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“Beautiful location, very unique place”

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The Sanctuary Thailand
Ranked #22 of 92 Hotels in Ko Pha Ngan
Certificate of Excellence
Level 6 Contributor
111 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Beautiful location, very unique place”
Reviewed 19 February 2014 via mobile

We stayed at The Sanctaury while attending a 5 day Thai massage course with Sebastian Bruno. The facilities are top notch and so wonderfully unique, every day was a treat to be here. The people are an extremely eclectic mix here so people watching was one of the main activities! The food was excellent and one of the highlights although a bit pricey for Thailand, but not unexpected. There are other options close-by as well that are also excellent...Whynam Beach, Bamboo restaurant, Haad Tien Resort. The service at The Sanctaury was lacking a bit, mostly confused looking, detached servers walking around with food trying to find the right table. Rarely did we get a smile out of any of the restaurant staff, and table service was a bit of a crapshoot. But the food did make up for some of the service shortcomings. We recommend looking at a menu and just ordering up at the bar, especially breakfast. Overall we had an excellent stay and enjoyed this place very much!

  • Stayed January 2014
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Prairiedrifter
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, 22 February 2014
Hi PrairieDrifter and thanks for your review - we're really glad you enjoyed the unique experience that is The Sanctuary!
Sorry you were let down by our service: we're always working on making it better and we know we have some way to go.
We were a bit surprised to hear however that you didn't see many smiles from our staff: their service might be poor at times but they are generally a pretty smiley, friendly lot - so sorry if you caught them in a bad week!
Hope to see you again some time -
Best Wishes,
Tasha
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (102)
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English first
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 February 2014

Like others have said, we picked this place out specially from England for the ideal mix of yoga, calm and peace added to the good food that was well reviewed. We had planned to be there for a week but we, along with others in the boat, left early
We were disappointed with the delivery of the experience.
The food , while good, was not fantastic - the service was very slow and unprofessional. The yoga and pilates classes were good and yet nothing really special. The beach was only a small part of a not very lovely bay - the next bay was much more attractive and a lot cleaner.
Many things about The Sanctuary were out of date - the place was not clean enough, the 'free filtered" water available was fine but the tap was next to the toilets in a grubby area, the "shop" was also next to toilets and very unloved. The front desk was a tiny apology for a space.The beds were very hard. The so -called cool vibe was spoiled especially in the evening by everyone using their devices and by music that was consistently too loud and insufficiently attuned to the beautiful jungle and sea environment. Again the little bars and restaurants in the next bay did a better, and cheaper, job.
Some of the people were outstanding - Simon and Naimh the teachers, Shard in the restaurant and Kaswa at the front desk but we felt that they were up against it.
It is in short a place that needs to catch up - no doubt amazing 10 years ago …..

Room Tip: The garden rooms were lovely but beds very hard.
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank tony b
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, 18 February 2014
Hi Tony and thanks for your review.
Of course this is a very disappointing review for us to read, and we are really sorry your stay with us was not what you were hoping for.
On inspection we agree that the mattresses are too hard and have already ordered new ones for these rooms, and initiated a full mattress check on all our rooms - so thanks for inspiring us to bring this annual procedure forward. We have also now started previously planned renovation work on our shop, which we agree could do with some loving.
Service is certainly an area we sometimes struggle with in the very busy season when you visited. Many of our staff are fantastic, but we know we still have some way to go on this one.
Finally, to respond to your sense that the place is tired and grubby – we agree it can appear so, and of course it’s a constant work in progress to keep things from decaying fast in these jungle elements. However, we have also found that one man’s tired and grubby is another man’s cosy and comfortable – we try to keep a balance between the two!
Best wishes,
Tasha
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Melbourne, Australia
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 February 2014

I really wanted to love this place, especially after hearing great reviews but there were some things that fell a bit short for me.
My friends and I stayed in the "bookable Accommodations", so we paid a bit of money. The room itself was great, overlooking the palm trees and the sea. The trek to get up there was like a workout because it was way up in the hill - but it was good to be away from the bustle. Each morning we experienced no water till about 10 am! Which was a bit of a nuisance.

The customer service at the restaurant was sub par, it was quicker to just order at the counter. And considering its not was not a cheap place to eat, it was a bit disappointing. I'd recommend The Chiang Mai open spring roll, it was delish! But don't get the coconut shake- it was like blended coconut in coconut cream.

My friends and I met great people! The yoga was very relaxing, and I took the beginners class which was a good experience. I didn't book a workshop, but heard great things about it from others. I dabbled in programs throughout the day and they were good. I recommend the guided meditations at 6pm too, I left feeling refreshed :)
I planned to stay for a week however left after a few nights. I think I would consider The Sanctuary again if there was a workshop that really drew me. Then, I might have a better experience.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jujutraveller
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, 14 February 2014
Hi JujuTraveller and thanks for your mixed review of pros and cons.
As ever, we are always glad to hear about the things our guests did enjoy at The Sanctuary, and we are always striving to improve the things our guests didn't enjoy so much.
Hope you make it back for a workshop sometime -
Best wishes
Tasha
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Wokingham, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 February 2014 via mobile

I went to the sanctuary on my own for a 3-day yoga retreat. It wasn't the easiest place to get to, at least when the water is so rough some of the usual boats can't travel there, but it was absolutely worth it. The surroundings are just beautiful and I have never felt so peaceful and utterly relaxed.

The yoga was good - the teachers are very knowledgable and have a different approach than current standard classes. The spa treatments were just amazing - I highly recommend the hot stone massage ... Heavenly. The food was also excellent - some have complained about the slow service. It is slow but where do you need to be?

I would highly recommend it and hope to return someday not too far from now.

Stayed January 2014, travelled solo
Helpful?
Thank Becky K
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, 14 February 2014
Thanks Becky - we're really glad you enjoyed your Sanctuary experience! Hope to see you again some time -
Best wishes
Tasha
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
York, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 February 2014

Firstly I was hoping to relax and stay here for 10 nights. I stayed 5 then really felt I had to leave. There is a box in reception saying suggestions here and not on trip advisor but that is not fair - potential guests need the full picture. I arrived late Jan the sea was choppy but what greeted me was a huge film of rubbish very close to the shore which I had to walk through. The shoreline was also full of rubbish! Was truly awful - I thought they would clean the beach at least but not for 4 days it was so bad a guest cleaned the bigger pieces of rubbish such as babies bottles, broken shoes, fishermans nets etc! So much for harmony and clean living, I could not swim in the sea and another guest paying 4000 bhat a night said it was depressing - I agree, it was my single most worst beach/rubbish experience. I also did approached two members of staff who said they would tell the manager (it would be difficult for the manager not to have noticed in the first place)The rough sea was no excuse as both the neighbouring beaches were spotless & I saw them being cleaned frequently. The welcome was friendly, the staff pleasant if not on the ball, the 10am yoga was really great, the food in the restaurant was nice especially breakfast fruit pancakes, other than that it was way over priced and most of the guests couldn't enjoy it anyway due to their extreme detoxing with water and 35 pills a day! Does this even sound healthy to you? Unfortunately it also had a chaotic atmosphere to it, slow service, people stepping over you, everyone on computers, it was loud, I ate at the bamboo huts up the hill instead it was much calmer, better food and atmosphere, way cheaper and excellent views. The room for 800bhat was dark and smelled like a very fusty shed also depressing - light has such an effect on ones mood. Two other girls who I spoke to in the detox bungalows had an issue with cockroaches - which I am pleased that they told me when I left! Also there are two huge and loud parties per week on a Friday and Wednesday coming from the huts next to the sanctuary in the gardens - the sanctuary is surprisingly not isolated by anymeans- you either have to join or not sleep. However if you really want to chill out then head to the west coast its beautiful, quiet, sunsets, relaxing & unpretentious, you know I did feel such much better as soon as I left the sanctuary and unpacked here thank god I didn't spend the whole ten nights at the sanctuary what an awful last memory of thailand that would have been. So what are you paying for? Brown rice and access to therapists and healers - you can get those at home!

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank thepalmtree
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, 14 February 2014
Hi There, ad thanks for your review. We are truly sorry that you didn’t enjoy your time with us – please let me mention a couple of things .

The notice on our reception says:" if you enjoyed your time with us, please tell the world! If you didn’t, please ask for one of the managers and let us know how we can improve our service." In that way we have more personal contact with any unhappy guests, and can hopefully deal with the issue on the spot and make them happy – which is our constant aim. We welcome all feedback but it's always easier to chat with people when they are here, than try to reply in an email.

The seas in Dec / Jan / Feb are constantly changing direction. Our neighbouring beach , Had Why Nam, had a nightmare rubbish incursion in December and then the seas change slightly and it lands on our beach . Our crew clean it early in the morning depending on the tides but it can be trashed again only a few hours later . This is the unfortunate effect of human pollution in our seas & it is at times difficult to manage (and heartbreaking to see - for all of us) BUT we are on it daily and always welcome assistance with this big task.

Finally - we're happy to say that the Wednesday party seems to have been short lived and has not happened this week .

Most importantly - I am glad you found the right place for you to enjoy your holiday.

Best wishes,
Tasha
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 February 2014

You know those times in life where you don't really know why you do something, you just do. I booked this place not really based on anyones recommendations. Having said all of this, I grew up in Bangkok from when I was 5 till 13. Part of my heart is in Thailand and I am familiar with their culture and their environment. I was traveling in Vietnam with a friend and very sure when I left Vietnam, I wanted to experience Thailand alone. I was never "alone" at this sanitary and that was a gift. I met incredible people, had very interesting conversations which I will cherish for a long time. I can promise you I will be back and hopefully can stay much longer.

On a side note, I hurt my foot badly on my way to "The Sanctuary". When I arrived, everyone was helpful and concerned about my foot. Throughout my stay, Chard was ridiculously sweet, and the little Gems i met along the way, Nolan, and Peter, and other guests were very uplifting and the energy there is very electrifying.

Yeah, the service isn't impeccable, but I was on vacation and the last thing I was in was a hurry. If you want to be served and waiting on hand and foot this place isn't for you. If you want to raise your awareness and be around genuine creative artist folks, go to the sanctuary.

I stayed in two bungalows. The first one was the weeman 3 I believe. It was pretty amazing. A sweet kitty stayed with me for a two days. The second bungalow was 11 and a little further back but still very nice. I did have a little rat or mouse come to say hello to me on the last night. Staying in this special place, you realize you live amongst the other species so I accepted it for the night. Im sure they would have been accommodating to help remove it, however, I didn't have the energy to trek to the reception because of my foot.

I can't imagine I won't ever come back to this place. In fact, I can't wait to bring someone here so they too can experience the magic.

Thank you to "The Sanctuary" for creating this space for people who can appreciate beauty and be amongst others spiritual beings living in this human experience.

Room Tip: I found that the Rooms behind the restaurant and reception were great. If it is a Friday it can be...
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank thecourtney
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, 13 February 2014
Hi Courtney, thank you so much for your wonderful review which Nolan and I have been loving today - we're so glad you had a magical time and look forward to seeing you grace the bar again sometime soon!
With very best wishes,
Tasha
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New York City, New York
1 review
Reviewed 10 February 2014

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Love. I will return. The food was extraordinary. However, I cannot find any contact information for this place! If the management could message me a phone number or something, that would be really helpful. If not, I suppose I'll show up and hope for the best.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ShadesMalone
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 April 2014
Hi Shades,

Really happy to see that you enjoyed your time here. We can't wait for you to become a returning guest !!!!! Please contact us through out website www.thesanctuarythailand.com or through info@thesanctuarythailand.com See you soon. x Jonny
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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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