The story behind Casa Om

Editor’s Note: Read the story of how Casa Om owners Hargobind and Siri Om turned a sleepy retreat center near Cancun into a luxurious, boutique yoga retreat center, hosting amazing retreats year round!

Somewhere along the 307 highway from Cancun to Tulum, I stared into my rearview mirror wondering what would happen next. I was on my way back to Casa Om and I was going a little too fast. By a little, I mean a lot. I had already explained I was in the music business, and to the cop’s great amusement, I wasn’t Saddam Hussein’s nephew. The fat, little officer returned with my license and asked me,”How did an Arab mariachi like you, end up here in Mexico?” How succinct, I thought.

I had been wondering the same thing.

Somewhere around December 31st 2011 I was writing New Year’s Resolutions. I like resolutions. It’s a time to dream and ask the existential questions. There were many resolutions, but 3 of them would come to fruition:

1) Live in another country
2) Gain fluency in a different language
3) Build a retreat center
Around January 5th, my friend Charlie sent me a note about a place for sale in Puerto Morelos. It was a yoga retreat center but it hadn’t been used much. It needed a little work he said.
I was planning to be in the area with Mirabai Ceiba for a mix of work and fun in early January 2012. I figured why not, it couldn’t hurt to look at this place. After a magical concert in the botanical gardens in Puerto Morelos, my wife and I went for a tour of the Casa. I remember thinking the space was chaotic. It had odd paint colors. It had charm but it needed new bathrooms, floors, windows, landscaping, paint, and kitchens. It was a lot. It needed a pool and pretty much everything else.
I remember thinking~
– It was too much work
– I wasn’t a good designer
– My Spanish was weak
– My construction skills were poor
– I had no friends here, and when I blew this, probably anywhere else too
– I couldn’t afford it
– I was scared
I remember sitting on the steps and feeling overwhelmed. Just the sheer amount of construction to turn the place into a viable product was tremendous. I was the co owner of SpiritVoyage and we had Bikram Yoga Fairfax to run. I thought I don’t need this.


After finishing the tour, I slumped down on a bench, feeling tired. I looked to my wife and expressed half my doubts before she cut me off. She said “I know exactly what to do, don’t worry. Just get the deal done”.

There have been a few times, where she said similar things to me. I have placed many of my biggest bets on her. I thought that if I messed this up, we would probably tank our other endeavors as well. This was more complex than before but one of my rules has always been:

Bet the most, on the ones you love.

I remembered New Years and found it cosmic that this would fulfill so many of my resolutions.

We went home and placed a low offer with some hopes they would reject it. I thought, once they countered or said no, I would walk and it would be over. I could say I tried. I stepped away from my email satisfied that this fantasy was fleeting. I went to bed content and slept well thinking this would never happen.I came back the next morning and checked my email. They accepted.

Wow I thought. This is going to be awesome.

 

Here is a photo of the yoga room after we finished work on it.

 

Here is a photo of the Yoga Room before we started work on it

Here is the 2nd floor balcony as the guys started working

 

Here is the dining area as we started work And here it is after we finished 
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