Sanya, China

Sanya is a city on the southern end of Hainan Island, just off the coast of China’s south. Sanya is about 650km southwest of Hong Kong as a reference. Sanya is famous for its beaches and high end resorts and as the playground for China’s wealthy, especially those from the northern provinces as a winter getaway.

The two areas that most tourists target are Yalong Bay and Haitong Bay, with the former being the traditional location and the former being the newer and more trendy location. We decided to try both areas by staying at The Edition, Sanya in Haitong Bay for two night and then a night at St. Regis at Yalong Bay for a night. We also spent a day at the Rosewood in Haitong Bay.

LEICA M10 35mm ISO-200 1/250sec f/4.8

The Edition Sanya

With August being the low season in Sanya due to the hot weather, we were able to get great rates and went for a bigger than usual room, the Loft Studio with ocean view. The hotel itself is beautiful and the room was fantastic.

LEICA M10 21mm ISO-100 1sec f/9.5
LEICA M10 21mm ISO-200 1/60sec f/3.4
LEICA M10 21mm ISO-100 1.5sec f/16

The positives of the hotel also lead to the negatives; the amenities are excellent with several pools including a salt water pool, several excellent restaurants to choose from, live music at night, and a huge children’s area for families.

LEICA M10 21mm ISO-200 1/250sec f/2.8
GFX 50R 45mm ISO-200 1/300sec f/8

The negatives are that the hotel is massive and feels a bit impersonal. While the minimalist decor is beautiful, it sometimes comes across as a bit too stark and cold. It has a Thailand vibe, but without the warmth in both the architecture and the service.

Overall however, we loved the hotel and would highly recommend it.

GFX 50R 45mm ISO-100 15sec f/5.6
GFX 50R 45mm ISO-100 10sec f/5.6
GFX 50R 50mm ISO-6400 1/80sec f/1
GFX 50R 45mm ISO-1000 1/80sec f/32
GFX 50R 45mm ISO-200 1/680sec f/11

Rosewood Haitong Bay

Next up, we headed over to the Rosewood in Haitong Bay for some drinks and to hang out by the pool. Now this hotel is gorgeous! We would definitely like to stay here in the future and indulge in the stunning pool complex high up in the sky, with the ocean view to take in.

LEICA M10 35mm ISO-200 1/360sec f/4
LEICA M10 35mm ISO-200 1/180sec f/5.6

St. Regis Yalong Bay

I hate to be negative and if you’ve been reading this blog for some time, you’ll know that I tend to be pretty optimistic, but unfortunately this will not be one of those cases. The St. Regis in Sanya is a disgrace to their brand; I’ve stayed in a number of St. Regis hotels around the world, with perhaps the Bangkok one being one of the best service experiences I’ve had.

The St. Regis Sanya has very little going for it. It’s an old building that has been poorly maintained, with mediocre service, and mediocre facilities. Our overhead rain shower shot water in every direction except down; when your maintenance is so poor that your shower head overcomes gravity, you know you’ve really hit a new low.

The hair dryer hinge was broken and flopped around as you tried to use it. The poor cable connecting the two halves did its best to keep the two pieces together, but the wear on the sleeve made for more risk than a dry head of hair should incur.

Things went from bad to worse as we tried to check out. Our friends had already checked out prior to us and had paid for our room. The front desk had no record of this and insisted we pay again. After 20 minutes of back and forth and having provided the payment receipt, we were finally allowed to leave the hotel.

GFX 50R 45mm ISO-1000 15sec f/2.8

Conclusion

Sanya is a great destination if you’re already in China, with a number of beautiful new resorts to rest and relax in, however the city still has a ways to go to reach the consistency in service and level of quality in the hotels that cities in Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries are known for.

GFX 50R 45mm ISO-200 1/160sec f/5.6
LEICA M10 35mm ISO-200 1/500sec f/6.8

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