Shangri-La's Sanya Resort & Spa, Hainan

Sanya's beach playground

Shangri-La’s Sanya Resort & Spa, Hainan sits quietly overlooking a tropical beach backed by the green mountains and hills of Haitang Bay.

The tranquil setting belies the flurry of activity happening throughout the grounds. Sprawling across 45 lush acres, the resort offers swimming pools, a waterpark, zip lining, an outdoor cinema, scenic gardens, a gym with a yoga lawn and much more.

When you’ve had your fill of fun, retreat to the 496 peaceful, refined accommodations. If you want to up the luxury ante, choose from the eight two-story villas, each equipped with a private pool, a Jacuzzi and butler service. But be sure to visit the pièce de résistance: Shangri-La’s signature Chi, The Spa, a 15-room respite surrounded by verdant greenery.

Shangri-La’s Sanya Resort is situated on Hainan Island, but it feels like it lies somewhere between the island paradises of Southeast Asia and the Pacific. White sandy beaches, crystal-clear seas, blue skies and coconut palms — it may seem cliché, but Shangri-La is a very real place.

Our Inspector's Highlights

  • A tropical island resort, the Shangri-La Sanya is a destination in itself, popular with couples and multigenerational families. With more than 86,000 square feet of recreational facilities and a 3,200-square-foot stretch of sand, this luxurious lodging is a playground for all.
  • Activities abound: Take excursions to local attractions such as the new Atlantis Marine and Waterpark or the nearby duty-free shopping center, or stay at the resort to jet-ski, try archery lessons, relax by the pools or sightsee on a helicopter tour.
  • Indulge in pampering at Chi, The Spa, the resort’s wellness and therapy haven. Opt for a muscle-melting massage or simply lounge in the relaxation room or serene garden.
  • Shangri-La is active in its social responsibility. It promotes awareness among guests of the endangered Hainan gibbon (a type of ape) and hands out cuddly orange gibbon toys. The Sanya hotel also has a composting program, paperless check-in and checkout and toiletries with biodegradable packaging.
  • Let chef Jordon Gao treat you to traditional Chinese cuisine; mix it up with Southeast Asian dishes from Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand (try the Singaporean crab); or feast on Hawaiian favorites like loco moco at the resort’s three restaurants. For the ultimate dinner show, head to Sea and watch as a projected 3-D chef climbs onto your plate and prepares your meal in an interactive dining experience unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

Things to Know

  • If you plan to visit during February, book well in advance to avoid the Chinese New Year rush — almost everyone in China takes vacation during this time.
  • The facilities provided for children are extensive, though the property provides ample space and separate secluded areas to help maintain the overall ambiance of a sophisticated luxury resort.
  • Other than the beautiful beach, there is not much within walking distance of the resort, though the property’s three restaurants, massive sports facilities, wellness retreats and adventurous excursions will keep you well entertained during your stay.
  • Even though Sanya enjoys perfect weather almost all year round, you’ll want to skip a trip during September and October to avoid the rainy season.
  • As stunning as the waters are, it’s illegal to swim in the sea due to rough and unpredictable conditions. Though with an array of sparkling pools to choose from, you’ll still be spoiled for choice when it comes to taking an afternoon dip.

The Rooms

  • Neutral-toned walls finished off with rich wood paneling give the rooms an air of elegance. The subtle hint of Shangri-La’s signature white tea fragrance only adds to the experience.
  • The setting is the magic of this Sanya resort. All accommodations have a private balcony with views of the ocean or the surrounding natural landscape.
  • Stay in a suite for extra perks, such as round-trip transportation to the airport, welcome champagne and amenities, daily breakfast for a family of four and access to Adventure Zone (a multistory indoor playground for ages 5 and up) and the exclusive Horizon Club Lounge.
  • The ecru bathrooms are well laid out, offering a rain shower in all accommodations and separate tubs in Premier rooms and suites. And don’t worry if you forgot to pack your toothbrush — a variety of boxed amenities, from shaving razors to shower caps, is stocked in your bathroom upon arrival.

For the Kids

  • At Loo Hoo Club (5 to 12) and Mini Loo Hoo (under 5), parents can drop kids off for a day of handicrafts; learning about plants, gardening and endangered species; cooking; and more.
  • The arcade-like Fun Zone is the ultimate hangout for teens with foosball, pool tables, electronic darts, Formula 1 simulators and video games.
  • For your budding action hero, training begins at Adventure Zone, an indoor play area with attractions such as drop slides, rope climbing challenges and more.
  • In addition to two swimming pools and an onsite waterpark, the luxury hotel provides fun in the sun down by the beach with kite-flying, sand-castle-building, volleyball and remote control car racing.

24-hour room service
Babysitting services
Fitness classes
House car
Meeting rooms
Outdoor pool
Getting There
No. 88, North Hai Tang Road, Sanya, Hainan, 572000 China
SYX (50 min)  
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