Yoga by the sea
Long established as an eco-friendly yoga-focused guesthouse, Serenity Eco Guesthouse offer a range of rooms from fan-cooled dorms and budget singles with share bathrooms, to air-con twins, doubles and “villas” built around a permaculture garden and 14 metre swimming pool.
Yoga, massage, and meditation pavilions, chill spaces and a heath focused restaurant, Alkaline, pepper the somewhat ramshackled, laid-back centre. A huge menu of twelve yoga classes per day suitable for beginners through to enlightened yogis and even special yoga for surfers with options for single classes, multi-class passes and unlimited passes, all open to non-guests as well. Retreats, special packages and yoga teacher training are also on offer.
We applaud the environmentally friendly approach at Serenity: most structures are made from bamboo or recycled wood, they use grey water in the garden, towels and linens are washed less frequently (but still hygienically) using natural detergents, and they don’t fog with nasty chemicals as well as many other sustainable practices. To promote this philosophy and inform guests, the centre has a plethora of rules and signs at every turn, and while we understand the aim, it didn’t make us feel very serene or relaxed. To be fair, we are a little rule adverse, heck we’ve even chewed gum in Singapore, and it may be just us…
Serenity Eco Guesthouse is a popular spot, and was fully booked when we visited, so we were only able to view the mixed dorm. Advertised on their website as a five-bed dorm, it has 11 beds (although they did inform us of the actual number) — a mix of single bamboo beds and double wooden bunks all with mozzie nets, reading lights, power points and personal standard fans. Proper bedding is supplied, so no need for a sleep sheet. There’s shelving for your bits and pieces and a mini-safe (oddly, prominently displayed) for your valuables. We felt the room was rather overcrowded considering there is only one ensuite with combined shower and toilet (although outside share facilities are available). The bathroom was a tad grotty, surfaces were clean, but stained tiles could do with a good scrub.
Private rooms with ensuite occupy a mish-mash of double-storey buildings surrounding the swimming pool. The blue organic bean-shaped pool is bright and inviting (although no sunblock allowed), and there are plenty of shaded sun lounges, and swinging chairs to relax in. Outside guests can use the pool for 150,000 rupiah (pricey!). Garden plants are labelled with their traditional medicinal use, and many are utilised in Serenity’s Alkaline Restaurant which has a philosophy of “food as medicine”, and much of the menu is vegan or raw. Breakfast is included in the rate for all guests and served here. We tried a tasty salad, but if you want a decent coffee, look elsewhere.
Serenity is a five-minute walk to the beach, and bikes are available for hire if you’d like to peddle further afield. If you’re keen to immerse yourself in yoga and meditation, Serenity Eco Guesthouse is a good budget option, however if you’re just looking for accommodation, there’s better value dorms elsewhere.
If they are fully booked and you’d like a bed nearby, you could try the dorms at Elements B and B and wander down to Serenity for class or If permaculture appeals more than yoga, in a similar vein to Serenity Eco Guesthouse, check out Farmer’s Yard Hostel. Matra Bali Guesthouse on Jalan Pantai Berawa offers yoga with modern flashpacker style (though perhaps not as eco-conscious) rooms and yoga retreats are offered with more upmarket accommodation options (and price tags) at Samadi, The Chillhouse and Desa Seni; or you could try a surf and yoga package at Solid Surf House.
By Sally Arnold
Last updated on 15th March, 2017.
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