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“Good place for a detox...” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Sanctuary Thailand

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The Sanctuary Thailand
Had Tien Bay, Ko Phangan, Thailand (Formerly The Sanctuary Island Resort)   |  
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Ranked #24 of 92 Hotels in Ko Phangan
Beirut, Lebanon
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Good place for a detox...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2014

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.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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, August 27, 2014
Hi Nancy, Thanks your concise review!
Were very pleased you enjoyed your stay with us and very happy Mr Moon and his team provided good hospitality and care with any bedroom dramas you had.
As a group we regularly think and talk about this little slice of paradise we take care of. Looking for ways to enhance, improve and create this sense of community.

We pride ourselves on offering a range of entertainments and services for people to get involved with. Movie night, special food nights, Open mic night, Kirtans etc.
These events coupled with our offerings of Yoga, Pilates, Sauna time meditations, spa treatments and various workshops provide a wonderful platform for share experiences and meeting people :for some though - " Alone but no lonely im just taking it easy " can apply

We hope to see you again, someday, with your friends old and new !
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352 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 (61)
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English first
Canberra, Australia
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2014

From the moment we pulled into the quiet little cove where the Sanctuary is located I knew I was going to love this place. The relaxed, beach hut vibe, casual style and perfect beachside location along with professional smiling staff make this a stand out holiday. If you want polished shiny hotel look elsewhere. THe Sanctuary has an earthy feel and that's just the way it should be when nature does all the rest with great scenery, beaches and forest to explore. The room choices are varied with something for everyone. We came for a detox and cleanse and were treated to a very supportive program of herbs, fasting, massage, steam room yoga and meditation all included in our package. Moon is a fabulous host at the Wellness Centre and even makes colonics fun. I felt simply amazing on Day 6 following my 5.5 day fast. Full of energy and lightenss. Best thing I have done ever for my health and body. The restaurant had perfect menu to get me back onto food in a healthy way. Loved chilling out on the beach and meeting other guests. the tea temple was a beautiful hideaway and has the best pesto salad I've ever eaten! Will definitely be back. My only disappointment was the workshops were not in operation on our visit - hopefully they will be back soon (or the website will reflect better what is happening so visitors know what to expect) Also the check out phase of our fast could have been a little more focused ...I would have liked to discuss how we went and have a bit more of a exit interview for maintaining the benefits. A small thing and given everything else was so perfect I really have to rate this place highly. If you are fasting I recommend following the program to a tee - its well designed, I omitted the juice in the 'shakes' and lost energy compared to my husband and friends which made the detox a bit tougher. Moon supported me through this beautifully and adjusted as I went meaning my last two days were much easier. Went on a great walk to Haad Rin and neighbouring beaches on my first day back on food and never felt better! This is a special place. WARNING: Be aware that mosquitoes are ferocious here and cover up in early mornings and evenings - my husband was unlucky and got dengue.
They spray but perhaps could look at further options in terms of eradicating larvae. Dont let that put you off though. The Sanctuary is a real gem!

Room Tip: We got upgraded to the Deluxe Garden. Loved the leafy outlook, balcony and bedroom. We didn't us...
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canberra, Australia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2014

I came to The Sanctuary specifically for a health holiday involving fasting and detox in a highly supportive environment. It was definitely the best thing I've ever done for my body. I got so much out of it that I extended my fast from 5 to 8 days. Lost 5kg including my 'beer gut'. The staff are charming. The detox program is well organised. There is a wide range of accommodation options. One word of caution about the island--keep yourself well covered before 8am in the morning. The mosquitos are ferocious. I caught dengue fever.

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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SanctuaryThailand, General Manager at The Sanctuary Thailand, responded to this review, August 10, 2014
Hi Hal and thanks for your great review. I am delighted you enjoyed your detox experience and can feel literally the benefits. also that you overcame the dengue ..i am pleased that we have overcome that little visitation and are dengue free now . I hope to see you again sometime- Mike
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Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2014

I expected paradise and got a hippy flashback. Not clean, so untidy I felt the urge to scrub the dining area myself. The extreme loud parties next door lasted 24 hours straight the first time and 36 hours the next. Headaches!! I left early, duh.
The food was good, the yoga excellent, and the massage hut at the end of the bay was the highlight of my stay. Hmm, not sure that is a positive either.

Stayed January 2014
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SanctuaryThailand, General Manager at The Sanctuary Thailand, responded to this review, August 10, 2014
Hi Jana
i can appreciate your frustrations with the seemingly endless party at new year . It caught us all by surprise . I now advise all guests booking at this time about the festive atmosphere. That said - the new changes in government here means, i think, that there will not be a repeat of this in the future .. Glad you enjoyed our menu and other services . regards, Mike
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Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2014 via mobile

We've been there for 7 days and it was amazing! The food is clean and light, the staff really helpful and the sea perfect! When you book a superior room just keep in mind that you are in a jungle so don't get scared by frogs, spiders and little insects. Well, i'd prefer to not have it in the room but can happend and is not as bad as it seems. We actually found a lovely cat on our balcony everyday and a nice frog... For sure we'll be back!

Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanctuaryThailand, General Manager at The Sanctuary Thailand, responded to this review, August 10, 2014
Hi Luca and thanks for your great review .....and that you found Sanctuary Amazing and appreciate as much as i do our cool staff. Its a jungle here and i am pleased you enjoyed meeting some of the locals ....my favorites are the geckos .... hope to see you again ...Mike
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Queenstown, New Zealand
2 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2014

Wow, this place was fantastic! We stayed in our own suite/villa and the view was fantastic. Beautiful views out to the bay. I absolutely loved the open plan of the suite with no fixed walls, it was quite magical! The food was incredibly good, good prices, very healthy and very yummy. The smoothies are to die for. Chard??? in particular, on the main desk, was amazingly helpful and could not do enough to help you and always with a gorgeous smile. The spa was awesome and very good prices.....
I would thoroughly recommend this place!!

Room Tip: I would go for the more expensive, more exclusive ones with the fantastic views and privacy, they ar...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
SanctuaryThailand, General Manager at The Sanctuary Thailand, responded to this review, August 10, 2014
Many thanks for your great review and appreciating Chard and our crew..they work hard to make your stay special ...hope to see you again .....hope to see you again soon - regards. Mike
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Sydney, Australia
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2014

I booked in for a 'yoga holiday' with a 'raw fest' diet. I detoxed still but had the energy to go to a couple of yoga sessions a day, experiment with meditation, read a few books and go for some short wanders and get plenty of spa treatments. The restaurant area is conducive for solo travelers to mingle and the shared experience of 'detoxing' helps you to bond with others and make friends.

I was there in the off-season so there was low occupancy. There was also construction happening right on the beach which was a little annoying. You must be warned that one night there is an extremely loud party that goes all night for which earplugs are provided in the room. I usually don't sleep well with noise but the whole experience of the Sanctuary was so relaxing that I did actually sleep with the earplugs.

Many people were either on a full detox diet of no food but plenty of clay shakes, or recovering from it. From what I saw, many of the 'detoxers' were too tired to do much else but nap but were rightly very proud of their achievements.

Whist still cheap compared to Australia, prices are a little more expensive then elsewhere in Thailand for food, spa treatments, accommodation, etc but it is the combined experience that is so unique and wonderful that it is worth paying a little extra for. Whilst there is no requirement to do any of the packages I argue it is one of the 'when in Rome' times. I have never seen anything like the Sanctuary before and, judging by the number of guests who were returning guests, I think it is a very unique place. I certainly recommend it, even if (or especially if) you've never done anything like it before

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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SanctuaryThailand, General Manager at The Sanctuary Thailand, responded to this review, August 11, 2014
Hi Anne . What a brilliant review- thank you so much . I am delighted so much of what we do resonated with you and that you saw the uniqueness of Sanctuary . Sorry about the building project when you were here . on your return you will be able to enjoy our new beach front Salas and our amazing Street Food Kitchen offering delicious healthy fast food most days .
I k now we will see you again ..soon i hope ....Mike
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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:
#8 Spa Hotel in Ko Phangan
#16 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 
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Also Known As:
The Sanctuary Island Hotel Koh Phangan
The Sanctuary Island Spa

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