Absolute Sanctuary: Koh Samui, Thailand

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Total relaxation and rejuvenation in a vibrant Moroccan inspired Oasis is Thailand’s popular Detox, Spa and Yoga Resort, Absolute Sanctuary. It's situated on one of the Asia's most popular holiday destinations on Koh Samui Island, located in Cheong Mon, five minutes’ drive from the International Airport and peacefully hidden away from the busy tourist centre Chaweng.

Upon returning to this peaceful haven for the third time, I am greeted by Apple at reception with a warm friendly smile, she offers me a cooling drink and it feels like coming home. The staff treat all guests like family and they continue to delight me with their superior level of service and attention to care. The resort has expanded their offerings in yoga, pilates and fitness and has recently unveiled a great tasting new superfoods menu in the renowned Love Kitchen. Absolute Sanctuary specialises in a range of Detox and Yoga programs to bring you back into balance and invites guests on a journey to reclaim, reset and revitalise their vitality and wellbeing.It is the perfect escape for a weekend getaway, a girlfriend’s getaway, or a full detox program; whether you are traveling in a group or a solo traveller you will feel right at home.One of the best aspects of doing a program is a sense of immersion, whether it is self-reflection you need or an opportunity to deepen your yoga practice, learn new skills or simply relax,  I discovered all of this can be experienced while getting to meet other like-minded healthy individuals from all over the world.

The Facilities, Rooms and Decor

The resort is a harmonious blend of chic design and Moroccan inspired architecture set on the hillside in Cheong Mon. It has 38 elegant rooms nestled around an oversized salt water infinity pool and juice bar with adjoining herbal steam room. The rooms are warm, inviting and luxuriously comfortable; they feature en-suite bathrooms with stylish tiling, air conditioning & ceiling fan, desk, safe, mini-fridge, hair dryers and telephone. Waking up in this blissful resort each day I enjoyed stepping out on to my balcony, which had an incredible view of both the shimmering turquoise waters of the infinity pool and the sea in the distance providing the perfect place to unwind after a spa treatment, fitness class, or a full day of sightseeing.

The Programs

Every holiday starts with a consultation with Janelle the Wellness Consultant in the detox spa to discuss each guest's needs and tailor the desired program to ensure the very best care and outcome. There are six types of programs from full detoxes to light vegetarian meals, yoga packages, pilates boot-camps or lifestyle holidays all ranging from 5 to 10 days; they also offer a traditional spa holiday. You have the option of adding on a 3 day pre-cleanse program for busy individuals who lack time to prepare for their detox program and 2.5 day post cleanse program to gradually re-introduce the body to normal eating in a controlled and healthy environment.

I experienced the Detox program where you have four detox drinks a day from a specialised menu, with an option of 10 different drinks available. All detox drinks are mixed with psyllium which is an intestinal cleanser and powdered bentonite clay a mineral rich volcanic clay designed to help flush out toxins so they can be eliminated through the colon hydrotherapy treatments so you can begin to feel lighter and increase your energy.

Each detox program includes a combination of daily detox drinks, liver flush drink before and after program, pro-biotics, hydrating coconut juice and vegetable broth soup. There's also traditional Thai or detox massages, yoga, access to the pool, fitness centre and steam. Some of the more comprehensive detox programs include: holistic treatments such as Reiki, Indian head massage, magnesium foot baths, infrared sauna session and facials. What I love about Absolute Sanctuary is that upon arriving in your room you have a folder outlining all of your program activities and treatments and a complimentary Detox Guide written by naturopath Sally Mathrick which is a wealth of information explaining the benefits of detoxing and all of the components involved.

Fitness - Yoga/Pilates Reformer/Gym

A wide spectrum of yoga styles are taught in the two studios, the Ocean Studio and Jungle Studio with floor to ceiling windows, filled with natural light. Views of lush tropical fauna and the sounds of nature help to calm the mind which heightens the overall experience. The main Jungle Studio caters for both hot bikram yoga and a variety of other styles including restorative yoga, hatha, flow and yin classes. Yoga teacher trainings are run a few times a year and have become extremely popular attracting yogis from all over the world keen to become certified teachers. Jana, from Germany has been teaching yoga at Absolute Sanctuary for a number of years, she is one of the best instructors I have encountered. Her classes seem to flow in an effortless manner, she brings a caring nurturing energy to every class and helps guide to make adjustments on your postures.

The was the first resort in Koh Samui to offer group pilates reformer and core suspend classes which caters for up to six participants at one time. In my first introduction session with only two of us in class it was like a one-on-one lesson where the instructor coached us through the basic sequence and we became familiar with how to use the machines, which may I add are nowhere near as difficult as they look but they certainly are effective. My muscles were stretched and worked in ways I have not previously experienced. The following day I tried my first fit and tone class and with a series of slow movements, squeezing and leg raises, I discovered pilates was all about quality of movement not the number of times you conduct each sequence. I found it to be challenging and certainly left me feeling like I had a thorough workout, and I can easily see why it attracts so many dancers as it produces a longer and leaner body and it encourages correct spinal alignment, with careful adjustments made by the teacher and requires a greater degree of consciousness to every movement.

The Love Kitchen & Superfood Menu

At the Love Kitchen, guests have the option of sitting indoors or outdoors on the patio, with dark wooden tables spaciously set apart with views of the tropical garden and the sound of the water cascading from the infinity pool. The staff are accommodating for any dietary requirements and a new superfood menu has been launched to the already acclaimed and innovative restaurant. This new dining concept offers a comprehensive range of highly nutritious, gourmet and delicious dishes in the fit food category. It's designed with a focus on delivering the highest quality ingredients and superfoods which are also high in protein for those seeking a diet to optimise their energy, performance and fitness while on holiday. Creatively designed recipes include a range of organic rice, wholefoods, hormone free meats. The meals are expertly balanced, high in nutrients and free of common processed ingredients and chemicals which give you peace of mind knowing you are being nourished at the highest level.

I was lucky enough to sample the “Three Bean Edamame and Quinoa Salad” a small yet highly nutritious entree with the added benefit  of high protein from the beans and quinoa complimented by the energising power and taste of the popular superfood; goji berries, it was elegantly served, tasty and a great introduction to the superfood menu. I have never been a big fan of tofu however this was a surprising meal that has left me a fan, “Larb Mushroom with Tofu” with my first bite, textures flourish with three types of mushrooms, under a bed of smooth Japanese Silken Tofu enhanced with zesty lime, chilli and tamari it was accompanied by refreshing cucumber and turmeric  known for its anti-inflammatory benefits.
On my last day I for a healthy twist on the classic Spanish Paella try the “Absolute Veggie Quinoa Paella” bursting with flavour, a little spicy from the paprika, chilli and garlic, onion, rounded out with fresh flavours from the tomatoes, parsley, thyme and lemon. You simply can’t be in Thailand without a delicious “Thai Garden Roll” and these were fresh, crunchy, creamy and cool. Filled with organic vegetables and authentic glass noodles topped off with a creamy aromatic Thai peanut dipping sauce. This new superfood menu certainly enhanced my experience with its culinary sophistication. The cuisine takes centre stage; it was a fantastic way to complete my program and has expanded my perspective on how to select and make easy healthy meals that still taste amazing yet are filled with wholefoods.

Detox Spa Treatments

From the minute you step into the spa, there is a heavenly scent and the meditative mood is still present exactly as I remember from my last visit. There is a sense of decadence and serenity, accentuated by the beautiful bowls of pretty coloured tropical flowers that float in the water by the stairs as you enter this sanctuary. Skilled therapists deliver a variety of treatments including, massage and expertly operated colon hydrotherapy treatments, holistic energy healing sessions, beauty treatments and foot baths complimented with natural ingredients. The signature Thai style massage is particularly outstanding and offers a harmonious blend of relaxation and recovery from tired aching muscles. The therapists even spoil you with a warm ginger tea in the spa lounge at the end of your treatment while you awaken to the world of reality.

The Verdict

If you are someone that loves yoga, healthy eating, fresh juices and smoothies and would like to explore different types of fitness or deepen your yoga practice this is the perfect destination and it’s now complimented by the new superfood menu. Absolute Sanctuary provides an ideal backdrop that stimulates the senses in a serene setting for reconnection, relaxation and renewal.

Absolute Sanctuary:

Visit: http://www.absolutesanctuary.com/

Offers packages ranging from 5-10 days and include return transfers. Absolute Sanctuary has created their own cookbook available for purchase at the Love Kitchen Restaurant which makes a perfect gift to take home and help you stay on a healthy path. 

Getting there:

There are direct flights to Bangkok International Airport from most major cities with Thai Airways who also offer transfers to Koh Samui. Thai offers outstanding service, a generous 30kg of baggage in economy, and health meal options. Thai operates daily flights between Sydney and Bangkok and the return flight departs daily at 19.20 and arrives in Sydney the next day at 07.20.

Visit: http://www.thaiairways.com.au/

Bangkok Air operates direct flights with comfortable seating and excellente service from Phuket to Koh Samui.

Visit: http://www.bangkokair.com/eng

Gaye Gerrard