Absolute Sanctuary: An Absolutely Delightful Koh Samui Wellness Retreat

This post was last updated on 2023 October 28

Not that I ever need an excuse to visit Thailand (it’s one of my all-time favorite countries!), but an invite to a Koh Samui wellness retreat center was enough for me to plan my 4th trip to the Land of Smiles.

A quick glance at their bio was all I needed to book my flight:

ABSOLUTE SANCTUARY is Asia’s Leading wellness resort for fitness, health, lifestyle, weight management and more, managed by AUMA Hospitality. We set the benchmark for effective wellness programs that will transform you to the best you.

We pride ourselves to be the only wellness fitness resort in Asia. We are the creators of award-winning guest experiences, the benefits of which will last a lifetime. Our crafted programs leverage on our expertise in yoga, pilates, core programs and healthy food programs from being part of ABSOLUTE YOU, the largest health & lifestyle brand in Thailand, to produce effective results.

ABSOLUTE SANCTUARY is the place to reconnect with yourself, recharge, revitalize & re-energize.

We lead you on the journey to discover the best you. We transform you.


koh samui wellness retreat

koh samui wellness retreat

Who doesn’t want to transform and become their best self, right? Sometimes we just need a little help from the experts… and that’s where Absolute Sanctuary comes in.

With their guidance and facilities, you have everything you need to start making positive change in your life – or at the very least, to relax and care for yourself without distraction for a week or so at their Koh Samui wellness retreat.

Here’s what to expect when you book into a wellness program at Absolute Sanctuary in Koh Samui —

koh samui wellness retreat

koh samui wellness retreat

Wellness Programs

Saying yes to 5 days at Absolute Sanctuary may have been easy, but selecting which wellness program to focus on was extremely difficult for me! As of now, they have 18 different programs to choose from, nearly all of which will appeal to anyone who’s remotely health conscious. Some are more focused on fitness (yoga, pilates, gym), others on mindfulness, and there’s a very popular detox program as well.

Ultimately, I went with the Body Realignment program (though the Spa program, where you spend your days floating from massage to body treatment to sauna, was a very close second choice!) —

Body Realignment program at Absolute Sanctuary
All bodies are structurally imbalanced as one side is more dominant than the other. This program helps to realign the spine and body, bringing back balance through a prescribed private Pilates reformer program that will loosen up tense muscles and strengthen up weaker ones. Ideal for everyone especially those who suffer from office syndrome, bad posture, chronic aches and pains, and those who play racquet sports.

koh samui detox retreat

This program is the PERFECT fit for digital nomads who are constantly having to work and sleep in less-than-ideal conditions, which takes a toll on our bodies and in particular our posture.

After 3.5 years of not having my own home, including 2 years of living and working in a caravan, my posture is not what it was during my Bondi days, when I was diligently attending thrice-weekly pilates reformer classes and sleeping in my own comfy bed. I carry a lot of tension in my shoulders, which are a little bit hunched over now from constant laptop work and not enough stretching or movement.

Thankfully I’m not at the stage where I’m in pain from it… but I’m all about prevention rather than cure, so anything I can do now to keep from causing lasting damage to my body I am ALL for.

So that’s why I chose the Body Realignment program at this Koh Samui wellness retreat, which includes a healthy blend of daily pilates and massage treatments, with some yoga on the side. Here’s what it includes:

Koh Samui detox retreat

Koh Samui wellness retreat

All programs at Absolute Sanctuary include access to the steam room, gym, and daily yoga and meditation classes; they also include daily meals and juices, an initial consultation with a bio impedance analysis, and round trip airport transfers.

In other words, they really take care of everything for you, which allows you to just show up and enjoy the experience.

retreat koh samui

Body Realignment Program

Upon arrival at this Koh Samui wellness retreat, I was greeted and given my schedule for the week. All of the classes, sessions, and treatments for my program were pre-booked, but you can ask reception to move things around if you prefer different times (which I did, a lot!).

Right away, I was taken to do a body scan (aka a bio impedance analysis) and my initial consultation, which was essentially a meet and greet to chat about the program and my goals and health history.

The bio impedance analysis spits out a breakdown of your body composition. Once upon a time (the Bondi days, circa 2018-19) I had below-average body fat. These days (pandemic onwards), er, not so much. Not surprisingly, I’ve lost a lot of muscle mass since then due to not working out consistently, which might be my least favorite thing about being nomadic :(

koh samui retreat

Interestingly, I’ve stayed about the same weight and size throughout, which just goes to show why it’s important to look at body composition, rather than silly metrics like BMI.

The thing that stood out to me the most in my analysis? That my metabolic age is 50… aka I have the metabolism of a 50 year old. And honestly, nothing has ever made more sense!

But also, I’m super curious as to what my metabolic age was during peak pilates fitness. Working out and increasing muscle mass can definitely help to lower your metabolic age (and speed up your metabolism), but I think there also must be a genetic aspect to it because some people have a fast metabolism and don’t work out at all, right?

koh samui retreat

For the next 5 days, my schedule was filled with daily 1:1 pilates sessions, a couple of 1:1 yoga classes, and a daily massage. Beyond what they schedule you for with your selected program, you’re free to add on any additional spa treatments, pilates classes, or wellness workshops at a discounted rate (more on these extras later!).

Absolute Sanctuary also offers a daily meditation and yoga class in the morning at the yoga shala (an outdoor platform overlooking the property and sea), as well as a yoga class in late afternoon at their indoor studio, all of which are free and optional for program participants to join (you just book in the day before).

Though they were optional, I took advantage of the daily yoga because I figured it could only help with my body realignment. Most of the classes were gentle and restorative, which I loved because a). It’s too damn hot in Thailand to be working up an extra sweat, and b). I was already getting enough of a workout with all the pilates I was doing.

retreat koh samui

With the body alignment program, I had 2 1:1 yoga sessions – but they ended up being not so much yoga-focused, but more educational and breathwork-centric.

I learned a TON about anatomy, like the different layers of abdominal muscles and where different organs are located in the body. Knowing this, it makes so much more sense why you should practice a variety of ab exercises targeting different ab muscles, and why you should breathe deep belly breaths rather than shallow chest breaths.

Speaking of which, I am a very strong chest breather and I honestly can’t believe I went 38 years without knowing that it’s a million times better to breathe into my sides, back, and stomach instead. That’s been my biggest takeaway from the program, and I’ve been so much more conscious of my breathing ever since. I really do feel much more relaxed when I breathe through my diaphragm, who would’ve thought?!

Aside from breathing, I also practiced some stretches and poses that will help with my alignment: think lots of spinal twists and oblique openers.

retreat koh samui

With the body alignment program, I spent most of my time in the pilates studio. In 5 days, I had 5 1:1 pilates classes, 2 group pilates classes, a postural analysis, and a private stretching class.

The postural analysis was particularly illuminating. Apparently my right leg is longer than my left leg, my pelvis is a bit tilted forward, and my spine curves slightly left!

Finding all that out at once was a little overwhelming and shocking, but it just goes to show how important it is to listen to your intuition. I wasn’t in any pain, and nothing in particular ever happened to me to mess up my alignment, but I knew that things were somehow off in that area and that I had to do something about it now, rather than later on in life when it DOES start to cause issues (hence why I chose the body realignment program).

That means daily stretches and strengthening my core and glutes.

koh samui wellness retreat

I was especially eager to dive back into pilates, my absolute favorite workout, after a few years of very inconsistent practice.

I’m not sure if it was the 1:1 nature of the sessions, or the fact that I was oh-so-slightly out of shape (ahem), but pilates at Absolute Sanctuary kicked my ass and then some. I don’t normally feel too sore after workouts, so I definitely wasn’t expecting to feel like I got hit by a truck by Day 2.

So my #1 tip for anyone booking a fitness-focused program at Absolute Sanctuary is to get in shape BEFORE you arrive. I felt like absolute crap for half of my stay mostly because I didn’t do this :(

Soreness aside, I thoroughly enjoyed getting back into pilates for a week. Each of my 1:1 pilates sessions focused on a different muscle group and included lots of stretching and recovery.

koh samui reformer pilates

The group pilates class was fun, very much in line with past pilates reformer classes I’ve done (i.e. I was IN MY ELEMENT).

The group “pilates core suspend” class I took was not at all what I expected. The whole class, we utilized a TRX system (essentially long straps hanging down from the ceiling, with different grips you can clip onto the ends). I’d never done a workout like that before, so it was all new and exciting and challenging.

The Spa

The team at Absolute Sanctuary must’ve known that fitness-focused programs require ample massage treatments to aid in recovery, because my goodness did I need a massage every day. I’m so glad my program included that!

With the body realignment program, I enjoyed a full body relaxing massage, full body deep tissue massage, head neck and shoulder massage, foot soak, and foot massage. They were easily up there with some of the best massages I’ve ever had.

koh samui health retreat

If you’ve been to Thailand, you know that every other storefront, no matter where you are, offers massages. Most are cheap, no-frills establishments of widely varying quality.

Absolute Sanctuary has more of an upscale spa with western prices to match. And honestly, they should! You want a high quality experience when you book into a wellness resort, not a cheap massage you could get in town.

Spa treatments here feel luxe from start to finish. Every time, I was greeted by the friendliest staff and given a wet hand towel and drink before my massage began. They have bath robes you can lounge in before and afterwards, and a shower in each treatment room if you want to wash yourself post-massage. All of my massages were infused with some incredible smelling essential oils (which actually, I think I was asked about my scent preferences when I first booked). And afterwards, I was given a little snack and a tea to enjoy before heading off to my next class or activity.

koh samui retreat

koh samui health retreat

Though I didn’t use them, they do have some outdoor beds for massages. I’m not sure exactly which massages they do outside, but they’d have to be ones where you stay fully clothed.

And as I mentioned, most programs at this Koh Samui health retreat include some spa treatments, and you can book additional ones at a discount if you’re wanting more.

The Resort

Whenever I wasn’t at class or the spa, I was relaxing around the resort in either my room, the pool, or the restaurant.

The kind staff at Absolute Sanctuary put me up in a suite with an ocean view worth melting in the direct sun for (which I did, because the balcony faces the sun in the morning).

koh samui wellness retreat

I also loved the elevated lounge area adjacent to the bedroom, which I used to spread out all of my luggage (5 months’ worth!). The cushioned benches were where I woke up with a coffee most mornings.

koh samui detox retreat

koh samui wellness retreat

And the bath tub! I’m not even a bath person, but I ended up taking a bath 3 of the 5 days I stayed there. I especially loved the little jar of bath salts that they refilled every day for me, and the little tea light lantern that was lit right next to the tub every time I returned in the afternoon. I always appreciate when people think of the little details, and hotels and resorts are no exception.

koh samui detox retreat

The pool is the obvious centerpiece of the Absolute Sanctuary resort, and it’s where I spent most of my downtime. Lined with lounge chairs and umbrellas and equipped with a few inflatables, it’s all too easy to lay out and recover between workouts. I’m more of an ocean girl than a pool person, but I do enjoy sitting in the shallow end with my kindle (and er, coconut) in hand.

Adjacent to the pool is the Vitamin Bar, aka a juice/smoothie/shake bar with dozens of healthy fruit + veg drink options. Many programs include daily juices; mine gave me 2/day, which I used almost exclusively on fresh coconuts and their alkalizer drink (fresh coconut water + cucumber).

Tucked next to the Vitamin Bar is the steam room, which is free for all to use and gets VERY hot (I could barely last 5 minutes at a time!).

Oh, and there’s also a well equipped fitness center on the property, which I never used because I had more than enough fitness going on with my Body Realignment program. I liked that the option was there, though!

koh samui health retreat

As for food at the resort, I can honestly say that I’ve never eaten cleaner! The Love Kitchen boasts meals that are “high in nutrients and low in calories, enriched with superfoods & wholefoods, made with natural & organic ingredients, free of chemical additives and refined sugar, and contain no trans fat.”

So if you’re wanting to detox or get your eating back on track, this is definitely the place to do it. Be warned, though, that if you’re not used to eating so clean, some meals may seem a little plain at first bite (which is a good thing!). Once you get used to it, you start to taste the natural flavors more and don’t need any additives to make it taste good.

koh samui retreat

There’s an overwhelming number of dishes on the menu, from soups and salads to Thai specialties and international cuisines. Most are heavy on veggies and grains, and the meat options are chicken or fish. I found myself ordering the chicken quinoa dish and the cashew nut stir fry multiple times, and I sampled most of the fish options during my stay.

Most programs (including mine) offer 3 meals/day, which includes 2 dishes off the menu and one drink (juice or tea) for every meal.

koh samui retreat

Right next to the dining room is a lounge with a small library and a tea and broth station, which guests have unlimited access to during their stay.

Other Activities

If all of the aforementioned just isn’t enough to fill your time at Absolute Sanctuary, there are plenty of additional activities you can add on to your Koh Samui health retreat:

  • FREE daily workshops – Hour-long presentations on a specific wellness topic (varies each week)
  • FREE shuttle – On certain days, they run a shuttle to Chaweng Beach and Changmoen Beach during the day, and Chaweng and Fishermans Village in the evening. Trips are for two hours.
  • Infrared sauna – You can book a solo session in the sauna (30 minutes for 950 THB, or ~$27 USD)
  • Group pilates classes – You can book group pilates classes by the session or by the bundle, or purchase an unlimited pass for your stay
  • Spa treatments – As mentioned earlier, you can book massages, facials, scrubs, and colonics at the spa beyond what is included in your program
  • Alternative therapies – You can book a number of sessions with wellness practitioners specializing in areas such as astrology, sound healing, reiki, breath work, art therapy, and life coaching

koh samui chaweng beach
Chaweng Beach.

I was super excited for the sound healing, but sadly not enough people signed up so it got cancelled.

Instead, I attended a free astrology workshop and ended up booking a 1:1 session afterwards. I’ve long been curious about my birth chart, but it looks like hieroglyphics to me so I’ve never been able to make much sense of it.

retreat koh samui

My 1:1 astrology session included a deep dive into both my birth chart and Pete’s, with a palm reading at the end. Most of what the astrologer shared were things I was already aware of about myself, which I found very validating (e.g. I’m a creator, I’m very sensitive, I want freedom, I’ve got fresh/young energy, I’m an excellent communicator and a “master of words”, I’m a truth seeker, and I’m idealistic)

A few things were a lot more surprising, such as the fact that apparently I’m very emotional, which I’m gonna have to sit with for awhile (though I am a cancer moon, so maybe not a shock?).

It was also super empowering to hear other things, like how I can make whatever I want happen (aka powerful manifester vibes), that the next few years are going to be some of the best/luckiest in my life, and that Pete and I are very well suited to be business partners. Yay!

In short, I’d definitely recommend booking an astrology session when you visit Absolute Sanctuary, as well as any other session or treatment you feel called to :)

retreat koh samui


In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, I absolutely LOVED my time at Absolute Sanctuary in Koh Samui. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy myself, but I learned so much about myself and my body that I might never have otherwise, and for that I’m so grateful.

I felt like 6 nights / 5 days was just enough time, though I would have happily stayed a little longer. I already can’t wait to return someday!


koh samui detox retreat

If you do book a stay at this Koh Samui wellness retreat, I have a few tips for you to make it the best possible:

  • Make sure you’re in decent shape and work out semi-regularly before you arrive, if you’re booked into a fitness-focused program.
  • Don’t overdo it! Make sure you take time to relax, recover, and integrate what you’ve learned and practiced, rather than packing your schedule full of sessions and treatments.
  • Try something new while you’re there, or something you’ve been curious about (whether it’s an alternative therapy, meditation, or a colonic – give it a go while you have a chance to!).
  • Take the shuttle to Fisherman’s Village one evening if you won’t get a chance to visit any other time while you’re in Koh Samui (it’s a very cool place to grab dinner and wander).
Thank you to Absolute Sanctuary for gifting me a 6 night / 5 day stay. Note that all opinions expressed here and elsewhere on this blog are my unbiased own, and are uninfluenced by any gifts or incentives I may receive.
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Absolute Sanctuary: a Koh Samui wellness retreat