportunity to provide bamboo and other renewable materials in bedding, not cheap, dirty polyester bedspreads and sheets. The pillows were so nasty they should have been long thrown out. And we weren’t provided enough pillowcases for the pillows. When we asked for additional linens at the ‘customer service’ hut, we were told to go to registration – they would be better able to help us. The bathroom floors were so dirty and the sink and toilet looked as though they had never been cleaned. We were provided waxed coated ‘dixie-type’ cups in the room. Why not provide glass, particularly since we are told we have to pay for paper cups when we purchased coffee to take back to our cabin? Luckily we brought our own toiletries, but they missed another opportunity to provide dispensers with eco-friendly items – maybe even some soaps that were locally made.

The food was sub-par. It was vegetarian but it was mush most of the time. I got serious GI issues from the food. I ate peanut butter most of the time.

I agree with the comment about the wine. Why not provide some? Again, support the local economy?

I was told there was canoeing; thus, I brought my gear. The lake was terribly small and all the boats were put up for the ‘winter’ – it was October – what better time to paddle than in the fall? All there was to do was walk in the woods – while I enjoy hiking, I saw raving reviews of the recreation. There was a basketball court, which seemed very out of place for a quiet retreat. Why not have an evening gathering around a campfire in the common area?

The sauna and spa was deplorable. First, there should be a mens and womens sauna – not one with shared hours. Please clean the sauna. Please provide ample lighthing. And have some common courtesy rules. It is rude to sit naked with your genitals straddle in the face of another woman, particularly after the woman asks for discretion. Please don’t do yoga in the sauna, again forcing your genitals on another woman. The spa had no place to sit and relax before or after a treatment. My energy treatment was a complete rip off. I paid $85 for a woman to lay her hands on my legs and breathe heavy for 45 minutes, to then proclaim my chakras cleared. It wasn’t very clean either.

There was a great looking art hut but agree with the other comment that it was only for the staff. Why not have that open to the guests? What is more therapeutic than making art?

Omega has lost its vision and direction. With the exception of two staff members, the employees seemed lost and simply there to hang out until they can figure out their next step in life. They need to find dedicated staff, revamp their accommodations, and provide a good experience. For the money – go to Kripalu…you’ll find it a more authentic experience.

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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
45 Thank HRPM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Wilmington, Delaware
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed February 16, 2012

I typically do not write reviews but I still have an extremely bad taste almost 5 months later and felt compelled....I also sent the following almost word for word when I received an email from Omega asking to fill out a questionnaire in late October 2011 about my stay and have never received a response.

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I am really not sure why the comments on the Omega website say there is so much to do at Omega because there are not nearly enough classes for those on an R&R! Complete misrepresentation of the offerings. Only two yoga classes a day and at the same time as every other class does not allow people to experience the different types of classes offered. I should not have to choose between yoga and meditation at 7am and at 5:30pm. 7am classes are too early for some people so there need to be classes added during the day to accommodate everyone. The café serves breakfast for people who aren’t early birds but apparently they can’t take yoga then until 5:30pm. An R&R weekend is like a vacation and sometimes you want to be able to get a little extra sleep. I should be able to attend a class pretty much whenever I want especially since this is a weekend yoga retreat and the majority of people are arriving late Friday afternoon and leaving early Sunday. Saturday’s should be full of classes and options.

The bookstore staff (one lady in particular) was rude and even the people walking around campus were not friendly in general. The accupuncturist (cannot recall his name) was very nice though. The art ‘hut’ was for staff only and I really would have liked to have an opportunity to create something to remember my experience by and would have felt I received more for the amount of money I spent on this weekend.

There should be two saunas. I should not walk to the sauna on a Saturday night and not be able to use it since its men’s day. Considering I spent $500 to stay in a cabin with dirty carpet, a bedspread you would find in an hourly motel and was never able to take one yoga class I think you can afford to put in another sauna.

The accommodations need to be updated if you are going to charge that much per person. The cabins need an eco-friendly overhaul (if you had hardwood floors there would be no need to use electricity to vacuum, even though it seems you save some not vacuuming around the baseboards), new linens and new bedspreads. Why wouldn’t you use the accommodations to show more people how easy it is to live a greener lifestyle instead of just providing the bare minimum accommodations? I understand its a cabin but it doesnt need to have the 'dirty motel' feel.

The food was not bad. I liked that it was all vegetarian and the most pleasurable experience about the $500 I spent was the falafel for lunch on Saturday - it was delicious.

Also, no wine?! You can’t partner with any local wineries to showcase their wines and potentially boost the sales for the local resident businesses? I’m really just not sure what would be so bad about offering wine. If I want to have the full detox R&R retreat then that’s my choice. I understand that you may have people that come there to detox since there are 12 step meetings offered but I doubt that is the majority of your customers.

This was my first experience at an R&R retreat and I was extremely disappointed. After reading the reviews I thought I would feel rejuvenated when I returned home and get in some exercise and yoga classes but unfortunately I just felt ripped off. For that amount of money I could have spent 3 nights in the Caribbean including airfare. I would not recommend Omega to any of my friends nor would I go back until some serious changes are made.

And I have a really hard time believing that Omega receives so many great reviews that they haven’t even considered revamping the accommodations and revising the class offerings for the R&R retreats. If you (Omega) want to continue your success, I would seriously consider it because I know I’m not the only one that has felt this way after spending an R&R weekend at Omega. I am blown away that there are any good reviews of this place, unless you went years ago when Omega might have actually cared about the experience their guests have.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
46 Thank nikolra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed November 30, 2011

This happy, well-paced property is sure to energize your body, and refresh your spirit. Come stressed, tired, seeking answers, needing company, or needing to be alone, this wonderful retreat is designed to help you de-stress, relax, contemplate, interact with others, or sit quietly alone with nature.

As a birthday gift to myself, I visited Omega Institute in September 2011, as an R & R guest. I took the Amtrak train from Philadelphia to Rhincliff, and really enjoyed the almost non-stop cab ride from the train station to the beautiful Rhinebeck campus.

When I arrived at Omega, I was welcomed by a friendly staff. Within minutes, I had registered, received my dorm number and key, instructions, and directions to the dorm. I chose to find the dorm myself because the ambience of the campus had immediately embraced me and I couldn’t wait to begin my solo journey.

I walked uphill toward the small, porch front, white wooden cottage style dorms demurely nestled in the natural landscaping. It felt like a dream. I easily found my dorm single. It was tiny, cute, quaint, and more than adequate. The dorm singles are private rooms with a shared hall bath. I thought sharing a hall bath with 8-12 people would be a problem, but as it turned out, not a problem at all. During my four day stay, only once was I in the bathroom at the same time with another lady. The shared hall bath is the only place to shower; however, there are more than enough bathrooms on the property if one preferred more privacy.

The 7:00 am and 5:30 pm yoga classes were great. Each was perfectly suited for both the intermediate and beginner level. The 7:00 am Tai Chi classes on the beach would have been fun, but due to the hurricane, the mosquitoes were fierce and took no prisoners.
The other classes such as movement and writing were interesting and fun. I quickly learned that one is never an observer. The classes were geared to encourage you to come out of your shell. But unless you so desired, your thoughts and works never have to be shared with the group. I loved this because it gave me the chance to do and say things I never thought I would say or publicly do.

I totally enjoyed the all vegetarian menu. I thought the food was simply prepared and very good. The coffee was aromatic, the well water was excellent, and the vegan breads were delicious. Be warned; breakfast, lunch and dinner hours are set in stone. When the closed hour strikes, the kitchen staff immediately begins to break down the stations. If you missed a meal, however, you can pay to eat at the cafe. There you will find a selection of burgers, fries, ice cream, etc. Also, there are three computers and free internet in the cafe.

Omega Institute is a no-frills place that captures the beauty of simplicity and tranquility. There are rules and instructions, such as, remove your shoes before entering various rooms, bus your table, recycle, quiet time before 7:00 am and after 10:00 pm., no cell phones in public areas, and respect our neighbors.

I can wait to go back!

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
14 Thank MoBayNegril
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nj, usa
Level 4 Contributor
43 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed September 13, 2011

Go for a workshop or just to hang out... It's such a great atmosphere, and you'll leave feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. The cabins are wonderful, but camping is especially fun. Try to get a spot by the lake!

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank fernette
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level 4 Contributor
47 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed September 12, 2011

This is a camp for grown-ups. Just like camp, there is no alcohol, which tends to attract people like me who either don't drink or don't care about it. Omega has a campus that looks much like a summer camp too, with cabins stretching into the woods, and a lovely lake with a sandy beach and big hammocks swinging from the mature trees. This is an extremely well run place. My half of the cabin was minimal, no frills, but it had everything, including an alarm clock and Kleenex. The towels were meager, and the shower was tiny with very low water pressure, on purpose, as Omega is very green in every way. Anyway, it's a cabin, so it's supposed to be on the rugged side. There were, however, windows on three sides, which meant I fell asleep at the edge of the woods, listening to the crickets, for this New Yorker was a treat. However, one morning (at 5:30) the squirrels were scampering and chattering on my roof. Country living!
The food is fresh and vegan, plenty to eat three times a day.
There is entertainment every night, great music, lectures, etc.
I went because my favorite yoga teacher, Chris Acosta, owner of St Petersburg Yoga, was giving a five-day workshop. I missed the first two days because of hurricane Irene, and I was sorry, because I would have liked to stay longer.
I'm a swimmer--the lake was divine.
Can't say that summer camps are my kind of thing, I would never, for instance, go to a Club Med, but Omega could be the exception, as I know I will return when Chris Acosta returns, and perhaps even another time when some other compelling healer is up there.
Just want to mention that although my cabin room was in pretty good working order, the person in the other half of my cabin didn't fare so well. Her room had no desk and therefore no place to put things, which she had to keep on the floor. Also, the windows behind her bed were full of wasps. She moved over to my room after I left, but of course, I have to report this, and her room is why I only gave Omega a "very good" instead of "excellent."
I would've insisted on changing rooms, even though Omega is usually completely booked during the summer season, so maybe that wasn't possible Failing that, I would've had housekeeping in there to clean out the wasps and install a desk, but she wasn't feeling well and didn't pursue it. So it may be that Omega would've responded quickly and fixed everything. I tend to think so. In any case, the place is very special and probably the biggest and best "wellness" center in the country.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank urbaneexplorer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed September 6, 2011

Location was just pretty not amazing by any means - nice or friendly people rare - will be my first and only time there. I went only because of a workshop and the two fellows teaching it. But if this is some peoples ideas of heaven - well I can only feel sorry for them they haven't gotten out much.

Issues with the registration office, their cancellation policy and lack of off hours help during the Hurricane not withstanding - I arrived at around 10 pm after traveling for 28 hours, the last 7 1/2 driving from Syracuse.

The only thing good about the guest services that night was the new young volunteer who had the decency to understand that I had just driven a long way partly through the tail end of the hurricane to get there - from Vancouver BC. I can make a long list of improvements that seriously need doing - but after 30 years I doubt that they care any more. Getting too comfortable in past success is the down fall of many once great ideas. The main things that need help with though is a huge need for better signage - not every one comes with Gps attached their person. But most importantly - people that work there represent the face of Omega - you should want that face to look good and be remembered fondly for all ages not just white 20 somethings and their first time away from home... I say specifically 'white' - because that is all I ever saw. Not one other person of 1st Nations - Asian or African american descent, did I see working there.

Recommendations
a) don't hire deva's b) don't hire people that are racist or that can't handle people of other cultures (though I am Polish / Austrian I look to some like I am 1st nations and get treated - ie ignored - as such) c) definitely don't hire people that genuinely don't like people (of all cultures) and put them in a customer service position! sheesh some common sense here folks - when I asked to rent the blankets and towels, I was told 3 times, two of the times by her supervisor, it would cost 5$ - implying I was not going to get them unless I handed over the 5$.
New Age attitudes = now the new passive aggressive. I said that I was going to be here the week and there would be plenty of time between now and then to get my purse from the car and give them the 5$. Which I did when I retrieved my belonging to take up to the dorm cabins. No info on the retreat was given or even when breakfast was. I found out later given to me by another guest the brochure about the facilities and what was available.

The young lady kindly offered - this should be standard for at least the first arrival - to give me a ride up an otherwise long, wet and confusing walk in the dark, some parts have small yard lights long parts don't and you seriously can't see a thing! Again the signage is awful - not even a map of area is anywhere to be seen. My norm building did not have a sign either. She had a hard time trying to find it.... I then started to see the rose coloured glasses now coming off her eyes.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
19 Thank ReneeFulsom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed August 31, 2011

My husband and I went to Omega for the Being Yoga Conference 2011. Hurrican irene hit New York during our stay.
My iphone was in and out of service with very poor signal. We had no idea how bad it was outside the institute. Just as everyone else, we had no clue about the condition of the roads. We were isolated without tv, radio, or internet.

At noon on Sunday, August 28, 2011, the conference closing was held in main hall. It was filled with anxious attendees wondering if we should extend our staying for safety concerns.

The roads were "FINE," we were told. The event coordinator told us in full confidence that all roads were clear, all rooms were fully booked, there were people were on their ways checking in, and we should be heading home and must check out at the normal time.

Our home is 152 miles away from Omega. We left Omega around 1:00 p.m. and thought that we would be home for dinner. It took us 12 hours driving detours after detours to get home. The roads were getting closed as we were driving. Every time we must turn around, the road was getting blocked at the direction where we just came. At one point, we were getting blocked at every directions we turned and we had to stop in the pitch dark. My phone had no service at all. We had no idea where we were. The GPS was telling us to make a right turn and to cross a bridge that was washed off and left a 6 feet hole on the ground. It was a terrifing ride.

Although it was our own decision to attend the Being Yoga conference at such critical time, we would be much appreciated if we were given accurate information on the date of our departure. The most valueable lesson we have learned is that we will never go to Omega again.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
15 Thank Being_Yoga2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Omega Institute

Property: Omega Institute
Address: 150 Lake Dr, Rhinebeck, NY 12572-3252
Location: United States > New York > Rhinebeck
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Rhinebeck
Number of rooms: 10
Also Known As:
Omega Institute Hotel Rhinebeck
Omega Institute Rhinebeck

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