Absolute Sanctuary by Rathi21/02/2019, Rathi Sivasothy
An absolutely fantastic retreat, with a convenient location just 15 minutes from the airport, Absolute Sanctuary is totally my kind of place.
The Pilates studio is fitted with the latest equipment and perfect for people of any level. For the yoga enthusiasts, there are three enclosed yoga spaces including the hot yoga space. The fitness centre is a bit dated and has a few machines which are not working. However, they are investing in new equipment to update the centre, especially with the fitness programmes being redesigned it will be a welcome change. The swimming pool is a go-to spot for a lot of the residents during the day, with a pool bar serving healthy and delicious smoothies to keep you hydrated. Though at no point is the pool overpopulated, so you will have your little me time without twenty other people in the pool with you. You can choose to have your treatments done in the open air Thai massage sala or in the private treatment rooms. There is a certain feeling of freedom in lying in the open air sala, while your muscles are being kneaded. For a dash of culture, the retreat runs daily excursions to the temples in the area like the Big Buddha temple, Wat Plai Laem, the beach or the night market in the fishing village. You can sign up at the front desk, and it’s a great way to meet other guests!
It is by no means luxurious, however, the retreat, though simple and clean, has its own unique charm about it. I absolutely loved the bright shades of yellow, orange and green in the rooms and beautiful blue and purple lanterns dotted around the retreat. I like the fact that the room has a yoga mat for your personal use during your stay. The Sanctuary suite is my favourite as they have a nice little Moroccan themed lounge, which is perfect for relaxing in after a massage treatment.
Loved the Pilates
I would highly recommend a private Pilates Reformer session with Nok. Whether you are a beginner or know a thing or two about Pilates, she will help you to plan your pilates sessions, so that it works with the rest of the program/classes to deliver the most benefit. I was a beginner and not only did she teach me how to use the machines correctly, but also how to tailor the exercises based on my body type and injuries etc.
Fitness with a new approach
Absolute Sanctuary recently hired a well known Kettle Bells and fitness instructor Muk Venkatraman from Hong Kong. A fun and entertaining instructor, a personal training session, will certainly get you breaking into a sweat and burning those calories. He will charm you through your session with some easy going banter, and only at the end do you realise how much you have gotten through!
After the long flight, the Thai massage was the perfect start to my stay, as it immediately relaxed me. Tip: Would definitely suggest not to book any other session on the first day. I also did the Colon hydrotherapy, which is conducted by a nurse, and it’s best if you do it at least twice or thrice to get the proper benefits. The Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapy is good for weight loss, and you don’t feel as heavy as you generally do post your meals after this. I also chose to do the coffee scrub, which is very relaxing. Tip: If you have sensitive skin (like eczema etc), I would suggest you do the Ayurveda scrub instead of the coffee scrub as it’s more gentle for your skin type.
In between a fitness and wellness session head to the pool, grab a green smoothie and lounge at the poolside. It’s a great way to relax while re-energising yourself. For your wellness consultation, I would suggest seeing Stephanie - she is very experienced and it is extremely easy to connect with her. Finally, many of the group classes are free to attend, so make use of them!
Best For/Not For
Pilates - The best ever / Not the place for someone looking for an immersive mindfulness retreat.
One thing for sure, you will never go hungry at Absolute Sanctuary. Though the breakfast options and sizes are small, this is certainly made up with the lunches and dinners. All meals are healthy, colourful and very tasty, in particular, the raw Pad Thai and the spring rolls! I am looking forward to making the Pad Thai at home. If you are peckish between your classes, grab some of the delicious protein balls. The banana and chia seeds and the jungle brownies, in particular, were definitely the go to!
I didn’t rate
When you have a massage, they give you a sheet of paper where you can mark on the picture of a body, areas where you want the therapist to touch or not. Make sure you reiterate this before your massage starts to avoid any miscommunication!
Therapists to note
For Pilates Nok is a no-nonsense lady, while she is 100% focused on you getting the most out of your session, she has a dry sense of humour which you will come to appreciate through the class! If you are heading to the fitness centre, Muk will be there with his easy banter, making you comfortable while he puts you through a full-on holistic fitness session.
Absolute Sanctuary is a great choice for those who are looking for a retreat, where they can fill their days full of activities, treatments and delicious foods and is certainly an excellent option for solo travellers who like to meet like-minded people.
If you are ready to start your wellness journey call our wellness
advisors at 020 7843 3597 or enquire here.
Things that they could have done better:
- I was informed that alcoholic drinks were (unless imported) included in the price. This did not turn out to be true. Alcoholic drinks (whether imported or local) cost extra at the resort.
- My flights had to be rescheduled for reasons outside of the control of Healing Holidays. I was not initially given the reasons for the change, so had to ask for this. It would be better, whenever there is a change to the flights, if a reason for the change were found and communicated upfront."