The Mandarin Oriental Sanya
Is it another property on Yalong Bay? No, this hotel is nearer to Sanya City, in its own private cove, Coral Bay. It is about two kilometres along the coast from Dadonghai, whose long, sandy beach and resorts are visible in the distance. Accommodation is spaciously dotted across a hillside towards the end of a headland, which looks out on an uninterrupted expanse of the South China Sea.
So, apart from the great views, what else does it have? Despite its name, Coral Bay has been partially 'sand-scaped' with natural-looking golden sand granules. After a bit of beachside tranquillity, flop home to the lap of relaxed luxury.
How luxurious is it? The hottest of all accommodation types are the 15 two-storey Sky Villas, each with an infinity pool (below left), canopied gazebo and outdoor shower housed in a walled garden. Perched on the hillside near The Cliff, a free-standing lounge that serves breakfast and afternoon tea, cocktails and canap?s, each of the two-bedroom villas sleeps up to four. A large sandstone sea-view whirlpool tub in the main bathroom is surrounded by candles, bath salts and loofah brushes. A number of culinary themed barbecues can be had in villa gardens.
Pavilion rooms have ocean views or gardens, either with an individual plunge pool, a shared pool or beachfront access. All rooms are spacious and incorporate lots of wood and stone, much of which is volcanic, sourced from Hainan Island. The interior palette is charcoal and chocolate browns, which, together with spotlighting, create a warm, contemporary feel.
What else is there to do? There are three outdoor swimming pools, one with a sand-bottomed shallow area, another that's off-limits to under- 18-year-olds and a temperature-controlled one, for cooler months. There are bicycles for rent, a games room with a pool table, table tennis and Wii games, and a children's club. Activities for all ages are held every day, from cooking and tai chi classes to pirate camps in the summer. A sprawling spa offers treatments in spacious villas, each preceded by a traditional Chinese medicine consultation with an in-house doctor.
What's the food like? A coffee shop, the multicuisine Pavilion restaurant (above) and a Chinese restaurant present a decent international selection. Pared down Western fine-dining restaurant Fresh has local seafood and some Thai dishes. Wood and coconut shell grilling is its speciality.
What's the bottom line? Accommodation starts at 1,600 yuan (HK$1,830) for a terrace room. Sky villas are available for 8,499 yuan per night - book four nights and get an extra one free of charge. Note that mainland hotel prices incur a 15 per cent surcharge.
The Mandarin Oriental Sanya is at 12 Yuhai Road, Sanya, Hainan, tel: 86 8820 9999; www.mandarinoriental.com.