I have very mixed feelings about The Sanctuary. On the one hand I met some amazing people and had some very positive experiences. I enjoyed my detox and also eating new foods like raw foods from their cleansing menu. For a vegetarian menu there is an amazing lot of variety (they also do fish btw). It was a great kick start to my new healthy living plan.
The Thai staff are lovely as is Moon at the Wellness centre. The other 'staff' tend to be healers, yogi or practioners of some sort and the majority of them are pretty decent people. The Manager Mike was a great guy and I really liked him. I remember reading reviews on trip advisor before I left talking about how cliquey this place was and I also agree with this, however, it comes from this group of healers or teachers rather than guests and they are great once you get to know them. I think that if I was offering advice to the Sanctuary I would tell them that this group needs to be broken up a bit and practice meeting guests (which would also help them sell their various services!).
The spa was quite good although there are better elsewhere in Thailand. The rooms are fairly rustic but in a nice "Hey I'm chilling out in Thailand on the beach way".
I guess what I struggled with was the fact that it is not really as clean living as I thought it was going to be. As one reviewer states there are a lot of smokers of the non-tobacco kind there but this wasn't an issue for me personally - I mean its Thailand for Godsakes. But on Friday night there is a massive party on the beach at the bar next to the Sanctuary which is exceedingly loud. The Sanctuary cannot control this and they kindly supply earplugs. The problem, however, is that it is a heavily drug fuelled party - e, acid, mushrooms etc. So you get staff (ex-pat staff) lecturing you during the day about clean living and then at night they get into the chemicals and are still high for the next few days talking bollocks to you! It seems hypocritical. A lot of guests I spoke to commented on this so I wasn't the only one who felt this way.
One Saturday morning a fellow guest came back from the party complete tripping and out of it - it put me off my breakfast to say the least! Again, the Sanctuary can't control what their guests do...but for me it did wreck my stay.
So would I go the Sanctuary again? Hmmm, hard to say. It was a beautiful part of the world and might go back for a few days but not on or near a Friday.
I guess you will have to make your own decision. I hope this review helps you manage your expectations and if you go, you will go with an informed decision of whether this sort of thing is for you and whether you can handle it.
- 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