Sanya's grand, tropical retreat

451 Rooms / 17 Suites / 32 Villas

Anchoring the southern edge of China’s Hainan Island, The Ritz-Carlton Sanya, Yalong Bay makes quite the first impression.

The resort’s palatial expanse is immediately clear upon arrival, where open-air Thai-style pavilions house a relaxing lobby and luxury shops (such as Tod's and Ferragamo) extend on either side. Looking straight ahead and you’ll be greeted with unparalleled views of Yalong Bay, a secluded cove just a 40-minute drive from the airport.

With its white-sand beach, four swimming pools, seven restaurants and serene spa, The Ritz-Carlton Sanya, Yalong Bay gives credence to the island’s nickname — the “Hawaii of China.” Each of the 451 rooms offers an ocean view from spacious terraces, while a string of villas enjoy beachfront access.

Even if swimming isn’t at the top of your wish list, there’s still plenty to do. Wander the maze-like gardens, read a book by the pool, sip on cocktails at the alfresco Sand beach bar, reserve a relaxing massage or practice your putting at one of the nearby world-famous golf courses.

Our Highlights

• The Sanya hotel is an ideal home base for golf enthusiasts, with dozens of world-class courses just minutes away.

• The spa is enormous, with more than 30,000 square feet of breezy open-air corridors, lotus ponds and relaxation zones. The menu is all about aromatherapy treatments, most of which have been inspired by local fruits and resources — think bamboo rubdowns and heated shell massages.

• If you think sand in your toes is overrated, there are four swimming pools, including a beach-side infinity pool, a separate lagoon and a narrow creek pool across the grounds.

• Those traveling with kids should visit Uncle Martin’s Secret Garden, where the Peacock House is home to three colorful feathery friends.

• There’s an endless list of activities for sporty types, including tennis, volleyball and basketball courts.

Things to Know

• Hainan Island, where the luxury hotel is located, is just an hour’s flight from Hong Kong or Shanghai, making it an easy side trip should you need a bout of relaxation following a visit to these mega cities.

• Not every beach is created equally in Sanya, but The Ritz-Carlton’s stretch of sand is among the best. The water is clear and the waves are mild, making it a pleasant spot to take a dip or do a bit of paddle boarding.

• This hotel was designed with families in mind, and provides several convenient services. Send the kids off to the Ritz Kids Superhero camp, so you can hit the links or lounge on the beach.

The Rooms

• Starting at 646 square feet, the rooms are decked out with every amenity imaginable — think walk-in closets, multiple LCD TVs, and Bose iPhone docking stations.

• But the best details have nothing to do with high-tech electronics — you’ll love the balconies overlooking the hotel’s gardens, mangroves and, of course, the South China Sea.

• Lagoon Rooms are located on the ground floor with front-door access to the beautiful pool from a garden terrace.

• If you’re looking for more privacy, opt for one of 33 villas with individual plunge pools and tropical gardens.

The Restaurants

• You can’t go wrong with any of the restaurants at this luxury resort, though Sofia — with its romantic seafront pavilion, housemade pastas and terrace seating — is considered among the top Italian restaurants in Sanya.

• Pearl Chinese restaurant specializes in Cantonese and Hainanese cuisine, all prepared with artful presentation and generous sharing portions.

• Dessert enthusiasts will love Scoop, serving up handmade ice creams in a dozen classic and tropical flavors.

• Next door, Scene lounge is the best place to stop for a cool cocktail or afternoon tea and take in the sweeping sea views.

• If you’re craving more casual bites, stop into Sand, where barbecue fish, fresh cocktails and live music take center stage in the alfresco setting — lounge chairs and high-top bar tables comfortably situated in the sand.