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“Peaceful Harmonie If you can get a Room” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Sanctuary Island Resort

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The Sanctuary Island Resort
Had Tien Bay, Ko Phangan, Thailand   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #21 of 91 hotels in Ko Phangan
Dublin,Ireland
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Peaceful Harmonie If you can get a Room”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2013

Everyone will get something from this place and you will walk away at least a little bit more fulfilled.

I stayed here for 4 nights in June 2013 with my friend and I simply loved it. The Yoga & Mediation classes are great. well run and you will find one that suits as there are so many types. The food it top notch, but expensive and the smoothies are to die for! A day didn't go by where I didn't have at least 2!

The Accommodation is very relaxing and comfortable, The Sanctuary itself is very very clean and the staff are awesome, they bring peacefulness and calm to the Sanctuary. It is very well run.

First issue I had was with the way you book the accommodation, basically you can't unless you are going to stay in the very expensive bungalows (3000 - 4000baht) you can't book accommodation. You have to either call them the morning you wan to stay there (To Check if they have a bed) or turn up and hope for the best. This is not idea by any means as you have to get a water taxi to the beach there (at 150baht each))and if they don't have anything within your budge the other accommodation on this beach is not great (Beam Bungalows). The Sanctuary offers a dorm room at about 220baht a night but they only have 8 beds in one dorm and this is constantly booked up, after that if you are not sharing it gets very expensive as a "Cheap" Bungalow is about 1200baht a night, bit of a jump!

Second Issue! They don't take Credit Cards!!! major problem, make sure you bring enough cash.

Room Tip: Don't pick the bungalow right behind the Restaurant, it is very noisy very early in the morning
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
SanctuaryThailand, Guest Relations Manager at The Sanctuary Island Resort, responded to this review, September 28, 2013
hello trekkieboots,
thank you for your review which is much appreciated, and i am very glad you enjoyed your time at the sanctuary!
just wanted to straighten out a fact or two:
we have 10 dorm beds at 220 bt a night and 14 more in our zorba dorm at 330 bt a night. the cheapest available private rooms and bungalows start at 650 bt a night.
and then the credit card issue: yes indeed. we are perhaps the last outpost in the civilised world where you can eat smoked salmon, but you can't pay with a credit card. crazy but true. we really appreciate that its a bit of a hassle carrying cash and that expensive and unpleasant visits to had rin are occasionally required... thank you for bearing with us!
with best wishes to you and your boots,
tasha
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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 (52)
Date | Rating
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English first
Sydney Australia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2013

I arrived at the Sanctuary with some prior knowledge of what to expect, from friends who had gone before me, stretching back some 15 years. The Sanctuary is a very well know destination by now, but it still feels like you have stumbled upon a hidden gem when you land on the beach at Haad Tien. The idea of 'Sanctuary' means something different to everybody,and here you can immerse yourself in Yoga, Healing Treatments, Detox Programs ... or you can do nothing and just decompress on the beach like I did. It is all there if you want it, but you never feel pushed into doing anything. The grounds are immaculately kept, the accommodation is very comfortable and clean, the staff friendly and helpful and the food is wholesome and tasty, especially for a vego like me (you can get great fish dishes here as well, but the menu is mainly vegetarian and if you need a fat, juicy steak to keep you happy, you might need a backup plan). You are also on the fringe of a tropical jungle, so expect all the other things that come with this. There will be various insects around you, but this closeness to nature is part of the attraction of this spot. It's not the Four Seasons .... it is a bit rustic but that is part of the charm of the place and a big reason that people come here instead of some of the flashier resorts. Mike, Tasha and their crew run a tight operation and nothing was ever an issue or a problem during my 2 week stay. I have travelled all over SE Asia and I have seen the good, the bad and the downright ugly ... but the Sanctuary is a special spot and place that I will definitely be returning to.

Stayed September 2013, traveled solo
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SanctuaryThailand, Guest Relations Manager at The Sanctuary Island Resort, responded to this review, September 20, 2013
ah thank you delon for such a lovely review - i'm so glad you got the rest and relaxation you were looking for. it was a pleasure to have you with us - see you next time!
best wishes
tasha
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Ban Muak Lek, Saraburi, Thailand
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2013

Sanctuary, the place of peace, located in the heart of Phangan, island, most of people here are very good that we can't imaging how good they are, they are friendly, they are helpful, and they are waiting for you to come.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Los Angeles, California
Top Contributor
90 reviews 90 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2013

The location is amazing and the rooms and restrauant are well placed as the resort blends in with nature by being terraced along the hills behind the beach...bungalows are rustic...many, many mosquitoes and with the holes in the floor you need the net...the hike up to the rooms through the restrauant is great excercise...my view was mostly jungle but many rooms have views of the beach...big negative is the loud music that occurs every friday night through Sat afternoon...right...it goes on all night and the morning...not sleep unless you join into the dancing...great place to meet all the beautiful people...a mix of solos, couples and families...hot and humid in Aug and Sept... food is very good but expensive for a rustic place..only way to get there is by long boat...200tb per person from beach and more from the Had Rin pier....most food dishes are 150 to 200 tb...they offer free meditation in the evening at 6pm and other get togethers at 3pm...I was told by two travelers to go here so I did...happy I did...stayed for over a week...enjoy...

Room Tip: To avoid the mosquitoes choose am a/c room..they must be sealed...unlike the bungalows
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2013

First of all, the resort is gorgeous. I am amazed with the creativity used to make this remote and jungle/rocky part of the island into such a wonderful resort. The attention to detail is wonderful, the resort blends in with nature and has so many small roads and hiding spots no where you really feel how big it actually is.

We were mistakenly taken to a more luxurious bungalow when asking to see the less pricier one. We checked in, agreed on the price and then staff found out they had given us the wrong key. When we saw the bungalow we actually paid for (and didn't like it since it had an outside bathroom) staff was so kind to give us the original bungalow for a better price to make up for the mistake.

The food in the restaurant is wonderful. Downside is that it takes a while to arrive and that it is pricy (which of course can be expected on a remote part of the island).

The room was clean, free of bugs, had a great mosquito net. The bathroom looks amazing but due to the partly open structure lets geckos, spiders and ants accompany you in the shower, which was quite funny.

The resort offers many different classes and the meditation class we took was really nice.

Main downer was that we did not feel a connection to the crowd that this resort attracts. Too much hippie/alternative non-standard backpackers and unwanted/unrequested advice on drugs, alternative medication and 'higher level of consiousness'. Every place has its own style so we just decided to leave a day early and find something with a different kind of audience.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lisbon, Portugal
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2013

This is the information I would like to have before I spent my time there. Hope it's helpful.

I've been there in the first week of August with my girlfriend and it the experience wasn’t as good as expected. Iplanned to stay 4 nights and only stayed for one.

Quick evaluation:

Staff – very friendly
Remoteness – yes, but that doesn’t come cheap (taxi and boat)
Room - comfortable, really good bed and well immersed in the nature. Again - too much Money for the offer
Restaurant – good, if you are not hungry. Expensive.
Not good if you want to explore the island and know the local culture.
Good if you want to party and meet party people.

My experience:

Knowing that the bungalows were not bookable, I sent an email to confirm the availability. I was told that there was no problem with that, because they only get fully booked in Dec-Jan. August is ok then, or so I thought.
Unfortunately, when I arrived, we were told that in August they're always fully booked. After a long trip, and a pricey taxi and boat ride (700 baht for 2 people), we were really disappointed for the misinformation.

In all, not a bad experience, but too expensive.

Most likely, I will not come back.

  • Stayed August 2013, 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
    • 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.
SanctuaryThailand, Guest Relations Manager at The Sanctuary Island Resort, responded to this review, August 23, 2013
Hi Joao and thank you for your helpful feedback.
Its always disappointing for us to not meet guests’ expectations – however we also know (and you can read in a number of reviews below) that it can take a little time to settle into The Sanctuary – so guests who leave after only one night may not have time to really appreciate the full experience. This is one of the reasons our minimum booking is 3 nights. Another reason for that is that we are neither easy nor cheap to get to – so best to make the journey worthwhile!
For the benefit of future visitors, I just want to take the opportunity to touch on our bookings system, which can be a little complicated!
For folks on holiday, with limited time, or who know they are looking for more upmarket accommodation, we offer a booking service for our more expensive options.
For those on a more spontaneous trip, or a tighter budget, we offer our cheaper accommodation which is not bookable in advance: you turn up on the day and see what is available.
Many of our guests stay longer than planned, and this open accommodation style system allows for a happy spontaneous flow!
It is true that December and January are our busiest times of year, but it’s also true that there are other periods in the year – and more of them now, happily – when we are also busy. Availability of rooms changes daily, and we provide the phone number for reception in order for you to check daily. I am very sorry if you felt you were misinformed – we try to be as clear as possible about potential availability precisely to avoid this kind of disappointment.
Best wishes
Tasha
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Tel Aviv, Israel
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2013

the first time we arrived at Koh Phangan, almost 13 years ago, when the longtail boat was neering this hidden bay, we thoght we came to heaven. we got the honeymoon suit and had an amazing time. since then we have been in the sanctuaty several times, taking thai massages, eating the great food, taking yoga lessons. this august we spend hours in this lovely beach and in the great reastaurant, regretfully, the spa schedule was so busey, that we could not have a massage from their great massues.

Room Tip: try the honemoon sweet, its the priciest, but worth it.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 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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Additional Information about The Sanctuary Island Resort

Also Known As:
The Sanctuary Island Hotel Koh Phangan
The Sanctuary Island Hotel
The Sanctuary Island Spa
Address: Had Tien Bay, Ko Phangan, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Surat Thani Province > Ko Phangan
Amenities:
Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #21 of 91 hotels in Ko Phangan
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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