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“A perfect place to relax and get healthy”

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The Sanctuary Thailand
Ranked #21 of 92 Hotels in Ko Pha Ngan
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 29 June 2014

We checked into Sanctuary for a 7 1/2 - 9 days detox programme and stayed during end of May/june. The place is amazingly beautiful with private beach and first class accommodation, serving delicious & healthy food in the restaurant, professionally managed and well attended, friendly staff. Special thanks to Moon, Bow and Joy who assisted in each & everything during our stay and made it more memorable. Also the Yoga classes, Spa are world class. We stayed in their Super deluxe villa which was very comfortable. At the end of our stay we were tempted to extend our stay for few more days but couldn't due to limited vacation period. We have already decided to come back to Sanctuary next year during our holidays to stay more...

Room Tip: We stayed in Super Deluxe villa which is a good choice. Also they have rooms available for all budge...
  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Rajmenon72
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 reviewResponded 11 August 2014

Hi Rajmenon . Many thanks for your visit and great you appreciated both our detox center, its programs and our staff as well as having a taste of our healthy menu. your 'world class 'moniker is appreciated I hope to see you again - take care ....Mike

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199 - 205 of 535 reviews

Reviewed 15 June 2014

The place to indulge your inner hippy and completely relax. There is both dorm style accommodation and more private individual villas set back into the hills. It was an incredible place to stay. We picked Star House – right up high (quite a few steps!) and peeking out over the tree tops it was spacious with a living area, bedroom and two balconies.

The interior of the villa was very open – only a curtain into the bathroom – so make sure you’re comfortable with your room-mate, or you will be by the end of the stay! The bathroom had panels that were open to the elements so we did have a regular feline visitor, slightly scary in the middle of the night but part of the charm overall.

If you stay here bring all your own toiletries as none are provided, though I’d encourage you to have the coconut oil hair treatment at the start of your stay and just let that sink in. The spa was great – a bit expensive by thai standards but good value for the experience, environment and range of treatments. This is one of those places where you can be as busy or as lazy as you want to be.

Make sure you arrive before Thursday when they showcase all the classes and therapies available for the week. We went to a yoga class and ended up taking some semi-private classes in body alignment, and I’m still using the techniques today.

Last but not least is the restaurant. I was worried about only having one choice, but when the food was that good we didn’t want to go anywhere else. Warning to carnivores, it’s vegetarian and seafood only, but there was creativity and variety I didn’t feel I was missing out. The smoothies were awesome too. It was too good to resist and we ate a lot – ironic given that the Sancutary also offers an extensive range of detox and cleansing programmes. Knowing how good the food is, I don’t think I could abstain!

It proved a true sanctuary - felt like i'd been there weeks not days I was so relaxed!

Room Tip: Star house is gorgeous!
  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Blonde_in_HK
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 17 June 2014

Hi Blonde_in_HK, Thanks for taking the time to review The Sanctuary. I think you give a really fair reflection of what it is like to stay in Star House. Open, relaxing, amazing views of stars and the jungle......with the occasional feline visitor. We hope you also enjoyed the undersky bathtub on the terrace.

It looks as if you guys had a full Sanctuary experience; with treatments at the Spa and at the Tea Temple, plenty of time in nature and plenty of healthy, happy food - I will be sure to pass your complements onto the kitchen and spa crew.

Future guests should know that 'The Gathering' where our resident healers present what they will offer for the week ahead is held on a Sunday at 3 pm rather than on a Thursday as you thought. On Thursday we hold an open mic night where guests and locals share their many talents.

We are about to provide some really good organic toiletries in the bookable houses. So next time you come you can leave some bottles at home. Thanks again for your review and we hope to see you again soon. Best Wishes - Jonny

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Reviewed 19 May 2014 via mobile

On first sight the sanctuary seems to be the ideal resort. Nicely located on a semi private beach with bar restaurant an many bungalows in all price ranges.
This is somewhat of a problem wanting a bit more upscale resort it seems you are at the right place, but the mix of dorm rooms and private exclusive houses seems to bite somewhat. The food can be better, you would expect the bar to stay open if guest are still there, it doesn't and even closes early.
Maybe the biggest issue is the location, on Friday there is a party with loud music and boats coming and going, that goes on until 10 in the morning. Also could be really great, but looking at the website it seems you are right in the middle of nature with the quite "jungle" surrounding! The Full Moon part time around the corner leaves something to be desired and the nonstop haggling to get a boat to and from the resort gets annoying after a while.
So yes nice place, but something's don't add up!

  • Stayed: May 2014
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1  Thank jeroenvK
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 21 May 2014

Hi Jeroen, thanks for this review. Our intention is to provide a unique experience for our guests, one of these experiences is the cross section of clients we welcome here- from dormitory guests to luxury house dwellers - it’s the mix of people that makes the Sanctuary such a magical for most......we wish that had been the case with you.

We feel as though we have been very upfront about the party on the land next to us - statements regarding it are on our website in the "important information" and the "FAQ" sections - and we really are totally off the grid and in the jungle with all of the sounds and friends it brings.

While we are not affected by the full moon party here in Had Tien, the energy of the island definitely becomes more effervescent over that time. I often travel to the busy areas of the island at the time of the party and always breath a sigh of relief when I come back here to the calming energy and quiet of the Sanctuary. We hope to see you again soon - Best wishes - Jonny

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Reviewed 12 May 2014

First and foremost, it needs to be said that I traveled to the Sanctuary for the purpose of a detox. As such, I can't really speak to the people who are just going to chill out.

I booked a seven and a half day/nine night package which included my room, all elements of the fast, a salad the night before, seven yoga or pilates classes, seven spa treatments and unlimited use of the sauna. All visitors to the hotel are welcome to join medication classes held every day at 6:00pm.

The hotel restaurant offers incredible raw, vegan and vegetarian food. Important to people pre and post cleanse and delicious. The restaurant is a cool area to chill out in day or evening, and is used to screen a movie every Tuesday night and for an open mike night on Thursday. It is worth saying that for Thai food, I thought the Bamboo Hut located up the hill near Had Yuan was more tasty and cheaper but that means climbing up the hill...

The beach the resort is located on is not the prettiest on the island. The sand is rocky, not the white fluffy stuff. Also not many sun lounges and they really need sun umbrellas. Take good flip flops with you and make sure to climb over the hill to Had Yuan to see one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Sunrise is spectacular and you should wake up and see it. Also the most beautiful time of day.

I booked a deluxe aircon villa part of the complex of rooms used by the Welness Center. My room was clean, aircon kept it cool, mosquito net kept me safe, and the cable tv had about eight decent channels. It was also one of the rooms which had a bathroom set up for administering your own colonics, but I won't get into that. Only shortcoming, the stairs between the bed and bathroom when you need to pee in the middle of the night. I understand that people say the A Frame rooms up in the trees are prettier but I preferred the proximity of the room I had to the Wellness Center.

What they write about the Friday night-Saturday morning parties at Guy's Bar is true. They are LOUD and the villas and A Frames up in the trees really hear them. Bring earplugs (though the Sanctuary provides them as well) and consider going over to have a look and a dance early Saturday morning.

I won't go into the details of my fast because it's something only people who are into or have done can relate to. I will say that the Wellness Center is run by a man named Moon. He simply is one of the kindest and most dedicated people I have ever met. He is not a doctor, nor does he claim to be, simply someone who has been working with fasts for almost twenty years. He and his team are dedicated to what they do, and are there to help, give advise, make you tea (free and unlimited) at all times. The most amazing group of people ever. The world would be a better place if more people were like them.

I did one good yoga class and eight Pilates classes. An hour and half each, classical mat pilates. GREAT.

The spa treatments were very good albeit if you have to pay for them are more pricy than anywhere else, but the setting and quality were well worth it. A true highlight was the wet sauna and plunge pool.

Two final and important notes:

1. The best way to get there is the Thong Nai Pan ferry. It leaves from the beach at MaeNam Koh Samui (NOT the pier, the beach at the end of the road where Greg's Pharmacy is) every day at 12:30 unless to waters are choppy. Otherwise get to Had Rin and take a long tail boat.

2. If you need cel phone coverage buy a DTAC card. AIS does not work there at all. The wellness center does provide 500m wifi usage per day for people fasting. Not sure if included in regular stay at resort.

In conclusion, Moon you the most special person ever and your team are amazing ! Jonny and crew thank you! I'll be back next year

Room Tip: Depends on what you like, most people love the A Frames up in the trees.
  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled solo
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5  Thank Sharon726
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 16 May 2014

HI Sharon. Thanks for this great review. Loads of fair information for people to look at. We miss your fun vibe here and loved watching your armour soften as the days ticked by. I'll be sure to pass your review to Moon and the team and to say thanks. See you next time Sharon. - Best wishes Jonny.

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Reviewed 9 May 2014

The Sanctuary has the perfect blend of health, relaxation, and interesting workshops to keep you occupied. You can go where the mood takes you, whether you sunbathe, go to yoga, have spa treatments or join a whole range of workshops and/or private sessions offered through the Tea Temple. I personally enjoyed the breathing workshop and creative writing. How interesting they were, I learnt a lot in a fun and supported environment. What a treat. What a great way to spend a holiday!
The rooms are lovely, air conditioner was a blessing, and the balcony was serene.
The staff across the board were very friendly and helpful.
With water shortages all around the bay, they are being proactive and protective of the water too.

Stayed: April 2014, travelled solo
Thank CircaCharlie
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 11 May 2014

Charlie, Thanks for your review. We are so happy when our guests really understand what we are trying to do here. Yes - come here and do whatever you want!!!!! See you soon we hope. Best wishes - Jonny

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Reviewed 8 May 2014

I arrived to the Sanctuary after a long delayed journey and was delighted with my deluxe garden suite that I had booked for a treat to start my trip. It is more expensive that other nearby accommodation but the bed was super comfortable and the bathroom and living space was lovely, fitted out with air con, fridge etc.
I finished off my stay in a hillside bungalow which was nice but overpriced in comparison to other accommodation I stayed in whilst in Asia for this trip.Comfortable and nice bathroom however.
The resort itself - well I wasn't sure the first couple of days what to make of it. In the end I was won over. Yeah there is a wide range of people and for the majority they were lovely and it was very chilled out, so what if it's a bit middle class with people wearing lulu lemon as previous reviews have said. The general atmosphere is one of contentment and happiness with a wide range of different age groups and nationalities. It's up to individuals to hang out with who they want and I felt pretty chilled out when I left. This part of the island is pretty cut off which I liked, although there is plenty to explore close by.
My fave place was the cove close by called Way Nam, the beach is lovely and the cafe there is frequented by long term residents who treat you like an old friend and I was very sad to leave!
Overall the Sanctuary staff were good - a bit patchy in parts but friendly enough.
Bad points? The yoga - I attended the morning yoga and it was a very average class. And it was disappointing to see the yoga teacher light up a fag after the morning class. I was expecting some amazing yoga but as a yoga teacher myself I guess I am hard to please!
If you like ashtanga yoga there is amazing shala close taught by Kirsten and Mitch (google it!) and by far the best mysore teachers I have had. (Google it!)
The food was overpriced and in most instances disappointing taste wise - very hit and miss.
The boats that get you there - well those manning them are a law to themselves but that's not the Sanctuary's fault. And if you need to get back to Samui there is a cargo boat which is much cheaper, larger and more pleasant to travel in than going via the main port.
Definitely worth a visit to the area and for a bit of luxury.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled solo
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1  Thank G79
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 18 May 2014

Hi G79, - Thanks for your review and we are delighted that you were won over by our little slice of paradise. One of the things we also love about being here is the wide cross section of people from many walks of life that come to see us.

We are the only resort on Had Tien that offers some rooms with Air con – these are more expensive due to the power needed to run them.

Our intention is that all the meals we serve our guests are tasty and great value considering the quality of ingredients we use. Yes – some other places close by are cheaper but we insist on using (and not using) certain ingredients and quality of products. For example – you will not find palm oil in any of our meals.

We regret to hear that you didn't get on with the morning Yoga class – we receive lots of great feedback for all of our teachers and totally stand by our offering. As far as the fag goes –well , we all have our vices don't we & we are not an ashram but a holiday destination?
We think that achieving perfection is impossible but recognising your humanity is part of the journey. Best wishes - Jonny

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Reviewed 8 May 2014

I feel brand spankin new after a 7 day detox program at the Sanctuary - refreshed and renewed, physically, mentally, spiritually, bowel-ly. Much gratitude to Moon and the Wellness Center staff, whose hjob it is to keep us fasters stocked with herbal teas, coconuts, smiles, and constant encouragement to “just relax.” Colonics, clay shakes, and other detox elements were bookended by yoga & pilates classes in the morning and spa & sauna sessions in the afternoon. Moon, again, was great with his endless cheer and as a bottomless fount of advice and knowledge based on close to 20 years of work in detox. At the Tea Temple, I was very impressed by the skill of the healers who work there, and highly recommend the Chinese abdominal and lymph drainage massages.

Tucked between jungle and the beach, spectacularly framed by vine-tangled trees and giant rocks, the constant twitter of island critters all around - the Sanctuary is the perfect place to rev down a few gears and reacquaint yourself with easy, even if you are not detoxing. At the restaurant, I only got as far as the raw food menu, but everything – raw pad thai, carrot soup, fresh Vietnamese spring rolls – was delish. Look forward to a return visit.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled solo
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Thank andariega_6
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 11 May 2014

Hi Andary, It certainly looks as though you received the full Sanctuary experience!!!! I hope you don't mind if I use the phrase 'reacquaint yourself with easy' when I explain to people what it's all about here and will pass your thanks on to Moon and the detox team for another success story. Best wishes - Jonny

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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:
#8 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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