SANGHA Retreat by OCTAVE Institute: A Wellness Retreat with Big Ambitions

December 8, 2019 by Allison Reiber DiLiegro

Set on the banks of Yangcheng Lake, just outside of Shanghai, SANGHA Retreat by OCTAVE Institute is a wellness destination with big ambitions. While simple rest and relaxation are welcome, SANGHA Retreat aims to inspire lasting transformation. Their goal is to set ripples in motion that make the world a better place. After all, “Sangha” in Sanskrit means “community.”


The team is worthy of the task. SANGHA Retreat has assembled a diverse roster of experts in Eastern wisdom and Western science that includes physicians, physiotherapists, life coaches, nutritionists, mindfulness practitioners and more. Before embarking on a wellness program, each guest undergoes a wellness evaluation and works with the team to design a customized plan to suit their goals.

SANGHA Retreat believes in the power of integrated wellness. As such, days are filled with a variety of sessions and treatments. There are spa treatments in the subterranean 65,000-square-foot AT ONE Healing Spa, and meditation and sound healing in the Meditation Dome, designed to radiate the energy captured from the rising sun. There are lectures, classes in Pilates, yoga, Qigong and meals prepared by a Michelin-trained chef. Some guests stay for a three-day reset, while others stay for weeks to undergo deeper work.


Far from serving only Chinese clients, SANGHA Retreat draws seekers from around the world. Some guests come to relax at the end of a trip to China, while others – including executive teams – make the trip expressly for the world-class programming. Families are well taken care of, as children’s programs are on offer.

A selection of curated wellness programs are also on offer. One of the most popular is the Ancient Chinese Wisdom program, which combines Huangdi Neijing with Western medicine. Huangdi Neijing is an ancient Chinese medical text that encompasses more than 2,000 years of medical wisdom. Guests undergo a wellness screening using this diagnostic methodology. After the initial consultation, the program features acupuncture, three nutritious meals per day, wellness classes, mindfulness workshops, a treatment in the AT ONE Healing Spa and more. Guests come away with a deep understanding of the science behind ancient Chinese wisdom.


SANGHA Retreat is the first venture by OCTAVE Institute, founded by Frederick (“Fred”) Chavalit Tsao, a billionaire and fourth-generation industrialist. Fred believes that if we improve upon ourselves, we’re better equipped to help others and solve today’s challenges in a sustainable way.


As Fred recently said at the Global Wellness Summit, “We know when we are well, and we are only well when all is well. This means that our family, friends, community, business, society and environment must be well for us to feel wholly well. We are entering an era with a new paradigm. This is the paradigm of Quantum Leadership, where all people must become the CEO of their own life. We need to take responsibility for our holistic wellbeing and for a purposeful life, mindfully lived.” It’s a concept he discusses in his recently published book, Quantum Leadership: New Consciousness in Business.

SANGHA Retreat certainly offers beautiful surroundings for inner work. The property was designed by Calvin Tsao, Fred’s brother, and Zach McKown of Tsao & McKown. The award-winning design – highlighted in Interior Design magazine and the 2018 AL Design Awards – is modern but pared down, with contemporary lines and warm woods. The low-slung buildings are made from local materials that blend into the natural environment. Between them are spaces that invite contemplation, like peaceful gardens and water elements.


The 60 suites are warm, inviting, clean and serene, with deep soaking tubs, balconies, plush king beds and views of Yangcheng Lake. For groups and families, there is the two-bedroom Penthouse Lakeview Suite, the four-bedroom villas (4,000 square feet) and the seven-bedroom villa (8,600 square feet).

SANGHA Retreat is located in Suzhou, China, often called the Venice of the East for its atmospheric canals. It’s one hour west of the Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport by car and less than two hours from Shanghai Pudong International Airport. The bullet train makes the trip from Shanghai in just half an hour.


Contact Hidden Doorways to book the pre-opening rate. Book the Premier Lakeview Junior Suite for $1,095 per night and you’ll receive roundtrip transfers for up to three guests, a complete medical assessment, use of the fitness center and HydroThermal Circuit and three meals daily.



SANGHA Retreat by OCTAVE Institute
199 Yang Cheng Ring Road
Jiangsu Province 215000

Telephone: +86 (512) 6788 1888

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