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“Peaceful retreat in an attractive location” 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
4.0 of 5 stars 353 Reviews
Cologne
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Peaceful retreat in an attractive location”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2009

The Sanctuary at Haad Thien is a 10 minute boat trip from the party backpacker capital of Ko Phangan - Had Rin. Most of the time it is peaceful, attracting a very different crowd to the full moon party goers. It is a resort aimed at the health and wellness crowd, offering healthy vegetarian food, with most of the menu also dairy free. They offer massages, yoga and mediatation classes, and have a spa. Many people go there to fast, carrying out a detox. (At first I thought the detoxing they offered was more addressing hangovers resulting from full moon parties, but this is not the case.)
They offer cheap dormitary accomadation and a range of bungalows. We stayed in the Padma House - a 5 minute walk up into the forest. It was a lovely room perched on the side of the mountain looking out over the forest. The room only had walls on two sides, allowing the refreshing breeze in.
The peace and tranquility is disturbed every Friday night where an all night house party is held at a neighbouring resort. The resort supplied us with ear plugs free of charge. They were needed as the party went on until 9.30 the following morning.
Most of the staff were friendly, if not always knowledgable about the island and the possibilities.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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353 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
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London
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2009

Arrived at the Sanctuary on a long boat, gorgeous bay, lovely weather. I was heading to the Wellness center for a fast. It was better than expected, and I have fasted before. I like the tranquility, the simplicity, the gentleness of the staff and the lovely music or films played at the beach. Cant recommend enough and I will certainly return. Felt better afterwards then I have in a long time.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Tehran
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2009

I spent 16 nights in Sanctuary ( heaven on earth) and Loved every moment of it.
loved the Detox. THANK YOU MOON. The staff were so friendly that they just make you feel you are staying at home or like somewhere you belong to.
The room I was staying in was in garden area and was the best room ever. I spend loads of time in it.
For me this trip was mostly about having me time and relaxing and this place was the place to be in.
Yoga classes with BEN were great, Life coach sessions with Suzy helped me a lot.
I can go on and write about this place forever.
Just I say, If you wanna do detox, yoga or just relax and be away from all troubles go this place.

Sanctuary, I will come back in a year. till then...

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Singapore, Singapore
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2009

Back from my third trip to the Sanctuary and have to echo the (positive) comments below. The Wellness Centre really is terrific - the staff are wonderful (especially the ever-fabulous Moon), accommodation (I stayed in one of the villa rooms) lovely, great ambience. Did the seven day detox and still feeling the positive benefits, despite enjoying a few days 'retoxing' at the Sanctuary proper. To anyone thinking of giving fasting 'a go', this is the place to do it - lots of stuff to keep you occupied - yoga, spa treatments, and good supportive atmosphere.

Surprised by some of the negative comments below, but I guess if you're looking for a mainstream 'hotel' experience, this isn't the place. Service in the bar/restaurant area is a bit patchy (though the food is great), and perhaps it is a bit overpriced (though there is a dorm option if you're on a tight budget). Can be noisy on Friday nights, from the regular party in the nearby bar, so bring earplugs - unless you want to party all night too!

Trip to Had Tien itself is a great experience - your choice of idyllic boat ride from Had Rin (which turns white knuckle in high seas), the rollercoaster 4x4 trip along a steep dirt track, or a 2 hour hike through jungle (watch out for the angry monkeys!).

Overall this is a great place to spend a few days, weeks, months...whatever. Keep up the high standards, guys - can't wait to visit again.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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norfolk, UK
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2009

very thing about The Sanctuary was perfection, the accomodation, the food and the detox programme- thank you Moon. All the stafff were kind and friendly and the facilites second to none. The best yoga teacher ever - thank you Ben. The massages were superb - thank you La and the ferocious Zenia, chanting in the herbal steam bath etc etc. Above all it was the ambience of the place that made it special. Met delightful friendly people, several of whom have become friends. Everyone had a story and prepared to share it. It was if one became part of a family for 3 weeks. Will certainly return and have recoomended it to all my friends in the UK.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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London
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2009

I have just come back from 2 weeks at the Sanctuary on a detox/ weightloss programme and cannot praise the place highly enough. I stayed in one of the delux houses in Gardens & was blown away by just how nice it was. I can only think that perhaps they had some teething problems when these houses were first finished because my house was superb. As on older woman solo traveller I have noticed that in some resorts the younger crowd are not really interested in speaking to anyone over 30, but this was definitely not the case at the Sanctuary. There was a great mix of people of all ages & backgrounds who were without exception both friendly and approachable.
All of the staff at the resort were helpful and obliging and they made my stay an all round positive experience. The programme was comprehensive and well organised & I returned home feeling fantastic and 7 kilos lighter. True there is a fairly noisy party on a Friday night but you can always go & have a dance then return to your bungalow feeling tired and fall asleep, like I did. If you want a relaxing place to detox and explore yoga and other therapies The Sanctuary is about the best place I have ever stayed and I will certainly be going back. If you are looking for seamless 5 star luxury where everything is exactly as you would expect it then perhaps you need to go to the Marriot or a Holiday Inn.

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Chicago, Illinois
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2009

My friend and I were looking forward to ending our 18 day trip in Thailand at the Sanctuary. We were so excited about it & ended up being horribly dissapointed. Our intention was to stay 6 nights & only stayed one. First, we stayed in a brand new bungalow that we were told had three bedrooms, it only had one. We had stayed in several different 4 star resorts & this one (which is far from 4 stars) was the most expensive. We had so many malfunctions in this "brand new bungalow" & had to keep calling for assistance. Apparently, they must of been annoyed because we were given the impression of being such an inconvenience to them.

The food in the resturaunt was the only good thing but be prepared to wait a good 30-45 minutes because the staff is too busy having a good time to be bothered with taking your order. We had to get our menus everytime, practically approach them with our orders & were never checked on after we had our food.

We thought this was a spiritual, friendly place. Everytime we greeted someone we never received a response. Maybe they don't accept newcomers or Americans, it's one or the other. We decided to check out & my friend asked for a comment card which in their welcome book said they LOVED feedback. The lady at the reception acted like she didn't have access to it & said her manager wasn't available. So we just asked for a piece of paper, she then started angrily blabbering at us & told us just to leave. Both my friend and I are in the service industry so we understand how it can be difficult at some times, never once were we demanding or rude.

Too top it off, we arrive home & found out my friend's boyfriend had purchased massages & facials at the Sanctuary for us to receive when we arrived, we were never told about it! Hopefully he'll get his money back as for us it was a complete loss :-( A total of about 6,000 Baht for one night. It was by far the worst money I spent in Thailand.

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanctuaryThailand, Manager at The Sanctuary Thailand, responded to this review, February 19, 2009
Firstly I would like to say sorry that these guests had a disappointing time here at The Sanctuary and that I was not available at the time they wished to discuss their issues.

These customers arrived with no confirmed booking in the middle of our busiest season and got one of the last available houses which cost 4,000 B per night ( not 6,000 ) . . While unsure of the exact issues with their house I acknowledge that any new houses will have some fine tuning to do and feel sure that any issues were attended to ASAP.

All our food is freshly prepared and cooked and this often can take 30 + minutes depending on the order and I would hope that it is served by happy staff. In fact ,
I am shocked to hear that my staff are not attentive, it is rare for us to receive this kind of feedback, our staff are usually extremely courteous and enjoy to liaise and chat with our guests.

Their friend Sandip had organised for a gift voucher with me and asked that it be delivered by hand ( as opposed to being at reception) . However even he did not know which exact day they would arrive . I looked for them per his dates but unfortunately when I searched to hand deliver as per my arrangement with their friend they had already checked out. (Of course the monies were immediately returned to Sandip)

I do appreciate that Sanctuary is on a remote beach and that those coming with expectations of a 4 star resort may well be disappointed ( which is why we do not claim any stars at all ) as we do not offer main street resort trimmings, our offerings are different and based on practical island living. We more ask that guests coming here be open to our uniqueness and location and , as many say, it takes a day or 2 to settle in but after that it can take a month to leave.
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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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