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Bay watch: Haitang Bay’s resorts rush to claim place at top table

Fifteen luxury resorts will more than double to 36 international-branded hotels when all are open on the 22km-long coastline in the next two to three years

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 July, 2017, 1:01pm
UPDATED : Monday, 17 July, 2017, 11:38am

Sanya is among the top global resort destinations with more than 16 million guests last year. Twenty million are expected next year. No wonder the area is set to become “the biggest international tourism city in South China” with destinations such as Haitang Bay bristling with world-class resorts, says Serge Zaalof, chief operating officer of Atlantis Resorts and Residences, which will open this year.

Haitang Bay is poised to capture a significant portion of this because its location makes it “convenient for travellers to access the major points of interests in Sanya, like Wuzhizhou Island, Nanwan Monkey Island and the Sanya International Duty Free Complex”, says Belinda Guo, director of sales and marketing, Grand Hyatt Sanya Haitang Bay Resort and Spa

While “Haitang Bay is newer than well-established Yalong Bay, it also has a longer coastline of 21.8km”, adds Michael Parker, managing director of Rosewood Sanya.

While the bay’s 15 luxury resorts boast 6,000 rooms, “those are set to soar to 36 international-branded hotels when [all are] open in the next two to three years”, says Richard Li, general manager of the Marriott International Hainan Area and of the Westin Sanya Haitang Bay.

How do luxury resorts stand out?

The Atlantis Sanya is working to distinguish itself through its theme, “a vibrant tribute to the aquatic world set around the story of the lost city of Atlantis”, says Zaalof. A massive water park encompassing water slides, a surf pool and the region’s longest river ride shares billing with a 13-million litre aquarium and 86,000 marine creatures. Guests will also enjoy more than 20 dining options and a 450-metre-long private beach.

The Hyatt Sanya Haitang Bay Resort and Spa targets families, meeting attendees and destination wedding guests, with features tailored for each group. “Children are treated as guests of honour,” says Guo, citing the adventure playground and child-centric themed rooms. The hotel’s 700-square-metre Grand Club features an outside balcony with a view of the mountains and the sea. There are three swimming pools for relaxation and adventure, and a Huan Spa.

China’s first One&Only resort features 190 guest rooms, including 54 suites and villas, designed by architect Jean-Michel Gathy, according to Robert Logan, general manager of One&Only Sanya, China. A restaurant by Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten caps seven restaurants and lounges. The spa features a Moroccan hammam and a cooling “snow cabin”, says Logan. Children’s amenities include a Teens Club, a first for Hainan. More than 3,700 square metres of indoor and outdoor space host meetings, weddings and all kinds of celebrations.

The Rosewood Sanya localises its guest experience to create a sense of place, says Parker. “Spectacular sea views from the guest areas on high floors” are complemented by “big open areas outside where guests can take in the clean air and beautiful weather”, he says. The 110-metre infinity pool offers stellar daytime views while the resident DJ brings the space alive when the sun goes down. Children’s activities include star-gazing by night and pottery by day.

The Westin offers something for every market segment, Li says. Families enjoy the 12,000-square-metre swimming pool, tropical garden and children’s programmes. The hotel is next to CDF (China Duty Free), the world’s largest duty free shop. Meeting and wedding guests have access to more than seven outdoor spaces. Morning yoga leaves guests refreshed, while “guests are invited to sample local seafood in the restaurant and to join our chef to explore the local market in the morning”, notes Li.

Haitang Bay resorts tailor their summer offerings.

The Grand Hyatt has launched a summer camp that focuses on aquatic discovery and dinosaur adventures, says Guo. Older children and parents can enjoy video games at the Play on Five indoor playground.

Rosewood Sanya offers “tailored transfers, a special Sanya arrival experience, a sunrise breakfast at our lounge Hai and a chauffeured vintage motorbike with sidecar experience”, says Parker.

“Family is our number one market in the school holiday period of July and August”, says Westin’s Li. The resort partners with domestic and international partners to create extraordinary camps, which are complemented by a generous food and beverage package, he adds.