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“excellent, but you have to understand it” 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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Ranked #23 of 92 Hotels in Ko Phangan
ljubljana
Top Contributor
91 reviews 91 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
“excellent, but you have to understand it”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

I spent 8 days in the Sanctuary and have very interesting experience. The Sanctuary is a very complicated place. It has vast variety of accomodation, which is not very well explained on their web site. So, I am not giving excellent rating only because of presentation, as we have expected something else. This is not to say that we have not been happy, but the Sanctuary shoudl do more to explain to its prospective visitors the types of accommodation.

Firstly, the hotel is located in, at least in my opinion, one of the most beautifuls spots on earth. It is quiet and relaxing. It has a reasonably priced excellent restaurant. The staff is very nice and kind, however, somehow ineffective.

Take care as there is a lot of mosquitoes (note the fault of the Sanctuary).

Room Tip: just take care to check beforehand what type of accomodation you are booking
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
SanctuaryThailand, Guest Relations Manager at The Sanctuary Thailand, responded to this review, May 8, 2013
hi sergej, and thanks for your feedback, which made us smile.
we do indeed have a vast and complicated array of accommodation: its enough to drive us all crazy! while on the one hand it means there is something for everyone, if you haven't been here already its very hard to imagine how it all works. we are currently working on updating and improving our website and doing our best to reflect our varied accommodation, and help people make the best choices for their holiday.
but what really made us smile was your comment about our staff being very kind, and somehow ineffective: yup, we agree - on both counts. its a constant work in progress to improve our level of service - and yet our crew, especially in the restaurant and bar, are unfailingly lovely. one day we are convinced we will be both kind and effective...!
best wishes
tasha
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346 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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (60)
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Horsham, West Sussex
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2013 via mobile

I fell in love with everything Koh Phanang had to offer and this beach on the east side of the island (Haad Tien to be exact) was the perfect getaway for paradise.

The people are so friendly, it's not the cheapest on Thailand standards but well worth the extra money. The bungalows are relaxed and pretty. The food well don't get me started on their vegetarian menu it is literally to die for and the smoothies! You may have to wait a little while for your food sometimes though.

The beach is so chilled and has a very hippie laid back vibe! Guys bar party is so much fun and great music especially when David Chong plays every Friday. The same can be said for Eden on Haad Yuan beach every Tuesday and Saturday.

They have free meditation at 6pm everyday and great yoga and healing classes!

I can't express how much you must go here, you'd be stupid to go I Thailand and not visit this place!

I am going back, again and again and again!!

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ko Phangan, Thailand
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2013

We went to see and experience the sanctuary for just a day and our experience lasted about 5 hours, of which 2 were because the food was taking so long.

For some people this might be the ideal getaway, but we were clearly not those people. The only good thing was the choice of menu in the restaurant. Lots and lots to choose from. That is, if they are not out of bean sprouts, wheatgrass, bananas, and asparagus. We made a good choice, but some of the prices seemed outrageous. For an apple, carrot, beetroot you pay 130 baht, which I can get around the corner for 50 baht (without 0% ice instead of 60%). It took ages before our food to arrive and for surfing on the internet in the meanwhile they charge you extra.

After that we went to the spa to get a special treatment (1300 baht total), consisting of some steam bath, a relaxing oil massage, and a facial something. The steam bath was ok I guess (150 baht). The oil massage was the most expensive and dissapointing we've had in Thailand so far (800 baht). It was either way to soft or way to hard, always at least 2 inches away from the "sweet spot", and after about 45 minutes I decided to say thank you and walk out. With the facial they were really just doing something. It had nothing to do with a facial that I'm used to getting, where they adjust the facial to your skin type and such. The facial was not on the separate menu but must have costed 450 baht.

Because I walked out early I decided to wait for my gf on the beach. The beach is filthy, rocky, not very clear, but ok. I asked someone for the time and the answer was:"I don't know, It's now". Thanks Eckhart! That brings me to my next problem: the other guests. A general lack of hygiene, cuddling each other constantly and playing guitar at every fricking corner, seemed to be a normal practice here. The ones who are vasting walk around like they can grab an uzzi any time of the day to walk into the restaurant. You can recognize them by walking around in little to no clothes and usually wearing massive headphones.

So, finally my girlfriend came back to me in tears asking me if we could take the first boat back to the normal world. Waiting for the other two passengers to be finished touching other guests and dramatically saying goodbye to their supercool new long life friends, we got chased by the restaurant manager asking if we would pay our bills (that we already paid). (small note: the staff in the restaurant was in fact very friendly and genuinely interested).

So if you're into the new age / hippie thing, this is the right place for you. Otherwise, go to Thong Nai Pan Noi, safe a ton, enjoy nicer beaches, better massages, etc.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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, April 22, 2013
Hi and thanks for your review. For us this is indeed a very helpful review, for as you say, ‘for some people this might be the ideal getaway’, but we acknowledge we are not for everyone. Yes, there is some hugging and folk playing guitars – for the lovers of these things, we are a paradise! For those who prefer the, as you say, normal world, thank goodness there is plenty of that on offer throughout the rest of Thailand, and I am glad you have found places that suit your tastes.
As for your review of the spa and the wait for food, these are valid points which we are always trying to improve and, in fact, have just hired a Food & Beverages manager to oversee improvements in our kitchen and restaurant.
Just a couple of notes: guests staying at The Sanctuary receive free wifi; and due to our island location and the enormous array of food we offer, it is not always possible to have everything in stock.
With apologies to you for any bad service you received – enjoy the normal world!
Best wishes
Tasha
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Singapore, Singapore
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2013

really good group of people at this resort. the staff is friendly (mike, nowlan, alicia, tasha, and the locals of course) and the crowd this place attracts is really unique. its not your typical "resort retreat", i would say its more a place to hang out and meet people. i wouldn't recommend the place to my parents per say, but i would highly recommend to any of my friends.
good place to do yoga if thats your thing, party if thats your thing, or just lounge around and mingle. try to travel around the island (east side) if you can cause there are lots of gorgeous beaches nearby.
incredible break from my stressful life. highly recommended.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guangzhou
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

My husband and I spent 6 days at this resort and found the service very good and the staff, especially those at the Wellness Centre, very attentive to our needs and all went out of their way to assist with our detox programme. A great place to relax on the beach or in your hammock but with great options of other resorts close by for meals or sunset drinks. For those who need more action, there is a party every Friday night that swings until the sun comes up! Pilates classes were very professional and fun and there are many other healing workshops on offer. Costumes and wraps are all you need for this laid back resort!
We will definitely be back!

Room Tip: Rooms at the back of the garden are quieter while those nearer the beach are closer to the action.
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
Taipei
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2013

My 2nd time here - the charm is gone a little. I wasn't here over the weekend before, so did not experience the nearby party that they warn you about. Granted, it's not super loud (although earplugs are supplied in all rooms), but you can hear the distinct pulse of the house/techno from every part of the resort - in some places, it's more audible. It starts at 7pm Fri. and continues without break until Sunday morning I'm told. Relentless. It was one thing to hear it even early into the morning Sat., but that it never stops ALL DAY was disturbing for me. It's this thumping booze and drug-fueled sound that brings images of partying and self abuse for me - not quite what I want from a detox holiday!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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, March 31, 2013
Oh my goodness, we'd all go mad if that was the case!
The party in our bay begins around 11pm on Friday night and goes on till around midday on Saturday.
There is another party from Saturday evening to Sunday morning, but that is on the next beach along and the noise does not travel to us.
At Christmas and New Year the parties can go on for longer and we warn all our guests, especially detoxers, before we book them in that these few weeks are a more party-focused time in these three small bays than the rest of the year.
Best wishes,
Tasha
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Berlin, Deutschland
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2013

My girlfriend and me just got back from 1 week intense relaxation (no detox unfortunately) at Sanctuary and we are truly amazed by the kind spirits, the perfect service, the incredibly nice surroundings and all the yoga, mediation and healing workshops that are being offered (especially SOMALOGY with Tyr - he changed my life through correcting my posture).

We can truly recommend that place!

Gonna come back for a genuine detox next year! :)

Room Tip: Try getting a cheap bungalow for around 1000 Baht - they are really nice and close to the beach.
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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 Restaurant Spa Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#7 Spa Hotel in Ko Phangan
#15 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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