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Temple of Serenity: A Review of the Park Hyatt Sanya on Hainan Island, China

June 30, 2019
8 min read
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One of the goals of my visit to Sanya on Hainan Island in China was to check out a small sample of the numerous high-end resorts from the major hotel chains. We settled on the Sanya Edition and the Park Hyatt, which are two of the most appealing options for visitors to the "Hawaii of China." Here's what my experience at the Park Hyatt was like.

Booking

We booked my two-night reservation at the Park Hyatt Sanya through Hotels.com, as using World of Hyatt points wasn't a good value when I stayed, the rate was cheaper than booking direct through Hyatt and I am not pursuing any status with the chain. The total price came out to $366.46 for both nights.

When booking directly through Hotels.com, you should always maximize your purchase with the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, which earns 10x miles per dollar when booked and paid via Hotels.com/Venture. Booking through through the Capital One portal also allows you to collect the generous Hotels.com Rewards, which allow you to cash in a free night after 10 nights booked with the website.

As a Category 6 on Hyatt's award chart, the hotel also offers redemption rates starting at 25,000 points per night (worth $425).

Unless the cash rates are particularly high, though, using points to book your stay will rarely present a solid redemption value, since the paid nights consistently hover around $200 per night.

Location

The Park Hyatt Sanya is situated on beautiful Yalong Bay at the southeast corner of the island. It's accessible via a winding road that hugs the rugged coastline and descends into the resort's private cove. It sits about 45 minutes from Sanya Phoenix International Airport (SYX). The average cab fare runs about $20.

In general, I found this location to be much more serene than Haitang Bay, where the Edition is located. This idyllic bay felt completely isolated from the rest of an otherwise bustling island.

The modern hotel was designed by Belgian architect Jean-Michel Gathy, a bold contrast against its lush, mountainous surroundings.

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Check-in

The strikingly modern exterior seamlessly embraced a historical, imperial ambience that paid tribute to China's past from the moment I stepped onto the property.

The lobby had high ceilings and beautiful red and charcoal finishes throughout.

When I walked in, the lobby staff greeted me and took me over to the front desk for check-in. The process was quick and absolutely painless. Since we had booked the stay through Hotels.com, I wasn't eligible to receive any sort of points or elite-qualifying activity for my stay. While I have a World of Hyatt loyalty number, I didn't bother providing it, since I don't hold any status with the chain and wouldn't be receiving any elite benefits anyway.

After issuing my room keys, the front-desk agent handed me a map and went through each section in great detail. The hotel grounds are absolutely massive, with eight buildings covering a whopping 750,000 square feet. Most of the buildings were connected via bridges and open-air corridors, but it still seemed pretty easy to get lost.

As I made my way to my room, I couldn't help but admire the beautiful decor throughout the hotel. It felt rich in history and culture while maintaining a luxurious atmosphere that stayed true to the hotel's five-star identity.

Room

I had booked a standard king with an ocean view. The room had amazing panoramic windows that offered incredible views over Yalong Bay.

The bed had nightstands and power outlets on either side. A feature I especially liked was a pair of master control pads that allowed you to control all of the lighting fixtures from your bedside.

Back against the panoramic windows was a comfortable seating area with a coach, armchair and round table. There was also a standard desk equipped with a personal lamp and additional power outlets

The large flat-screen TV was mounted within decorative wooden paneling, fringed by gold accent lighting.

There was a small countertop at the entrance of the room that contained a coffee maker and tea kettle.

The minibar was in a fridge directly below, and contained the usual spread of soda, beer and spirits.

The fresh fruit basket was a nice touch. During the turndown service each evening, the staff replenished the basket with the daily fruit selection.

The bathroom had one long wooden countertop outfitted with two sinks and an amenity tray, including complimentary bottles of water that were replenished daily.

The bath amenities were supplied by New York-based Le Labo Fragrances. This special collection Bergamote 22 scent was uniquely crafted for Park Hyatt hotels.

Because the bathroom was open to the rest of the room, the toilet was closed off in a small room of its own. It was equipped with the kind of bidet found across many parts of Asia.

The most stunning bathroom fixture was definitely the black, stone bathtub right up against to the window -- a pretty luxurious way to unwind and enjoy the incredible views.

Food and Beverage

This Park Hyatt has a total of seven dining venues, including anything from a small juice bar to an all-out traditional Chinese kitchen.

The one I most frequently visited, the Dining Room, was the locale for the daily breakfast buffet. It was on the ground floor, adjacent to the primary pool deck.

For what it offered, I found the buffet to be a bit pricey -- slightly over $30 per day. The spread was pretty average compared to some of the other hotels I had stayed in at on this trip, yet nearly double the price. The food was delicious, though.

Another popular venue was the Tea House, which served Chinese comfort food during the day and traditional hot pot for dinner. Each restaurant had a distinct atmosphere to it, and not surprisingly, this one strongly resembled a traditional Chinese teahouse.

While you could just pop in for a cup of handcrafted tea, the seating area offered full service.

I was eager to try local Hainanese delicacies, so after conversations with the waitress, I ordered a few of her recommended dishes.

The meal began with a starter plate and a cold towel.

The egg fried rice with spicy pork and bok choy was fantastic.

I also tried the Hainan duck, the island's answer to the world-renowned Peking duck from the country's northern capital. While I wouldn't put it on par with the Beijing specialty, it was absolutely delicious.

They also had an outstanding beef noodle soup, Lin Family Recipe, which was accompanied by an assortment of garnishes and a steam pot of dim sum.

On an island known for its tropical fruit, I had to try the mango pudding, and it was nothing short of superb.

Amenities

The grounds of this hotel were seemingly endless -- everywhere I turned, I discovered a new secluded spot perfect for relaxing or reading a good book.

And with open-air corridors connecting the entire property, I was constantly surrounded by the sounds of nature, which carried a supreme sense of tranquility throughout the public spaces.

One of the best spots to relax was the hotel's 400-foot-long pool, with partially submerged lounge chairs and surrounded by beautiful, lush landscaping.

There was also a relatively small indoor pool house and Jacuzzi, which offered a nice escape from the midday heat.

A wooden boardwalk connected the pool decks to the crystal blue shores of Yalong Bay.

The beach was absolutely pristine. There were about a dozen pairs of lounge chairs under the shady palms that made for an ideal spot to relax by the gently crashing waves.

A small floating dock served as a departure point for excursions including snorkeling and sightseeing trips.

Overall Impression

The Park Hyatt Sanya was truly a unique experience. The isolated Yalong Bay location gave this hotel a unique natural setting that felt in a world of its own. While the isolation may come with somewhat persistent language barrier, the exquisite food and magical hotel grounds offer a pristine sanctuary that's hard to come by elsewhere. I would love the opportunity to stay here again.

All photos by the author.

Featured image by (Photo by Javier Rodriguez / The Points Guy)

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Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
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  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

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  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more