I stayed 6 nights at Serenity Eco Guesthouse and yoga in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia. Somebody recommended it to me as yogi’s heaven. In a review somebody wrote “Everybody is into yoga etc., not my thing ” so I knew I had to go there ! I definitely liked the place which has a good heart and can recommend it but with some changes it would be upgrade from good to fantastic.
It started with the booking. I have seen the availability on a famous booking site so I’ve sent a message to their WhatsApp to make a direct booking to save money for them (around 10-15%). After 20 minutes of chatting it turned out that I had to pay 3 nights in advance with a 3% credit card surcharge instead of paying only one night when booking via the booking site. Okay, if you want to loose money like that, not my choice.
The beds are good, my dorm room had 7 beds (2 more than expected, but maybe I didn’t read the description well). In the dorm I hadn’t a problem with noise. I have also seen a double room which looked very nice and cosy.
The guesthouse looks cosy, but it gives a messy (first) impression. It started with one house, then a second, then a third etc. And that is visible. Everything worked well technically seen and the daily cleaning was perfectly done, but… the aesthetically maintenance level and deep cleaning leaves to be desired. Cables everywhere (why not put them into the bamboo structures) and unaligned, paint spots, dirty corners etc. Every sign (and they have a lot!) has a different (handwritten) style. A lot of small things which can be improved easily to have a better look and impression.
The staff was very nice, smiley and friendly, but when I asked for an extra blanket because I’m always cold with an aircon on it was not possible.
I did one yoga class, which was a nice one. The first day somebody told me that the teachers were okay but not that special. But during my stay I heard that the most teachers were very good with doing a lot of adjustments. So for sure I should have taken more lessons to try it myself, but I was happy practicing on the beach with my own sequence. (Sorry, slightly brainwashed by my yoga teacher training teachers). One time I practiced in an empty shala were I could go to after just asking at the reception. The mats and props look good by the way.
The classes are 100k (5 x 450k / 20 x 1,5M / 7 days 900k / 30 days 2,2M) When you buy it at your checking you get reduction of 10%, but only when you decide at that moment and only for single classes and not for packages. People of other (partner) guesthouses can also get 10% so it’s kind of strange. In house guests should get at least 15% reduction for single classes and 10% for packages!
The location is perfect. When you leave the premises you see the sea already. You’re close to the popular beach Batu Bolong and her beach bars.
I wanted to rent a bike (30k/day). They look very rusty and old. In Holland you would not lock it in the hope it gets stolen, so you have a good excuse to buy a new one. 🙂 (okay a bit exaggerated but still, I would not dare to rent them out ). Nevertheless I took one but after ten meter I shifted a gear and it stopped working, so I returned it. I got my money back without a problem by the way. Luckily the guesthouse next to Serenity also rented a bike and I took one there.
The WiFi worked well in general, but you always had to re-log in with typing in a long password in your web browser after some time of inactivity. Pretty annoying and not handy if you are digital nomad.
The guests are all into yoga and friendly. I connected with some of them very well, but a lot are also just watching their screens in the lobby and restaurant. Almost everybody is to bed or room around 10pm. We analyzed it and we concluded that a lot of yogi’s are introverted and get their energy from books and screens. And some are just shy. Also the ladies might not be bothered by 35+ old men trying to make contact 🙂 After some days it was easier to get contact because they know your face and you exchanged some glances. So it’s definitely worth staying a bit longer than 3 or 4 days. There are nice corners to sit and hang around, maybe it should be better to have one larger single central place to promote contact, but that’s just a guess.
I spoke with the French owner who is a very friendly man who has a good heart for his employees. Also I heard that one of the managers talked to someone who left earlier so they definitely care for their guests. You can also see that in the responses on reviews on different sites. Maybe that’s why my expectations were high and maybe too high. Everything was definitely what it should be, but I was missing that last bit of perfection and magic.
Nevertheless all the but’s I enjoyed my stay at Serenity Guesthouse, would recommend it and wished that I came earlier here, also to connect more with others.