The Ritz-Carlton, Sanya
What is it?
Arguably the ritziest (pun intended) of the resorts along the Yalong Bay beach strip, near Sanya, in the south of Hainan Island. The rooms and suites are large and the 33 one- to three-bedroom pool villas each come with a lush private garden. Decoration is understated and luxury oozes from the aesthetics and finish of materials used.
Is it family oriented?
Absolutely; 60 per cent of those who holiday here come with their families. The hotel has a roster of children's activities throughout the week, most of which include parents. The hotel recently became the first in Asia to work with French family holiday consultant Petit VIP, and in November launched a tailor-made family experience. Many of the activities, while fun, have educational aspects to them. Petit VIP guests are given a concierge and a 'passport' containing information on activities for minors, which are stamped when those activities are completed. Guest rooms even have mini bathrobes - a rarity, even in top hotels. A dedicated child minder, on call 24 hours a day, can be hired.
Available to all petit Ps, 'VI' or other-wise, the children's club has an indoor play area, an outdoor playground and a large fun pool. Martin's Secret Garden is popular with the under-12s as well as adults - a hotel engineer commandeered part of the grounds and created winding paths leading between homes for farmyard animals, indigenous guinea pigs and turtles. Almost every enclosure and feature is made from recycled materials.
Is there anything a little more adult to do?
There are three outdoor pools, the most popular of which is the 'lagoon', with its sandy shallows. There are also tennis courts and electric two-wheeled Segways that can be hired to cruise the property. Scuba diving and snorkelling are taught in the hotel pools, and there are yoga and tai chi classes.
Does anything stand out among the food and drink outlets?
International restaurant Fresh 8 cooks up a mean Hainan chicken rice - albeit served with Singaporean condiments, as the Lion City has made this dish its own. Fresh 8 uses the best chicken on the island; from Wenchang. Sand - also international dining - doubles as a cocktail spot.
Anything else we should know?
Club-floor benefits include a tranquil lounge with generous inclusive meals and snacks. Also, the hotel has a resident 'romanceologist' for villa guests. As well as taking the stress out of planning ... well, anything, this person can arrange personalised beach or in-villa dining, proposal settings and excursions for two, such as tandem rides, picnics and boat trips.
What's the bottom line?
Room rates start at 2,188 yuan (HK$2,675) with breakfast, until October 31. There is no extra charge for the Petit VIP programme, although there is for some of the activities.
The Ritz-Carlton Sanya is in Yalong Bay National Resort District, Sanya, Hainan Island, tel: 86 898 8898 8888; www.ritzcarlton.com.