Sanya is often dubbed the Hawaii of China – it’s the country’s only tropical region, known for its warm and sunny coast. Beautiful stretches of coastline are lined with an array of upscale hotels offering pristine private beaches, which are considered among the best in the country. Come here to escape the city and enjoy China’s very own beach oasis and stay in a beach hotel – bookable on Culture Trip.
East of the city facing the vast swathe of sandy beach on Haitang and Tufu Bays, the EDITION is an uber-polished design resort with all the panache of celebrated designer and hotelier Ian Schrager. An avowedly modern feel is softened with abundant teak latticing on walls and ceilings of the public spaces, while all 500 rooms and villas face the sea courtesy of the property’s horseshoe configuration. Topping the array of pools is the “private ocean” – a 4,000sqm (43,056sqft) saltwater expanse complete with a “crescent beach”.
The mythical ancient city could never have had such a futuristic ladder-like skyscraper at its heart. Yet that doesn’t stop Atlantis Sanya from channelling oceanographic themes into this bold – if not curious – blend of water park and luxury resort. Highlights include a vast Lost Chambers aquarium with over 80,000 specimens including sharks, sea lions and dolphins – while restaurants range from refined Cantonese to Gordon Ramsay. Accommodation subtly embraces nautical themes, and the top suites trumpet underwater aquarium views through floor-to-ceiling windows.
Yalong Bay ranks among Hainan island’s prime slices of beach-front real estate – and the Ritz-Carlton’s palatial size, atmosphere and immaculate gardens match the idyllic location. Public areas distil a slick modern Sino-Thai style, and the almost nebulous series of ponds and pools culminates in a heated beachside pool with direct access to fine golden sands. Enormous spa facilities include a dedicated outdoor pool and relaxation courtyards, while sports facilities include tennis, basketball and volleyball courts.
Nestled among the swaying palms of a gorgeous west-facing beach on a small hilly peninsula, the Mandarin’s proximity to Sanya city is wondrously disguised. Contemporary laid-back chic rules the roost, while the gardens’ clutch of gazebos, wooden decks and open-air living stylishly embrace the tropical setting and relaxed vibe. Accommodation is spacious, with decorative nods to Hainan’s long-faded tribal heritage – while the sumptuous villas feature private plunge or infinity pools, plus exclusive access to a hilltop lounge for breakfast or evening cocktails.
Haitang Bay is no stranger to vast hotels, and InterContinental’s offering features a cavernous garden-facing porch beyond which stand pools, palms, extensive gardens and private villas stretching down to the sea. Tasteful rooms – most with sea views – feature contemporary decor with wood finishes and cool furniture. Restaurants range from an open-air, cabana-style beach bar to the somewhat contrived AQUA – with its giant wrap-around aquarium.
Polished marble floors, stout pillars and cream-coloured furniture give the Marriott’s lobby a cool air of elegant finesse. On the sandy shores of Yalong Bay, the chevron-shaped main building features rooms of almost minimalist luxury in muted earthy tones with ocean, garden or mountain views. Suites and villas have a similarly understated feel, but with Chinese motifs, large terraces and infinity pools. A speciality Japanese restaurant boasts shogun-style seating – but the only swords around here are likely to be the fish.
Directly opposite Wuzhizhou island in Haitang Bay, the Rosewood almost resembles a cruise ship moored to a modern high-rise – softened by manicured gardens and leafy walkways. The top-floor Hai Bar and infinity pool offer memorable panoramas across the bay and hills, while most of the suites boast balcony plunge pools with similar – though less lofty – views. Muted interiors of wood and stone accents suggest understated luxury here. Restaurants include the Chop House, an al fresco Mediterranean-style brasserie with an Italian slant, and the seafood Fishmonger, where you can select fish straight from their tanks.
Part faux-village with “olde-China” covered walkways and garden pavilions, and rather more modern yet relatively modest hotel, the Huayu La Floret Resort is a distinctly Chinese take on a resort-style property. At the heart of it, several three-storey villas cluster around a pretty amoeba-shaped pool – where the parquet-floored rooms are sensibly furnished and embellished with local accents along with a guaranteed balcony. There’s a small gym and a pleasant, though comparatively limited, al fresco restaurant serving only Chinese dishes.
When your resort has a helipad, you’re probably rubbing shoulders with the high-flying – if not global – elite. Here at the Shangri-La, at least everyone can avail of the buggies that nip up and down among the lush gardens and extensive pool complex. A children’s water park and “funventure” camp make it particularly family-oriented – though there’s archery for the grown-ups along with a huge spa. Like most resorts here, accommodation is discreetly luxurious with a decor embracing subtle ethno-chic accents. Among its four restaurants, Chuyi Wutai features six live theatre kitchens.
With a curved profile, end-to-end balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows, the Soluxe almost resembles a cruise liner – but one fronted by lush, palm-filled gardens. There’s a faintly 1970s feel to the public areas, while the rooms and suites are essentially practical and comfortable – most have terrific sea views. Apart from a ubiquitous Chinese restaurant, there’s also a Russian alternative plus regular poolside BBQ, complete with a Filipino band. As for the “fish doctor” here, it’s simply a fish pedicure with nibble fish.
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It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.