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“A place of Sanctuary and rejuvenation.” 5 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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Ranked #22 of 90 Hotels in Ko Phangan
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Pai
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“A place of Sanctuary and rejuvenation.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2012

I stayed at the Sanctuary and did the Weightloss programme which involved a strict raw veg and fruit diet, colonic irrigation programme and lots of exercise.
I loved it and got a lot out of it. I am recovering from an alcohol problem and found the support I was looking for. Victoria and Tasha, both professionals in dealing with addiction and alternative healing process which very much put me at ease. Both were delightful. My personal trainer Bob is now a personal friend even though he tried to physically destroy me. I had a couple of days at the end of my programme to experience the best vege menu I have ever tasted and the staff are super friendly. They have accommodation to suit all pockets and the setting is WOW.
Overall the place is not cheap but the standard of the highest quality and you get what you pay for and some. Try Randall's Regae yoga on a Friday, great fun.
I am looking forward to my return. I was a bird with a broken wing on arrival and left with an excellent first aid repair and a toolbox full of the right knowledge to sustain my well being.
From my heart, I thank the Sanctuary Crew.
Matt. Xx

  • Stayed October 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
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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
Knutsford, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2012

This is an amazing place! Restaurant is the hub, really great food and gatherings, the beach just lovely lots to see very beautiful people, many travellers with lots of stories to tell, boats arriving and leaving no matter what the weather! Yoga in the mornings, massages, steam rooms and plunge pools, lots of gatherings at the tea temple to discuss - well all kinds of stuff as well as 1:1 time with the various practitioners. You should go ... its a real sanctuary - special people to mention ... Jamie, Victoria, Sebastian, Mike, Sam, Chard .... thank you!

Room Tip: Depends on what you want as you can go very cheap or bit more expensive - the older houses are large...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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, October 30, 2012
Hi Marie
thank you so much for your review, and am so glad you enjoyed your stay with us (despite the rain inside your room!) I will make sure to pass on your kind words to all the crew you mentioned too.
Hope to see you again sometime!
Best wishes
Tasha
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Seoul, South Korea
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 18, 2012

We loved Sanctuary so much. It was so peaceful and beautiful, with a completely laid-back relaxing vibe. A week just disappeared for us, lazed into oblivion in hammocks and beach chairs.

The food was phenomenal, and by far my favorite thing about the resort. They have selections for every palate and dietary need. The staff was so friendly and helpful with everything. The property is beautiful and spread out through the jungle so you really feel most pleasantly isolated. There were constantly classes and workshops in things like yoga, mediation, and the like, for a nominal fee. We could have stayed forever.

Just a few things to be aware of, though. This place is indeed a get-away. It is accessible only by boat, and the wifi is even more unreliable than other places on the island, so it's not the place for a working holiday. If your goal is to get away from civilization, it's perfect!

The other thing to be aware of is their weekly all-night party. They play loud music literally all night (I think it didn't stop until almost noon the next day.) They do warn you about it, and provide ear plugs, but you should pretty much just resign yourself to being up all night anyway.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Haleiwa, Hawaii
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2012

We just completed the one week detox and found The Sanctuary to be the ideal place for it. We have also toured many of the detox centers on Samui and are even more impressed with The Sanctuary after getting a feel for the alternatives. The sense of community is strong at The Sanctuary. It is easy to meet people. Since most guests stay for a week or more it is fun to get to know other people who are cleansing or just traveling through.

Moon, Bow, Joy and everyone at the Wellness Center was amazing. They were helpful and kind from start to finish. Moon has tons of experience guiding people through the detox programs they offer. Moon does not claim to have medical training but there is a lot of support from fellow fasters and practitioners at the Tea Temple.

The spa was delightful. I got a treatment everyday and was impressed every single time by all of the practitioners I had. I am a massage therapist so have pretty high standards and was not disappointed. There are a wide variety of alternative therapies and treatments available from practitioners at the Tea Temple.

Service at the restaurant could have been a little quicker. We always gave ourselves plenty of time when we wanted a meal. My only complaint about the food was that I signed up to fast! Next time I'm planning to spend more time eating. The menu is unreal! Everything we had from the detox menu was delicious. I want all of the recipes! Some of the better food I've had in Thailand.

I stayed in a Thai Style Bungalow which was perfect for me. My travel companions are afraid of bugs and geckos so would have preferred the completely enclosed air conditioned rooms. I left all the doors and windows open day and night. The mosquito net was enough for me to feel comfortable.

Tasha and Mike were amazing hosts. Tasha is a fantastic poet. We were lucky enough to catch two of the Open Mic nights. As others have said there is lots of talent around The Sanctuary!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 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
    • 4 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.
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
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.
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
14 reviews 14 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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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