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“Beautiful and very relaxed” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Sanctuary Thailand

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The Sanctuary Thailand
Had Tien Bay, Ko Phangan, Thailand (Formerly The Sanctuary Island Resort)   |  
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Ranked #24 of 92 Hotels in Ko Phangan
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Beautiful and very relaxed”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2012

An absolutely gorgeous place to stay. The staff were amazing, almost embarassingly helpful. The restaurant had amazing food, particularly the fish. There are yoga and meditation classes everyday, good for beginners and more advanced. The spa offers a very wide range of massages and treatments.

My only criticism is that it's certainly not cheap by Thai standards. The accommodation in particular is a little pricey. We had a very nice but bungalow but it certainly wasn't luxurious (no a/c) but it still cost more than a lot of places we stayed with nicer accommodation. They justify this by saying they offer many other quality services and it has to cost more to ensure they offer the best. However, seeing as you pay for all spa, food and yoga classes etc. as extras, I'm not sure that's a fair justification. Still, overall a great place to go and chill.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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352 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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English first
Auckland, New Zealand
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2012

We spent a week here with our 2 kids (7 and 12) and it was the most gorgeous chilled out week ever. Felt really safe so the kids were able to roam around freely (catching frogs and lizards, reading in the hammocks, swimming, chatting with the ever friendly staff, practising hula hooping on the beach) giving us free time too. Can't rave enough about the food - totally fresh tasty delicious and healthy - makes you feel great. I also loved the music!! We stayed in a 3 bed bungalow, private and spacious and lots of character built in keeping with the natural environment. Best holiday ever it was so hard to leave.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2012

I stayed at The Sanctuary in late January this year after hearing some amazing things. And there were definitely some amazing things, so let's start with those:

Mr Moon is a real character. All the staff at the detox centre really seem to strive to provide an excellent service. And they do. I've done many detox retreats before, and it's comparable to others in terms of service.

The tea temple was fantastic. I had a shiatsu session with an amazing healer. She really made the whole trip worth it.

In the middle:

We stayed in a mid-range detox hut. The room was so-so. I liked the simplicity of the design. The balcony was nice. The bed was so hard. There were no blankets, just a sarong. One night it was freezing! The fan clicked so I didn't like to have it on. Everything else was just fine. I didn't think there was a problem with housekeeping at all.

The yoga was - at times - excellent. There was a middle-aged lady who looked like a supermodel who I would definitely recommend. There was also a very nurturing male teacher who's classes were perfectly tuned to the dizzy-detoxers. I also had the worst yoga class I have ever had there. A peacock of a teacher who checked his phone all through-out the class and even sent a text! The class seemed more about six-packs and being the bendiest. I was expecting a really beautiful shala. I was a little disappointed. Make sure you wear insect repellent- the netting is broken in places and I was bitten by mosquitos a lot. There is a really great shala up the hill behind the Sanctuary, and another in the next bay north.

The food was good, I guess. Not that much different from an organic cafe in Australia (same prices too...). I get how difficult it is to transport things in and out. Not that exciting, but certainly not bad.

The not-so-good:

Outside of the tea and detox centres the staff all seemed really angry or self-involved. Especially the lady at the internet cafe. Wow. At the restaurant, the waiters would just throw down your meal and not even make eye contact. Not always - there were some lovely staff, but it was a vibe that they were too busy, hung-over and wrapped-up in their social intrigues to do their jobs with any grace.

I had read about the cliquiness and didn't really care. But when I got there my feelings changed. There was very much a culture of "right" people. It's not managements' fault. But it exists and it can make you uncomfortable. It isn't/wasn't (I'm sure the social culture changes with its guests) a very inclusive vibe.

The beach... I've seen bluer, clearer, calmer waters edged with softer, whiter sand. It is, for Thailand, a less-than-average beauty.

The vibe was just really not that magic. It felt cut-throat, unloving and unloved. That's harsh, I'm sorry. I felt like I was in a ridiculous American highschool movie except everyone was really into alternative therapies/intoxicants.

In summary, I was left feeling pretty mixed. Unfortunately for me, the negatives outweighed the positives. The good things were really good. The bad things were really pretty bad.I wouldn't return.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
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, September 19, 2012
Hi, and thanks for your feedback.
Its absolutely true that late January turned out to be an unexpectedly busy high season, and yes – we were somewhat overwhelmed at that time. Our service in the restaurant was indeed hurried and not at its best in our efforts to satisfy the huge demand for food : though that is no excuse for rudeness or anger.
So I am very sorry that you had such a poor experience at The Sanctuary. We are doing our best to make sure we have enough trained staff this year for the whole of our busy season, and have certainly learned from what didn’t go so well last year.
My favourite times at The Sanctuary are when everybody interacts with each other and you can see friendships forming and deepening between all the people who are here, be they holiday makers, detoxers, teachers, healers, people who live in the bay or those attending workshops in our School of Life program. There are unfortunately times when the social circles veer into cliquiness – which, despite being beyond our control, is never nice to experience, and certainly doesn’t lead to a loving vibe. I’m happy to say that in my experience, it doesn’t happen very often - and thankfully we are blessed with such a good diverse client base, there are always other good people around to be sociable with!
Best wishes,
Tasha
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Singapore, Singapore
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
49 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2012

The Sanctuary is really a Sanctuary in Koh Phangan. Despite reading a few bad reviews (funny this place attract either really good or really bad reviews), I decided to give this place a shot - and No Regrets, yes even staying in this place over a noisy Friday night :). Best thing about this place is VALUE for money....I stayed in one of the cheapest bungalow, and the rooms are very clean to my standards. There is only cold water in the bungalow. If you don't like cold showers, I believe they do provide bungalows with warm water - but you really don't need warm water in Ko Phangan. If you are someone who is attached to urban comforts, do choose one of their bungalows with more amenities.

I was here for some simplicity and yoga - and this is the right place for that. The yoga teachers are great, not at all pushy - cleared a few of my misconceptions on yoga.
It has its own private beach(they have sun loungers) with a hip vegetarian restaurant/bar/cafe up in the front - it feels like stepping into a Sofitel hotel when I checked-in except I didn't pay for Sofitel prices and is a place blessed with natural beauty.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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, September 18, 2012
Hi Peggy, thank you so much for your review - and i'm glad the Friday night party didn't disturb you too much!
Best wishes
Tasha
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Melbourne, Australia
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2012

Don't think about it twice!!!! Based on past recommendations, I decided to visit the Sanctuary that lasted for two weeks. I've travelled extensively throughout Asia both for business and leisure.

What a place!!! Firstly, it's the staff and the energy they bring to this place is simply amazing. I arrived by boat and very jet lagged and was welcomed by Mike (Manager for the entire resort). Apart from being a complete gentleman, Mike was keen to pass on some great advice and always made sure that I was taken care of by his wonderful team. There wasnt a day that went past without Mike asking if i was ok. You don't find that in resorts. It's a place that is very difficult to describe but it just provides this level of calmness and relaxation. Every layer of stress is slowly stripped away from your body- it's bizarre.

Food? I'm a big meat eater and let me teel you, I did not miss it for one moment based on their extensive Vegetarian dishes that also included Seafood- I've never felt that good in my life and always looked forward to entering the restaurant everyday. 10/10 for the quality of the food!!!

The Tea temple provided you with an opportunity to meet up with their holistic team and it's each to their own in terms of what you're seeking. I found it to be a defining moment after visiting the astrologist Julie and Kimmana (Indian herbalist guru). As stated, each to their own and I encourage you to vist and consider what's on hand.

If you're a English premier soccer league fan then don't worry in terms of missing out on English premier results as Chard (reception centre) will update you on a regular basis along with some statistics to support his conclusions. This bloke walks around with a smile 24 hours a day.

Accommodation:

I decided to go with the Garden suite Villas and it didn't disappoint for one moment. Very clean and comfortable. If you're looking for that jungle type of atmosphere then the sanctuary has these types of rooms available. The choice is yours. All budgets are catered for based on their extensive accomm types availability.

Open mic night is another highlight where everyone is invited to get up on stage and sing, dance, theatre, peom reading etc. The talent will blow you away.

The beach is very clean and the quality of the massages will put you to sleep- that's how good they are!!!

In summary, The Sanctuary is an incredible place that serves many purposes. From meeting amazing people, wonderful food, sincere and caring staff, will no doubt provide you with the break that you've been looking for in a long time. I urge you all to consider this place and rest assured I will be back again very soon. Don't think about it, just go!!!

Feel free to send me questions.

My sincere thanks to Mike and the staff at The Sanctaury.

Cheers

Bill K

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanctuaryThailand, Manager at The Sanctuary Thailand, responded to this review, September 12, 2012
Bill! What an amazing review! Thank you so much for taking the time to write in so much detail about your time at The Sanctuary. " It's a place that is very difficult to describe but it just provides this level of calmness and relaxation. Every layer of stress is slowly stripped away from your body..." I'm really happy you got to experience the full Sanctuary effect.
We've shared your feedback with the whole staff so they can enjoy the feelgood factor too!
Hope to see you again soon,
Mike
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Genoa, Italy
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2012

I have been travelling for years all around the world but nevere found such an amazing place.
The Sanctuary is beyong expectation,, actually beyond imagination.
A truly spirtitual experience.
The bay is unique, yoga teachers are amazing, massage and SPA treatment top quality, healers are so nice and helpful.
The place is also very weel managed. For some reasons clients are very nice.
All this creates a UNIQUE atmosphere. For the first time in my life i felt in paradise - and a paradise is difficult to describe.
Thanks to all THE SANCTUARY CREW!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
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SanctuaryThailand, Guest Relations Manager at The Sanctuary Thailand, responded to this review, September 10, 2012
Thank you so much Antonella - so glad you had such a great time! 'for some reason, clients are very nice..." i'm never sure whether we just attract great people, or whether being here just brings out the best in everyone - i like to think it's the latter.
and we'll get those shoes in the post to you today!
thanks again
Tasha
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New York City, New York
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2012

I have been extensively traveling all over the world
From the most luxuries hotels/restaurants to the most basic
If u are looking for a spiritual experience in the most magical set up the sanctuary is your paradise
Its the Most beautiful cosmic beach in Thailand
most amazing yoga teacher and great healers
I'm in love with this place and will go back there for the rest of my life

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
SanctuaryThailand, Guest Relations Manager at The Sanctuary Thailand, responded to this review, September 10, 2012
Thanks Yael - glad to have you back!
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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 Restaurant Spa Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#8 Spa Hotel in Ko Phangan
#16 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 
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Also Known As:
The Sanctuary Island Hotel Koh Phangan
The Sanctuary Island Spa

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