It's the classic 2021 conversation. It goes like this:
“Where are you going this summer?”
Chuckle. “Well, we can’t leave so…”
“Yunnan or Sanya?”
The silver lining of closed borders is having the opportunity to book a holiday in China that isn’t squeezed into CNY or Golden Week (and quite literally squeezed in with the hordes of other travelers).
It’s hot and humid practically everywhere in the country right now, so why not trade clothing for swimwear and head south? Whether you’re seeking activity or respite, there are two gems on southeast side of Hainan Island that offer both.
I’ll Have a Hainan Sling Poolside, Please...
The doyen of Singapore hotels, Raffles has a property on Clearwater Bay (清水湾) that is designed to elicit the feeling of Southeast Asian luxury.
It mixes Balinese and Hainan ethnic architecture, yet comes complete with a Singapore Raffles signature Long Bar, serving their take on the classic and legendary Singapore Sling cocktail – the Hainan Sling...
... and newly launched Clear Water Bay Sling...
The property has direct access to the white sand beaches and clear water of its namesake bay, expansive landscaped gardens and a very large, gorgeous outdoor swimming pool.
Leave a small opening in the curtains of your seaside-facing room to wake up with the sun sparkling over the South China Sea, and make an early tee time at one of the two championship golf courses adjacent to the property that are rated among China’s Top 100.
If quality family time is what you’re after, the private pool villas are what you need. Bungalows offer parents private quarters with pool views. The adjoining space has kitchenette, dining and living spaces plus a kids’ bedroom suite downstairs. Villa pools are more than just splash pools, and the whole family can enjoy swimming and relaxing around the pool on loungers or under the shade of an umbrella.
Raffles has thought about adult fun as well as kids’. A beach volleyball game can be followed by a cocktail-making class, and for those who’d rather wind down, the wellness programs include yoga or holistic Pilates as well as a Hainanese spa with rejuvenating treatment options and a Spa Lounge serving nutritious spa cuisine and a tea ceremony.
Raffles Rascals Kids Club can entertain the little ones with arts & crafts, cooking classes, magic lessons and petite yoga.
And of course, no one will go hungry. With seven restaurant and bar choices from Italian cuisine to fresh seafood under the stars, to classic Cantonese and Hainan specialties, everyone will find what they are craving.
For more information or reservations, visit raffles.com.
Next Stop: Haitang Bay
After you’ve exhausted the possibilities at Raffles (mission: impossible!), make your way around the island to Haitang Bay, and the Fairmant Sanya. Newly opened in July under Fairmont management, this feng shui masterpiece combines elements of earth, sky and water to create a true oasis.
Walk from the drop point across an ornate stone-arch bridge with the mountains behind and the sea beckoning, then cross the property’s Yun River and arrive at the grand, ornately vaulted lobby filled with natural light and a warm sea breeze. You’ll find a true sense of calm and a feeling you’ve left your worldly cares behind.
Aside from pure rest and recreation, the Fairmont is full of secrets and stories. After you’ve settled into your garden or sea-view room (both are equally beautiful), ask to have a tour with the Culture Ambassador.
You’ll have seen whimsical deer motifs around the hotel. The hotel’s totem is taken from a romantic Hainan ethnic Li story (no spoilers) and you’ll want to know how it ends. Explore the Wood Art Gallery, a fantastic ancient Jiangnan courtyard-style house originally owned by tycoon (read: Old Shanghai's baddest, big-eared gangster) Du Yuesheng, and moved to the property to act as a cultural museum.
The house is filled with ornately carved and crafted Ming- and Qing-era wooden treasures such as temple lintels, window frames, desks and tables, and offers a wonderful retrospective of Chinese handicraft. More Chinese cultural treasures can be found further along the gardens where two Qing-era pagodas have been moved. Daily Tai Chi and zither performances are on offer for those seeking zen.
Water is a feature at Fairmont Sanya. The jade pool has multiple connecting areas where swimmers can enjoy some exercise, while kids are playing with complimentary flamingo and unicorn floaties. There’s sun and shade for anyone who wants to catch up on their reading, and a super fun kid’s pool with water features and a play structure.
An all new Kids’ Club is perfect for guests aged 5-13, while there are also guest rooms designed specifically for families. The hotel’s Yun River snakes around the whole property and is part of the excitement; guests can tour the property on a dragon boat steered by staff or grab a paddle boat to explore on their own. The hotel also offers family and kids’ kayaking classes.
Beyond the Yun River, a large grassy lawn leads down to the beach at Haitang Bay. With calm waters and clean sand, families can enjoy shell hunting and long walks along the beach. In the evenings, local fisherman pull in their haul and the community comes to bargain for fresh fish – a sight to behold.
From now until Aug 31, 2021, become a member of ALL – Accor Live Limitless, and book your first stay via Accor WeChat Mini-Program to enjoy up to 15% off with complimentary breakfast for two.
ALL Member Registration
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Beyond the Resorts
We wouldn't blame you if you didn't ever want to leave the Raffles or Fairmont properties, but the island has a lot of fabulous activities, so a day trip or two can mix it up. The concierge at either property can help you book an adventure.
Daytrip to Boundary Island
Just under an hour from either property, take a spin at an introductory scuba lesson.
Yalong Bay Tropical Paradise Forest Park
Hop on a minibus, and take in the fantastic views to earn your evening cocktails by making everyone hike down.
Wuzhizhou Coral Island
Visible from the Fairmont Sanya, ferry over to snorkel in the clear coral-filled water.
Available in mornings or late afternoons, book the whole family into an intro surf lesson. Haitang Bay waves are kid and newbie-surfer friendly.
Not one, but two prestigious yacht clubs are nearby for those who want to hit the high seas in style!
Hongqi Jie Shopping Street
This vehicle-free street has shops selling all kinds of goods from clothing and commodities to candy and appliances. Long considered a bustling street in the city, the area caters more to locals than tourists. If you do decide to visit, it’d be wise to check out Hongqi Jie at night.
Hongqi Jie, Tianya District 天涯区红旗街
Jiefang Lu Shopping Street
You’ll find shops selling clothing and local products as well as some decent dining and entertainment options at Jiefang Lu Shopping Street. Snag some island clothing and dried fruits on your way to your beachside resort to elevate the experience. Admittedly, general consensus says this shopping street isn’t a place to go out of your way for, but if staying close by, it’s worth checking out. There’s also a fishing village close to the shopping area that gives you a look at the Sanya of old.
Jiefang Lu, Tianya District 天涯区解放路
Dadonghai International Shopping Mall
If you’re interested in more Western options during your stay in Sanya, the Dadonghai International Shopping Mall is your best bet for great dining and entertainment options. Located in the central business district of Dadonghai, this four-story mall is hard to miss with a pineapple-shaped structure protruding from one corner of the complex. There’s also an international cinema, if you’re looking to get out of the heat and catch a flick for the afternoon.
Yuya Lu, Jiyang District 济阳区雨雅路