Boom times: Yalong Bay’s luxury resorts cash in on idyllic location
While the bulk of the guests are from mainland China, it is Russia, South Korea and Malaysia who provide most international visitors in luxury Yalong Bay resorts
Business is booming for Yalong Bay’s luxury resorts. With a beachfront longer than 7km tucked up against rainforests and rolling mountains, the idyllic location has seen a surge in annual visitor numbers while “hotel occupancy continues to grow despite a number of new hotels”, says Stephan Stoss, Hilton area general manager of Hainan South Hotels.
Stoss says hoteliers and guests both benefit. “Prices are stable or dropping, but the volume is offsetting the drop in rates to help hotels remain profitable,” he says.
While the majority of guests come from mainland China, Andy Chang, general manager of Park Hyatt Sanya Sunny Bay Resort, says the year-on-year growth in international visitors, most of whom are from Russia, South Korea and Malaysia, is “34 per cent”.
Hoss Vetry, multiproperty vice-president and general manager of The Ritz-Carlton Sanya, Yalong Bay, sees room for further growth as Sanya “is still an undiscovered gem overseas”. He says more flights from Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan will continue to drive growth.
The growth and competition is spurring Yalong Bay hotels to new heights.
At the Hilton Sanya Yalong Bay Resort and Spa, Stoss says “our family suites really stand out for us in Sanya, no one has copied them yet.” The suites include dedicated bedrooms for parents and nautical-themed children’s rooms with beds, sinks and decorations designed for children. The resort is also gearing up its enlarged Kids Club, which will feature “a paddle pool and rainwater features ”, adds Stoss. “We’ve invested heavily in our renovation and are well-positioned for the future because our product is brand new.”
Chang gushes about The Park Hyatt Sanya Sunny Bay Resort’s “spacious rooms, suites and villas, most of which are blessed with breathtaking views of the South China Sea”. He cites the indoor pool and China’s longest outdoor pool as highlights, along with the lakeside spa. Chang is also excited about the imminent addition of the Andaz Sanya Sunny Bay Resort, a nearby facility that “will offer more choices for the guests who visit Sunny Bay”.
The Ritz-Carlton stands apart as “an ensemble of 32 private villas offering 24/7 international butler service”, says Vetry. He praises the resort’s exceptional service, noting that the “Club Lounge Team recognises each Club guest by name and anticipates their preferences and needs throughout”.
In addition to the chain’s largest Asia-Pacific spa, the resort features seven dining outlets with outstanding seafood, Italian fare and elegant Chinese dining. Vetry calls the resort “the biggest playground for adults travelling on MICE [meetings, incentive, conventions, exhibitions] and for children taking part in our Ritz Kids Summer Camp and daily activities”.
Yalong Bay is ideal for a destination wedding, says Stoss, who notes that couples seek a wedding with “a different feeling and memory” to be shared with their guests. “It’s all about the ocean, a ceremony in front of the sea, lots of flowers and a dinner under the starry sky.”
The area is also blessed geographically, says Chang. Sunny Bay, where the Park Hyatt is located, is just 5km from the heart of Yalong Bay, with its “vibrant strip of bars and restaurants”. For those who prefer nature, “Fortune Bay, a private bay next to Sunny Bay, is renowned for some of the best diving in China,” adds Chang.
With more than 50 golf courses in Hainan, the region remains a paradise for golfers, says Vetry. “Yalong Bay also has no fewer than nine professional golf courses within an 8km radius”, he notes.
He also extols the Tianya Haijiao scenic area. Marking the traditional southernmost part of China, the spot is perfect for “couples seeking romance” or families in search of a combination of beauty, history and nature.