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“Wonderful little hideaway with AMAZING food”

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The Sanctuary Thailand
Ranked #22 of 92 Hotels in Ko Pha Ngan
Certificate of Excellence
Oxford, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Wonderful little hideaway with AMAZING food”
Reviewed 2 January 2014

I stayed at The Sanctuary over Christmas 2013 with 5 friends and we had a really lovely and special time. Highlights for us all were: Christmas dinner on the beach was so amazing, the food in general is incredible, the classes, the yoga, the staff, the massages (at the resort and down the beach). There's options to eat in the main restaurant as well as two other little restaurants, one nestled within the resort (Spice) and one up on the cliff. Great to have a variety, but the food at The Sanctuary is the best and fear not, there is meat available at Spice. Things that weren't so great (but not really a big issue) - the beds were a little hard, the sheets too small and thin, the towels could be better quality. This is only because we had the most expensive room (due to availability) and would therefore expect higher quality compared with the other rooms. It would also be nice to have shampoo and conditioner in the bathrooms, maybe natural ones? the beach is not perfect and not large, but wonderful as you are not near any mass tourist hotels. There's no credit card machine which isn't ideal. Anyway this is a fantastic place if you are looking to unwind, clear your mind and eat healthy amazing food, but do not expect a chic sleek modern hotel, it attracts a slightly 'alternative crowd' and is a little rough around the edges. Really amazing, but make sure it's right for you...

Room Tip: We stayed in the garden cottages towards the back, quite expensive for what they were. Definitely tr...
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Kate H
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, 6 January 2014
Thanks Kate!
Best wishes to you for 2014,
Tasha
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (102)
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Sydney, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
22 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 December 2013

I was lucky enough to stay in the sanctuary dorm for ten days in October & while I'm on an amazing 12 month career break holiday ... This will be a top highlight.

A light and airy dorm right on the ocean front was a fabulous way to start the day, followed by yoga, Pilates, meditation & whatever other lovely treats/sessions the talented sanctuary staff have lined up for the week.

I decided to give my body a break from all the street food consumed with abandon over the past few months and did the incredible raw food menu for five days - you really don't miss warm food and meat at all ... Each item is exploding with flavour and is very filling.

Throughout my stay the staff were so friendly - it was like visiting their home that they were so proud of. Sammy in the restaurant, chanting with Michael in the sound dome & a yoga bodywork session with peter were memorable.

For budget travellers I spent about $35 usd a day which was 2 meals, 2 sessions of either yoga or a massage at the neighbouring beach a day plus one yoga bodywork session with Peter.

The boats over can be very pricey - 500 baht per way is typical but I heard it move from 2000 to 200 depending on the weather and number of people.

I'm scheming on how to come back already!!

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Ylime
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, 30 December 2013
Wow, what a lovely review! Thank you so much. 'Heaven that feels like home' indeed - I can't think of a better way of saying it!
Enjoy the rest of your travels -
Best wishes
Tasha
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London, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed 25 December 2013 via mobile

I just love coming here to fast! It's a great experience and the wellness centre staff are amazingly friendly and helpful!
The santuary restaurant is a treat for the taste buds with its raw salads and soups and healthy fare overall
At Xmas they put on a lavish Christmas lunch where they pulled out all the stops- it was yummy! The party and dancing was also lots of fun!
Their effort was well worth it!
I look forward to more days of yoga, beach time and hanging out with new found friends. This reminds me to add that it's a place where one can easily travel by themselves and won't be short of interesting company as the place is very inclusive, open and friendly!

  • Stayed December 2013
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Helpful?
Thank GeorgiaCK
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, 27 December 2013
HI Georgia, and thank you so much for your review. We're so glad you enjoyed Christmas with us - The Sanctuary wouldn't be what it is without all the great people who bless us with their presence, crew and customers alike, and its a joy to spend Christmas celebrating all together. Wishing you a very happy New Year!
Best wishes
Tasha
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Cape Town
Level 4 Contributor
38 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 December 2013

Last Xmas at Sanctuary I had chosen the awesome Detox Programme with Mister Moon.....this year however I chose to share in the spirit of Celebration with the staff, locals and new friends at their beautifully organized (for the jungle!) Christmas lunch. What impressed me so, was the essence of CELEBRATION - all nationalities and religions joining in the festivities.

BIG congratulations and THANKS to all who worked so hard to make the day and evening super special - Imagine.....waking up on Christmas Day to the sound of birdsong....a yoga class with beautiful Ben, a lay on the beach with fabby friends, a yummy feast and some nite time dancin under the stars! Yay yay and more yay's!

Room Tip: Rooms for all budgets and preferences from dorm rooms to air conditioning with cable TV and fridges
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank FionaLeibowitz
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, 27 December 2013
Ah Fiona, yay, yay and more yays for you - and all who make The Sanctuary what it is - staff, old friends and new friends alike. Christmas is the peak of our year, and a sit down dinner on the beach for 180 people was our most ambitious yet - there was some sweat, a little blood, a dash of tears and a lot of laughter to get there - thanks to all who enjoyed it with us!
Best wishes
Tasha
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Bad Homburg, Germany
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 December 2013

We spent five days in the Sanctuary, without participating in the Detox programe. What a relaxing time. Terrific location, jungle bordering on the sea, beautiful views, and very very relaxed people. Very good yoga lessons. Sebastian's bodywork is an experience in a lifetime, a therapist with very advanced skills in Thai massage. Finally, Mike, the very caring and empathetic manager - who has built this place over 22 years - kept running after us as we had transfered to much money into his account. For us, the place is a wonderful alternative to luxury resorts (which we enjoy as well).

Room Tip: If you can afford it, go for one of the places higher up. Fantastic views,and all privacy you would...
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank MariaErnst
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, 19 December 2013
Hi Ernst and Maria, thank you so much for your lovely feedback which made us all smile today (especially Mike). We're so glad you had such a relaxing time with us - see you next time!
Best Wishes
Tasha
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 December 2013

The Sanctuary has a lot going for it - I stayed in a hot water room with beautiful decorations all through it so it was really worth the extra money. They have an open mic night there, which was really fun and I remember the bartender Craig made the best drinks I've ever had! I give him 5 stars for service for sure!

My only thing is that sometimes during the day there was no music playing, the staff seemed sorta sullen so there was a bit of a weird energy... But during the evenings, I really loved the place! I didn't check out the holistic side there but hear so many great thing about that I hope to be more involved in that side of it next time.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank akaGoldenGirl
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, 4 December 2013
hello golden girl and thanks for your review - glad you enjoyed your time with us!
we do love open mic nights, and its you guys who make it... definitely a favourite night of the week on the beach. and i will be sure to let craig know how highly you rated his drinks!
we do turn the music off in the restaurant for a couple of hours in the afternoon, just for a little peace and quiet.... sorry to hear the staff seemed sullen - that's not feedback we get very often... but i'll keep an eye out for afternoon grumpiness.
hope you get to come back soon to enjoy the holistic healing side of the sanctuary -
best wishes
tasha
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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 November 2013

The Sanctuary has outstanding yoga and pilates classes. For yoga, be sure to attend Peter Clifford's class, and for pilates, go for Niamh's classes. Also, if you're staying for a few days, it's much better to take the package which includes classes, spa treatments and healing sessions.

Additionally, the salads, smoothies and raw food menu was memorable and I especially liked the spirulina, honey, yoghurt and banana smoothie. The feta cheese and spinach omelette, the Salad from Heaven and the Brown Rice Salad were also excellent. Unfortunately, the service at the restaurant was not up to mark. It was slow and we had to keep asking for things like napkins which I reckon should all be part of the standard operating procedure when serving a table.

The other downside of staying at The Sanctuary is that it doesn't have a great beach. It's short and when the boats are moored, that gets in the way of long beach walks. Additionally, it's not kept very clean. There were cans and bottles left uncollected on the beach which is a real shame. I didn't feel like taking a dip in the sea because I've experienced much better beaches elsewhere.

We stayed at the Garden House. And I would NOT recommend it if you're looking for a completely comfortable experience.The bathroom is separate from the house and is half open. At night, a baby bat flew formations in the bathroom. In the morning, I had to spray myself with insect repellant before using the loo because the mosquitoes were vicious. One afternoon, a long, fat snake was at the doorstep of the house and if it hadn't slithered away, I would not have seen it! Knowing there was a snake in the vicinity made it that much more stressful to go to the outside bathroom at night. We also had cockroaches in our house and in the bathroom. And every night, some creature would sit on our balcony and munch very loudly on fruit, keeping us awake. The last two nights we were there, the animal peed and defecated on our porch for good measure!

And even though it's called a resort, it skimps on things like toiletries. They only provided one tiny bar of hand soap. No shampoo or conditioner and no hand towels. I would have expected these as a minimum part of the service.

Room Tip: Avoid the Garden House. And the Friday night party which carries on from 10pm to 10am is loud and in...
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jasurin
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, 30 November 2013
Hi Jacqueline and thanks for your feedback.
We are glad to hear that you enjoyed the benefits of the Yoga Holiday Package and Peter and Niamh’s classes, as well as the food and drinks in our restaurant. Sorry to hear that our service was a bit slow during this (staff holiday) time of year. Thank you for your suggestion of hand towels in the bathrooms, which we are currently discussing. However with toiletries we have found that most of our clients prefer their own quality products .
Your thoughts on Garden house are well taken, this house has been on our renovation list and in fact, we have just renovated the cottage since your visit . We also plan to build an ensuite bathroom to this room in the next quiet season.
As for the jungle creatures – for some this is all part of the attraction of coming to a jungle resort – for the most part they are very well-behaved!
You also mention the beach and the garbage on it. Your visit here coincided with the arrival of monsoon seas. It’s a sad fact that all the seas of our planet are full of human rubbish and this gets dumped on all the east coast beaches at this time of year . During the initial sea surge it’s impossible to stop it and our crew clean the beach after each sea surge ( in fact if you have a look at our Face Book page you can see the severity of the seas during that 2 week period , you will also see the various beautiful presentations of our beach with the passing seasons ).
We appreciate that Sanctuary is a unique location with its own challenges - we’re happy that for the most part, you enjoyed your jungle experience!
Best wishes
Tasha
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Additional Information about The Sanctuary Thailand

Property: 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:
#8 Spa Hotel in Ko Pha Ngan
#15 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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