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“Great pros, some cons” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Sanctuary Thailand

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The Sanctuary Thailand
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Had Tien Bay, Ko Phangan, Thailand (Formerly The Sanctuary Island Resort)   |  
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Hotel amenities
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Double your stay
Ranked #22 of 90 Hotels in Ko Phangan
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Melbourne, Australia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Great pros, some cons”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2012

FOOD: Amazing. One of the largest vegetarian menus you've ever seen. I ate 3 meals a day for a week, barely trying anything twice, and I probably only got through half of it. The food is consistently excellent, and the variety is incredible. On top of the many Thai dishes, there are Indian, Mexican, Italian, Pizza, Raw, and Burger (with 6 different vegetarian patties to choose from! the spicy nut-based one was my favourite) sections. They are surprisingly sparing with the herbs though.

ATMOSPHERE: A little too cool for our tastes. They must take the ugly people out the back and bury them or something, because there's an improbable proportion of beautiful people here, whether hot babes or Bronzed Adonises parading their muscles around. Sadly, you get the distinct feeling that everyone is kinda worried about how they look and whether they're cool enough. Eventually we realised that most people are actually quite nice, so it's annoying that The Sanctuary inserted this kind of Western superficiality and stand-offishness into such a blissfully down-to-Earth country.

SURROUNDS: Very nice. Lush jungle around the resort, with geckos and frogs everywhere, as well as some wonderful cats and dogs. Nice semi-secluded beach, though a bit rocky. Make sure you go to Had Juan (15 mins very scenic walk), which is a larger and more beautiful beach, with a more laid back atmosphere.

FACILITIES: We had an airconditioned hut, which was very nice. Wifi is patchy in parts, but very good at the restaurant. Massages were ***fantastic***. I had five, and apart from leaving me in perpetual bliss, they cured a months-old RSI injury in my arm.

Room Tip: The elevated side of the resort is even more picturesque and intimate than the rest of the resort, b...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanctuaryThailand, Guest Relations Manager at The Sanctuary Thailand, responded to this review, August 30, 2012
Oh this one really made us laugh. So glad you enjoyed the food and massages and so on; and much as I hate to disappoint you, we haven't yet taken to burying the ugly folk out back.
You are not the first person to comment that there do indeed seem to be a lot of beautiful people here. My personal theory is that somehow, people are more radiant here: Happiness? Sunshine? Good food? Nice company? The magic smoothies? All that gorgeous beach and nature relaxation? I'm not really sure.
And don't tell anyone, but secretly: I quite like it.
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375 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (69)
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2012

I visited the sanctuary as part of a solo trip around SEA before returning to the UK after having lived in Asia for many years. In all my travels (in Asia and Africa, where I also lived for 10 years), this is by far the worse (and I had just spent 3 weeks in a guesthouse in Phnom Penh for 3 dollars a night).
In nutshell: pretentious staff who can't distinguish relaxed/cool from pretentious and lazy.

1. Arrived at the place via boat (no other choice) & left to drag my luggage along the beach (so, on the sand) - all staff sat, watching & not offering to help
2. At reception, I met an incredibly rude girl who remained rude to me during my entire stay - but more on this later.
3. Got to my room - lamps & fridge & wifi code given to me not working.. and no phone in room (my room is 10 minutes walk to reception)
=> After travelling all day, no fresh water to drink
=> Had to go to receptio to ask for new code... and another 6 or 7 times after that. FYI: My room was quite far from reception, the path is not lit and I was warned to watch out for dangerous snakes and scorpions. Nonetheless, I had to go to and from reception many times on that path at night to ask for the new wifi codes, which the staff at reception found very amusing and openly made funof me. Yes, I am here to relax. But I am a solo traveler and so I need to stay in touch some way or another with people back home - and I certainly will not accept to be judged over this.
4. Went to get a massage - staff was so rude and brutal that I told the lady that if she had a problem I would rather she did not massage me. She didnd't speak a word of english so she kept hurting me during massage (pulling my hair, applying to much pressure despite me asking her many times not to)
5. After 1 night I had had enough! - Went to tell reception that I'd be leaving early as not happy - the rude staff just said "OK".
6. Finally, I asked reception to send someone at 10am to my room the next day to help me with my luggage, and I got a bang on the door at 7.50am!!!
When I complained to the manager, I was told the sanctuary changed people's lives (doubt that a hotel can do that) and that "it's just not for everyone". Agree on last point, no where is for everyone, but a place called The Sanctuary should certainly do a lot more than just the basics (which were not covered) to live up to its name.
I then went to an eco hotel in Koh Tao which was amazing - most places are. The Sanctuary is not.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanctuaryThailand, Guest Relations Manager at The Sanctuary Thailand, responded to this review, August 22, 2012
Hi Petra,
Again, I am really saddened that so much went wrong in the short period of time that you stayed with us. As I wrote in my previous email, I’m truly sorry we didn’t meet during your stay to discuss these issues in person, but rest assured we have been looking into the points you raised, in particular about the reception, the spa, and our room maintenance.
Best Wishes
Tasha
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1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2012

If your looking for a healthy place to relax and get away from it all. This is it! Vegetarian food, thai traditional massage, yoga, hamics, beautiful beach with great swimming. Casual drinks in the evening and if you need a little more pep you can walk over the hill to the next cove for a little night life but don't worrie you can't here any of it from the Sanctuary. The staff speak English and are really helpful.

Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Helsinki, Finland
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2012

I had a very unique holiday week in Sanctuary and when I returned home my friend told me that it was highly visible that I had spent my holiday in a place with healty food and tranquility - and I agreed totally. My own highlights there were harmonious yoga classes in a cosy Buddha Hall with excellent yoga teachers who paid a lot attention to right alignments in poses and super delicious and healty food and smoothies in a restaurant (very nice staff) + nice spa treatments of course. There would have been also many interesting things happening in Tea Temple (healing, astrology etc.) and during my next visit I'll attend more of those as well - yes, I'll definitely come back :)

Room Tip: when it's hot outside A/C would be nice
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Copenhagen, Denmark
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2012

Beautiful place. Enjoyed the detox program, the yoga, the meditation, the treatments, the spa, the food, the service. All in all the perfect place to go for relaxation and reloading. Would go there again anytime.

Room Tip: Choose the thai style bungalows if you want that thai feeling.
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2012

I have been four times and will go again as soon as life permits. Think hammocks, smiles, sunshine, amazing food, cleansing, pina coladas, great music, yoga. Oh so much love and good times. Most of the bungalows look over the water through the trees, and when the sun rises you can swing in the hammock on your balcony, then go down to the restaurant for breakfast, swim, kayak, walk over to the next beach for more swimming and eating. Then maybe have a spa where you can get massages - I LOVE the 30 min deep tissue shoulder massage. They screen movies at night, or have open mike, or people just sit and talk to each other in the beautiful restaurant bar that is built around a massive tree. Just go if you can!

Room Tip: To book a bungalow you just show up. I've never not got a bed just showing up, even when I'v...
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2012

I feel such a high after a cleanse/fast here. It's a must. I was tying to do it every year but now think it has to be twice a year just for the joy it seems to bring me. I always leave feeling and looking SO much better inside and out. I LOVE THIS PLACE!!!!!! And you won't find a more eclectic bunch of consistently wonderful and interesting people anywhere.

  • Stayed April 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Sanctuary Thailand

Address: Had Tien Bay, Ko Phangan, Thailand (Formerly The Sanctuary Island Resort)
Phone Number:
Location: Thailand > Surat Thani Province > Ko Phangan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Kitchenette Spa Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#6 Spa Hotel in Ko Phangan
#14 On the Beach Hotel in Ko Phangan
Number of rooms: 21
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Established in 1991 The Sanctuary is a unique beach front resort offering beautiful houses, comfortable bungalows and budget dorm beds & boasts a 300 + vegetarian and seafood menu & bakery. Offering a diverse Spa menu & Detox fasting center, day trips, Kayaking, snorkelling and our gym to encourage you out of your beach front hammock. An eclectic mix of guests ensures a special beach holiday. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
The Sanctuary Island Hotel Koh Phangan
The Sanctuary Island Spa

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