I noticed very little reviews relating to the detox retreat this place offers, my review is a little late but now that i took it all in i can be more objective. Stayed at the sanctuary for 10 days for a Fasting/Detox retreat here is what you need to know:
Rooms: The detox/fasters rooms are separate than the other rooms which is a good thing. I first booked a bungalow then after two days requested for an upgrade for a proper room with walls and an AC. i would not recommend a bungalow (thai style room) if you have issues with insects. The bungalows are cool and are very nicely decorated, they have fans but i did feel that i'm out of oxygen on my first night, the second night it rained which brought into my room an overflow of white ants cut a long story short they were everywhere and i had a rough night as i only discovered them after everyone had went to sleep and i couldn't do anything about it. Next day i spoke to Moon about it and he was very nice moved me into a deluxe room which was very nice stayed there for a couple of days then he moved me to what they call a suite i guess which was huge like a small studio. they charged me only the price of a bungalow for the first 2 nights and the price of a deluxe for the other nights so they didn't charge for the second upgrade which was a nice touch. it's important to know that the names deluxe and suite are not similar to 5 stars hotels but they are an upgrade for the place itself. if you're expecting 5 stars type of hotel you shouldn't go there but it's a nice cozy well decorated place right next to the beach. I visited a villa air-con room and it's my favourite if i stay there again i would probably book this one.
The detox: When you arrive you have a day or two to prepare your system for the fasting. Then Moon gives you a description of the experience and hands you a program to follow usually they have several people starting at the same time. During the detox you do not get hungry at all, actually the first 5 days were a breeze after the 5th day we noticed that most of us missed the act of eating rather than the food itself. you feel that you don't have anything to do but you are actually busy in one way or another between yoga, meditation, sauna time, massages and having to pop into the wellness centre every few hours to take your shakes you always have something coming up. some people lost up to 10 kgs while there i however lost only 4 kgs but i noticed that once i was back home i started losing much more weight afterwards as if the effect is not immediate but definite. The experience itself is interesting in the sense that you realise that our lives revolve a lot around food and when you take that out of the equation you notice certain clarity and lightness. The colonic irrigations: the first explanatory session is slightly awkward and the first time is somewhat uncomfortable, i wouldn't call it painful and yet very rewarding.
The only thing i feel they could improve on would be the sense of community, it's a lot of people, mostly solo travellers being there for the same experience so you do end up meeting and chatting to a lot of people but you still could end up completely alone and feeling a little bored. I felt that they could organise things, activities, gather ups or something for the detox attendees. Now they do have workshops and i've attended a couple and there are movie nights but i don't know how to describe it, maybe introduce something like an opening circle to introduce people to each other on the first day they arrive or do an activity for the fasters alone so they could meet each other other than when they are collecting their shakes. Maybe a gathering to explain the steps of this fast and on the last day to explain what to do next rather than just handing our leaflets! (could be hard as not all groups start on the same day but i don't know just an idea!!)
Overall the experience was interesting, you meet a lot of people who are visiting for the second and third time, i would probably go again as it is good value for money and i feel that it's goodness for your body, you owe it to yourself to cleanse and detox at least once every couple of years. The staff are very helpful and friendly i did feel that on the last day as i was leaving i wasn't given directions on what to do next and wasn't given supplements whilst i noticed another person i met there got supplements and directions to use them for 3 days following the fast.
The beach is not clean which is something they could also enhance. The food in the main restaurant takes way too long to arrive but it's good food. The friday party everyone talks about could be an annoyance to few i myself didn't hear a thing and slept through the whole thing but other fasters heard it. depends on the people i guess.
Overall the experience was interesting and nice, i would recommend the place to a friend and i would go there again.
- 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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- Also Known As:
- The Sanctuary Island Hotel Koh Phangan
- The Sanctuary Island Spa