After looking at their website, I decided to stay at the Sanctuary for two weeks. I knew it was expensive before I left home - especially for the land of 200- 600 baht bungalows located right on a beautiful sandy beach- but I was treating myself . I planned to do yoga and make use of their wonderful spa. It would be the most I had ever spent on not eating, but I was okay with that. I wrote an email to reserve the complete fasting package and a fasters Thai style room with a sea view. I got a reply confirming my reservations, and I was told that I could have an ocean view bungalow. I waited for but never received the email regarding the Paypal deposit instructions. I wrote again but never heard back. Since the email said that my reservation was good to go, I figured all was well.
Upon arrival, I was blandly greeted by the Western manager. I was sent to check in at the seperate Detox Center, but the woman could not find my information. After she talked to the aforementioned manager, I was told that I did not reply to his emails and given the impression that it was basically my fault that I did not have a reservation. I did not like this attitude, especially since I had been the one trying to make contact to give them hundreds of my dollars, but I didn't want to start off this way so I let it go. After quite a bit of back and forth with not much effort on their part, I ended up paying 900 baht a night for my bungalow. Even though it was rediculuosly overpriced and located on the side of a mosquito infested cliff (they have tons of standing water all around in plant pots - combined with the foamy swamp and dark verdure, a steady supply of the biters are being bred) I didn't mind - it had a sea view and was nicer than the faster accommodation with its generator noise, dirt garden - and no view.
Unfortunately, this bungalow was the only slightly nice experience at the Sanctuary. I had a terrible massage for 950 baht, the splash pool was full of sweaty people just out of the steam room - it looked brown and disgusting, and the steam room looked suspect. I decided that the fast was a rip-off, and the yoga was just a means for long-staying partiers to fund their beer and spliff tabs. The service is not friendly, and you are given a number and not referred to by name. I felt as if they were only interested in my wallet. Also, a healing retreat this is not - people party a lot and the place is exteremly noisy every Friday night. The music continues well after sunrise. It seems they are trying to cater to two completely disparate clientele.
Also, don't bother bringing your family -my friends found they are not kid-friendly.
I am not a picky traveler, but the prices they charge are simply not worth the products they provide. After eating a rediculously overpriced salad at the restaurant, I renamed this place the Bankruptuary and decided to move elsewhere.
After walking around and checking out the other accommodation, I decided to pack up and move. I ended up paying 250 baht a night for great bungalow and service, and a great Thai and Burmese style hospitality experience nearby.
For those who are picky about their accommodation, I recommed Bamboo Hut overlooking Had Yuan They also have a great restaurant. Love Lip, Beam, and Had Tien Chalet are good for those who want more basic and affordable digs on Had Tien. Also, for a great massage, see May at Bamboo Hut.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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----- Original Message -----
From: The Sanctuary
Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2008 11:14 AM
Subject: Trip advisor report
Not quite sure how to answer this as obviously this woman hated everything about us here which me as the owner finds very upsetting.
I have never seen a more negative review with nothing constructive in it I can even work on, as I would love to make it better for her.
I feel sad that she had sucha terrible time here and nothng met up to her expectations.
I wish to comment on afew things but I do not believe I can change her experience here but would love her to come back as a guest for free so we could amend the bad feeling she has took away.
The swamp as she called it is running and we have it full of frogs and catfish to stop any mosquitoes breeding and the gardens around the wellness are beautiful, our staff been nurturing the land for many years…….
The steam room built into the rocks looking suspect, was does that mean? Fresh steam being pumped into the most beautiful round rock room? I do understand her thinking the splash pool looked dirty as we use only river water to fill this, (a sign clearly saying this), as many fasters do not want chemical but it is changed daily.
The last point about my 4 yoga teachers drinking and smoking has upset all the sanctuary. These people have devoted their life to teaching, caring and healthy living and only drink on the odd occasion and NEVER smoke.
I do not know when she came or how long she fasted, as most fasters after the experience despite little ups and downs are on such natural high and positive that they could never write something as negative as this.
Lastly the fast a rip up, rip off for what? The prices are clear on the web site, we use the recommended drugs and 100’s of people go though us and experience life changing results?
Sometimes in my life I have stayed places, not right…then I leave it is that easy…we had no deposit , why did she stay and also took time to explore all the restaurants in the bay fasting, sounds as if she did not stick to our programme of not eating ?
Lastly the families, where did this one come from………did she have a child? My manager has a 3 year old and there are a quite a few happy families in the bay and as guests.
I am sorry that the sanctuary was not right for this lady; I hope she finds what she is looking for some where else.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.