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“Overrated, overpriced, overall very disappointing”

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The Sanctuary Thailand
Ranked #21 of 91 Hotels in Ko Pha Ngan
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 19 April 2013

We went to see and experience the sanctuary for just a day and our experience lasted about 5 hours, of which 2 were because the food was taking so long.

For some people this might be the ideal getaway, but we were clearly not those people. The only good thing was the choice of menu in the restaurant. Lots and lots to choose from. That is, if they are not out of bean sprouts, wheatgrass, bananas, and asparagus. We made a good choice, but some of the prices seemed outrageous. For an apple, carrot, beetroot you pay 130 baht, which I can get around the corner for 50 baht (without 0% ice instead of 60%). It took ages before our food to arrive and for surfing on the internet in the meanwhile they charge you extra.

After that we went to the spa to get a special treatment (1300 baht total), consisting of some steam bath, a relaxing oil massage, and a facial something. The steam bath was ok I guess (150 baht). The oil massage was the most expensive and dissapointing we've had in Thailand so far (800 baht). It was either way to soft or way to hard, always at least 2 inches away from the "sweet spot", and after about 45 minutes I decided to say thank you and walk out. With the facial they were really just doing something. It had nothing to do with a facial that I'm used to getting, where they adjust the facial to your skin type and such. The facial was not on the separate menu but must have costed 450 baht.

Because I walked out early I decided to wait for my gf on the beach. The beach is filthy, rocky, not very clear, but ok. I asked someone for the time and the answer was:"I don't know, It's now". Thanks Eckhart! That brings me to my next problem: the other guests. A general lack of hygiene, cuddling each other constantly and playing guitar at every fricking corner, seemed to be a normal practice here. The ones who are vasting walk around like they can grab an uzzi any time of the day to walk into the restaurant. You can recognize them by walking around in little to no clothes and usually wearing massive headphones.

So, finally my girlfriend came back to me in tears asking me if we could take the first boat back to the normal world. Waiting for the other two passengers to be finished touching other guests and dramatically saying goodbye to their supercool new long life friends, we got chased by the restaurant manager asking if we would pay our bills (that we already paid). (small note: the staff in the restaurant was in fact very friendly and genuinely interested).

So if you're into the new age / hippie thing, this is the right place for you. Otherwise, go to Thong Nai Pan Noi, safe a ton, enjoy nicer beaches, better massages, etc.

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Hanna S
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 reviewResponded 22 April 2013

Hi and thanks for your review. For us this is indeed a very helpful review, for as you say, ‘for some people this might be the ideal getaway’, but we acknowledge we are not for everyone. Yes, there is some hugging and folk playing guitars – for the lovers of these things, we are a paradise! For those who prefer the, as you say, normal world, thank goodness there is plenty of that on offer throughout the rest of Thailand, and I am glad you have found places that suit your tastes.
As for your review of the spa and the wait for food, these are valid points which we are always trying to improve and, in fact, have just hired a Food & Beverages manager to oversee improvements in our kitchen and restaurant.
Just a couple of notes: guests staying at The Sanctuary receive free wifi; and due to our island location and the enormous array of food we offer, it is not always possible to have everything in stock.
With apologies to you for any bad service you received – enjoy the normal world!
Best wishes
Tasha

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297 - 303 of 558 reviews

Reviewed 10 April 2013

really good group of people at this resort. the staff is friendly (mike, nowlan, alicia, tasha, and the locals of course) and the crowd this place attracts is really unique. its not your typical "resort retreat", i would say its more a place to hang out and meet people. i wouldn't recommend the place to my parents per say, but i would highly recommend to any of my friends.
good place to do yoga if thats your thing, party if thats your thing, or just lounge around and mingle. try to travel around the island (east side) if you can cause there are lots of gorgeous beaches nearby.
incredible break from my stressful life. highly recommended.

  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled solo
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Thank Mike O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 April 2013

My husband and I spent 6 days at this resort and found the service very good and the staff, especially those at the Wellness Centre, very attentive to our needs and all went out of their way to assist with our detox programme. A great place to relax on the beach or in your hammock but with great options of other resorts close by for meals or sunset drinks. For those who need more action, there is a party every Friday night that swings until the sun comes up! Pilates classes were very professional and fun and there are many other healing workshops on offer. Costumes and wraps are all you need for this laid back resort!
We will definitely be back!

Room Tip: Rooms at the back of the garden are quieter while those nearer the beach are closer to the action.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank JennyS929
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2013

My 2nd time here - the charm is gone a little. I wasn't here over the weekend before, so did not experience the nearby party that they warn you about. Granted, it's not super loud (although earplugs are supplied in all rooms), but you can hear the distinct pulse of the house/techno from every part of the resort - in some places, it's more audible. It starts at 7pm Fri. and continues without break until Sunday morning I'm told. Relentless. It was one thing to hear it even early into the morning Sat., but that it never stops ALL DAY was disturbing for me. It's this thumping booze and drug-fueled sound that brings images of partying and self abuse for me - not quite what I want from a detox holiday!

  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled solo
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1  Thank trainerguy
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 reviewResponded 31 March 2013

Oh my goodness, we'd all go mad if that was the case!
The party in our bay begins around 11pm on Friday night and goes on till around midday on Saturday.
There is another party from Saturday evening to Sunday morning, but that is on the next beach along and the noise does not travel to us.
At Christmas and New Year the parties can go on for longer and we warn all our guests, especially detoxers, before we book them in that these few weeks are a more party-focused time in these three small bays than the rest of the year.
Best wishes,
Tasha

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Reviewed 26 March 2013

My girlfriend and me just got back from 1 week intense relaxation (no detox unfortunately) at Sanctuary and we are truly amazed by the kind spirits, the perfect service, the incredibly nice surroundings and all the yoga, mediation and healing workshops that are being offered (especially SOMALOGY with Tyr - he changed my life through correcting my posture).

We can truly recommend that place!

Gonna come back for a genuine detox next year! :)

Room Tip: Try getting a cheap bungalow for around 1000 Baht - they are really nice and close to the beach.
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  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank ChrisDo88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 March 2013

Its a place that touches your soul,moves you heart and blows your mind. Its like home.At some point you want to leave but you always want to come back.Its a place to be just yourself.Food,people, and location is amazing.

  • Stayed: April 2012
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1  Thank happyzooey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 March 2013

I spent two months here this year. This was my third trip to Had Thian and the sanctuary. This place has the x-factor that makes you want to stay forever. Conveying what this place means to me, and has done for me in words will be very difficult, simply because i have been given what is beyond words here.

The secluded non-touristy location is a dream come true for me! I absolutely love the kind of traveler this place attracts; switched on, open-hearted people who live and breathe for love and connection. Its so easy to get to know people here and make lifetime friends!

I highly recommend the tea temple and all of its staff. They are highly skilled in their fields, great healers and teachers of many fantastic arts of self-exploration and empowerment. I was especially touched by the tantra festival and workshops, real lifechanging stuff that helped me make quantum leaps in mybown personal practice and perception of the universe.

I also highly recommend the theta-healing at the tea temple with Erika (Devi). My life ga changef drastically, from failure and depression to happiness and success. Truly amazing stuff! I can not recommend this highly enough, i've been doing things like this for over 10 years, and i've never come across something this effective when it comes to freeing yourself feom negative patterns of belief. Its like karma-clear, swish and its gone!

Also the Somalogy work offered by Tyr Throne is magical. Ive been a yogateacher for years so im obviously quite familiar with my own body and posture, and with somalogy i achieved results i though would take me years of yoga. I also learned a thing or two from this genious that is absolutely invaluable to me now. I ended up taking a week long course in Somalogy, one of the best decicions of my life! If you're i had thian, try somalogy!! You will be ever grateful you did! You wil learn how to effortlessly have great posture so you can use your energy on something you love.

The western staff in the sanctuary also deserves praise, lovely heart-warm and welcoming.

Oh, and the open mic at the sanctuary on thursdays is just fabolous! Do not miss it!

Note for imrovements to the sanctuary;
The restaurant would do well with fewer dishes making it run more smoothly. When you're on vecation you don't want to wait 30-45 min to get the food that is good sometimes and honestly sometimes its badly done, something may sound great on the menu, but when you get it it looks horrible and tastes average at best.My suggestion is re-do the menu and teach the staff how present the food better visually. At the prices you charge for your food, this should be a given. The thai staff could also be a tad more attentive in the restaurant, it can be really annoyingly hard to get their attention some times. But when you do, they're superfriendly. Unless you complain about an order, then they are just plain rude, i know this is thai culture and blabla. But rude is rude.

All in all i will be coming back to the sanctuary again and again. I will bring all my friends again and again to do amazing tantra immersions and workshops. Make new friends and celebrate life sanctuary style.

Thank you!

  • Stayed: January 2013
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2  Thank SindreVasu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Sanctuary Thailand

Address: Had Tien Bay, Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand (Formerly The Sanctuary Island Resort)
Phone Number:
Region: Thailand > Surat Thani Province > Ko Pha Ngan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#9 Spa Hotel in Ko Pha Ngan
#14 On the Beach Hotel in Ko Pha Ngan
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

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