We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Hugely underwhelming” 2 of 5 stars
Review of The Sanctuary Thailand

We can't find prices for this hotel
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this hotel, but we can search other options in Ko Phangan
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
The Sanctuary Thailand
Save
You added The Sanctuary Thailand to your Saves list
Had Tien Bay, Ko Phangan, Thailand (Formerly The Sanctuary Island Resort)   |  
Hotel website
  |  
  |  
  |  
Hotel amenities
Special Price
Double your stay
Ranked #22 of 90 Hotels in Ko Phangan
Certificate of Excellence 2014
York, United Kingdom
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Hugely underwhelming”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2014

Firstly I was hoping to relax and stay here for 10 nights. I stayed 5 then really felt I had to leave. There is a box in reception saying suggestions here and not on trip advisor but that is not fair - potential guests need the full picture. I arrived late Jan the sea was choppy but what greeted me was a huge film of rubbish very close to the shore which I had to walk through. The shoreline was also full of rubbish! Was truly awful - I thought they would clean the beach at least but not for 4 days it was so bad a guest cleaned the bigger pieces of rubbish such as babies bottles, broken shoes, fishermans nets etc! So much for harmony and clean living, I could not swim in the sea and another guest paying 4000 bhat a night said it was depressing - I agree, it was my single most worst beach/rubbish experience. I also did approached two members of staff who said they would tell the manager (it would be difficult for the manager not to have noticed in the first place)The rough sea was no excuse as both the neighbouring beaches were spotless & I saw them being cleaned frequently. The welcome was friendly, the staff pleasant if not on the ball, the 10am yoga was really great, the food in the restaurant was nice especially breakfast fruit pancakes, other than that it was way over priced and most of the guests couldn't enjoy it anyway due to their extreme detoxing with water and 35 pills a day! Does this even sound healthy to you? Unfortunately it also had a chaotic atmosphere to it, slow service, people stepping over you, everyone on computers, it was loud, I ate at the bamboo huts up the hill instead it was much calmer, better food and atmosphere, way cheaper and excellent views. The room for 800bhat was dark and smelled like a very fusty shed also depressing - light has such an effect on ones mood. Two other girls who I spoke to in the detox bungalows had an issue with cockroaches - which I am pleased that they told me when I left! Also there are two huge and loud parties per week on a Friday and Wednesday coming from the huts next to the sanctuary in the gardens - the sanctuary is surprisingly not isolated by anymeans- you either have to join or not sleep. However if you really want to chill out then head to the west coast its beautiful, quiet, sunsets, relaxing & unpretentious, you know I did feel such much better as soon as I left the sanctuary and unpacked here thank god I didn't spend the whole ten nights at the sanctuary what an awful last memory of thailand that would have been. So what are you paying for? Brown rice and access to therapists and healers - you can get those at home!

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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, February 14, 2014
Hi There, ad thanks for your review. We are truly sorry that you didn’t enjoy your time with us – please let me mention a couple of things .

The notice on our reception says:" if you enjoyed your time with us, please tell the world! If you didn’t, please ask for one of the managers and let us know how we can improve our service." In that way we have more personal contact with any unhappy guests, and can hopefully deal with the issue on the spot and make them happy – which is our constant aim. We welcome all feedback but it's always easier to chat with people when they are here, than try to reply in an email.

The seas in Dec / Jan / Feb are constantly changing direction. Our neighbouring beach , Had Why Nam, had a nightmare rubbish incursion in December and then the seas change slightly and it lands on our beach . Our crew clean it early in the morning depending on the tides but it can be trashed again only a few hours later . This is the unfortunate effect of human pollution in our seas & it is at times difficult to manage (and heartbreaking to see - for all of us) BUT we are on it daily and always welcome assistance with this big task.

Finally - we're happy to say that the Wednesday party seems to have been short lived and has not happened this week .

Most importantly - I am glad you found the right place for you to enjoy your holiday.

Best wishes,
Tasha
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

375 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    193
    96
    36
    32
    18
See reviews for
12
103
138
Business
0
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)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Los Angeles, California
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2014

You know those times in life where you don't really know why you do something, you just do. I booked this place not really based on anyones recommendations. Having said all of this, I grew up in Bangkok from when I was 5 till 13. Part of my heart is in Thailand and I am familiar with their culture and their environment. I was traveling in Vietnam with a friend and very sure when I left Vietnam, I wanted to experience Thailand alone. I was never "alone" at this sanitary and that was a gift. I met incredible people, had very interesting conversations which I will cherish for a long time. I can promise you I will be back and hopefully can stay much longer.

On a side note, I hurt my foot badly on my way to "The Sanctuary". When I arrived, everyone was helpful and concerned about my foot. Throughout my stay, Chard was ridiculously sweet, and the little Gems i met along the way, Nolan, and Peter, and other guests were very uplifting and the energy there is very electrifying.

Yeah, the service isn't impeccable, but I was on vacation and the last thing I was in was a hurry. If you want to be served and waiting on hand and foot this place isn't for you. If you want to raise your awareness and be around genuine creative artist folks, go to the sanctuary.

I stayed in two bungalows. The first one was the weeman 3 I believe. It was pretty amazing. A sweet kitty stayed with me for a two days. The second bungalow was 11 and a little further back but still very nice. I did have a little rat or mouse come to say hello to me on the last night. Staying in this special place, you realize you live amongst the other species so I accepted it for the night. Im sure they would have been accommodating to help remove it, however, I didn't have the energy to trek to the reception because of my foot.

I can't imagine I won't ever come back to this place. In fact, I can't wait to bring someone here so they too can experience the magic.

Thank you to "The Sanctuary" for creating this space for people who can appreciate beauty and be amongst others spiritual beings living in this human experience.

Room Tip: I found that the Rooms behind the restaurant and reception were great. If it is a Friday it can be...
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2014, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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
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, February 13, 2014
Hi Courtney, thank you so much for your wonderful review which Nolan and I have been loving today - we're so glad you had a magical time and look forward to seeing you grace the bar again sometime soon!
With very best wishes,
Tasha
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2014

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Love. I will return. The food was extraordinary. However, I cannot find any contact information for this place! If the management could message me a phone number or something, that would be really helpful. If not, I suppose I'll show up and hope for the best.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
SanctuaryThailand, Guest Relations Manager at The Sanctuary Thailand, responded to this review, April 30, 2014
Hi Shades,

Really happy to see that you enjoyed your time here. We can't wait for you to become a returning guest !!!!! Please contact us through out website www.thesanctuarythailand.com or through info@thesanctuarythailand.com See you soon. x Jonny
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2014

I didn't think service could affect my review of any accommodation - and I am seldom to complain. Here's an overview of our stay: The sanctuary is beautiful, our bungalow (although about 600bht overpriced) was lovely to stay in. We were just above the shop/Internet cafe so it was a little noisey and not so private but I don't mind either of those things and it meant the walk to my room was always short. The room was clean and tidy and cosy. The bathroom hut was clean and when the hot water gas ran out it was promptly replaced. I'd like to thank the (few) staff at the sanctuary who provided assistance and service. The others who ignored me at the counter, told me they couldn't help me with organising transport to Bangkok, told me they would come see me to help, but never came back to my table and then ignored me at the counter hours later. This service was so disappointing it changed my view of my stay. Also as others have mentioned about the taxi boat my suggestion is to arrive during the day because as soon as night comes (7pm) beware of paying double to triple for the boat - we waited half an hour hoping other sanctuary guests would arrive so we could have a fairer price but no one else arrived within the hour. But the seclusion is what makes this special. The yoga class was also fabulous and the food and smoothies are great too!

  • Stayed February 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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, February 7, 2014
Hi Rachel, and thanks for your feedback.
We are really glad that you enjoyed much of what The Sanctuary has to offer, and of course its disappointing for us to hear poor feedback about our service. That said, it does inspire us to really try to fix the problem.
As I am sure you will agree, most of our staff are fantastic and generally the service works really well. We are aware however that sometimes the service is below standard, for a range of reasons – it’s probably our biggest head scratching, frustrating challenge and greatest priority. Needless to say, we will continue to work at improving our service as best we can!
Best wishes
Tasha
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thai Mueang, Thailand
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2014

"Om My Goodness me!"
What a magical place.
I arrived at The Sanctuary on Wednesday the 18th of January 2014. I planned to stay for one night only; as I am currently living on Koh Tao and just fancied a change of scenery. I did no research about The Sanctuary beforehand, my intuition just pulled me there.
The first thing I noticed was how much the island was still raw in its appearance. The second outstanding thing I noticed was just how many people were genuinely smiling. I actually saw and felt authentic love between couples. "How refreshing!"
Needless to say I found it hard to leave the place.
The whole ambience made it difficult for me to understand if I was awake or dreaming.
I didn't stay long enough to experience any of the detoxing programs, plus I didn't take enough
money.
I did take the opportunity to indulge in one of the amazing treatments in The Sanctuary Spa. It was called "Absolute Bliss" and indeed it was. Three hours of pampering from beautiful, gentle, true healing Thai people; starting with a hot steam and ending in an all over Papaya body wrap. My skin has never felt so soft. Cost: 2800bt. Priceless!
I also had the pleasure in accompanying Peter Clifford in his 8am morning Anahata yoga class. I believe Peter doesn't live on the island, however, he visits The Sanctuary frequently. I found his classes extremely grounding and his knowledge and wisdom was to bow to.            www.anahatayoga.com.au

There is also an Ashtanger yoga class held every morning by David on the next beach (Why Nam) Cost: 350bt. It starts at 9.am and has theeeee most beautiful venue.
Why Nam restaurant and beach is well worth a visit. I recommend the Gotu Kola juice cost: 90bt, La Pad Burmese Salad 100bt and I also recommend taking a trip around the island on the catamaran.
It really pays off to check The Sanctuaries website for overall information.
It's a must to take *** CASH***, as there is no way of paying by card.
The alternative treatments that are available from the residents living at The Sanctuary are endless.
Yoga, Reiki, guided meditation classes, lots of dancing, Hula hooping, Q gong classes, psychological Astrology, NLP, Chakra balancing, Theta brainwave healing with Noel (Thumbs up from me for this therapy), Kinesiolog, Irixology. The list really does go on....There are also a number of workshops constantly taking place.
The food menu has a big variety of choice and it is "Aloh" = Thai word meaning= Delicious
Fresh organic wheat grass is grown with love daily.

If you class yourself as a blessed one that is tapping into the awareness of what is and are either looking for some time out to reenergize or some time in for support. I highly recommended this location.
I, myself have been travelling for over 20 years study different forms of ancient healing techniques.  I am filled with gratitude for having the opportunity to have experienced many different mystical healing ways of living and now I understand how gratitude evolves. To have all these inspirational, wise, creative beings in one place is nothing but a blessing. There is something for everyone.
Spark Circus was one of the entertainments held on Thursday evening.☆★☆ CHECK THEM OUT EVERYBODY.★☆★  www.sparkcircus.org.
They was also an open mic night, amazing jazz singers/ musicians and poetry that removed some knifes out of my heart and healed the wounds with laughter.
Spice restaurant has the best chocolate cake and the Tea temple has the best flap jack.
Thank you to all the team involved at The Sanctuary for making my experience with you totally uplifting. For me it is CLEAR where this magical place is evolving to.
"The only way one can truly understand; is to experience it oneself."
Contentment days everyone!
Until we meet again Haad Thian.
♡♥Dominica♡♥

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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, January 29, 2014
Wow Dominica what a very beautiful review. Thank you x
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2014

My husband and I stayed for nine days at a resort on Haad Yuan (the beach next door to the Sanctuary) and one day we wandered over to the Sanctuary for lunch and to check out their beach.
The beach was not clean. There was so much rubbish that we did no want to sit down in the sand. The restaurant chairs spill from the main restaurant building onto the beach and a couple sitting in front of us at a table on the beach found a syringe in the sand. The waiter picked it up before serving our food. Whilst we were eating our lunch a Sanctuary guest started cutting a girls' hair at one of the restaurant tables. The wind picked up the cut hair and blew it towards us and other restaurant guests. At no point did restaurant staff ask the guests to move along and cut hair elsewhere.
To the food: Our order was mixed up so that drinks were delivered to the wrong table and food had to be followed up on. I ordered a stir fried vegetable dish and found bugs floating in the sauce. I returned the dish to staff and it was not added to our bill.
My husband and I are not fussy customers or eaters, but the Sanctuary asks higher prices than their neighbouring restaurants and we would have liked good service and food in return. Overall a disappointing visit.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 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, January 27, 2014
Dear NinaBallerina,
Oh my goodness we were so upset to read your review, and all we can do is sincerely apologise.
We remember the day in question, and it was not the best of days all round. We too were shocked by the 'syringe', not to mention the person using it who was encouraged back to Had Rin where he was staying. Needless to say this is not a usual occurence around here. As for the bugs in your food & hair in your face – it doesn’t really get much worse than that, we agree. Yes we occasionally get orders wrong and food can be a bit slow in the busy times, but syringes and bugs and haircutting…. happily this does not constitute a typical day at The Sanctuary (not that there is so much of a typical day, but that’s usually in a good way). Again....No excuses, only our sincere apologies that you got to share one of our rare bad days.
Best Wishes
Tasha
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2014

This place kind of defies description, but I'll try anyway. I cannot recommend it highly enough. If you're after 5 star aircon accommodation in a bubble, this is not your place. If you would like to live close to nature, with clean, beautifully designed creature comforts and the sound of the jungle to lull you to sleep, read on. The accommodation is all fantastic, from the clean and comfortable dorm rooms to the bungalows and houses built round the rocks. The food is delicious and the staff are all lovely. Sam and Chard in particular made our stay feel super friendly and we were so well looked after. The yoga and meditation sessions are in beautiful jungle spaces, and the beach feels wild. I found it hard to leave after a month. Do your body and soul a favour and book yourself a trip here.

Room Tip: If you are on a budget, the dorm is surprisingly lovely. If you are with friends and have a little m...
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • 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.
SanctuaryThailand, Guest Relations Manager at The Sanctuary Thailand, responded to this review, January 23, 2014
thank you thank you thank you for such a lovely attempt at capturing and sharing your sanctuary experience. we're so glad your body and soul enjoyed it - hope to see you again sometime soon!
best wishes,
tasha
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Price Your Stay

Been to The Sanctuary Thailand? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage The Sanctuary Thailand, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.