Shinin’ in Hainan: The Sanya Edition on Hainan Island, China
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To The Point
The Sanya Edition is a beautiful, sprawling resort on China’s Hainan Island. Pros: Gorgeous public spaces, large rooms and top-notch food and beverage options. Cons: The resort isn’t near much of anything.
Once it was decided that I’d be heading to China for my first long-haul adventure of my summer, the team and I decided to send me somewhere unique — many had been to Beijing and Shanghai plenty of times, so it was time for a change of pace.
TPG‘s reviews editor, Nick Ellis, said that he’d been wanting to visit Sanya — also known as the “Hawaii of China” — for quite a while, thanks to the lush beaches, and, of course, the high-end hotels at motel prices. Well, not quite motel, but you get the idea. So, Sanya it was. But where would I stay? With so many five-star properties to choose from, it was no easy task to narrow it down to just two properties.
Ultimately, though, we settled on the relatively new Edition and the Park Hyatt. In this review, I’ll be talking about my stay at the chic Marriott brand’s first property in China, which opened in December of 2016 (the other opened more recently and is in Shanghai).
We booked this two-night reservation at The Sanya Edition through Hotels.com, and the total price came out to $450.52 for both nights.
When booking through Hotels.com, you can maximize your purchase by using your Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, which earns 10x miles per dollar spent on the when booked and paid via Hotels.com/Venture. You’ll still be eligible to earn lucrative Hotels.com Rewards, which can score you a free night for every 10 nights purchased on the website.
The Sanya Edition is a Category 5 property in the Bonvoy award chart, and award nights are typically very available. This property is eligible for free-night certificates that come with even the entry-level cobranded Marriott Bonvoy credit cards (like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card). And, judging by my stay at this resort, it would be a great use of those certificates, or 35,000 points.
The Sanya Edition is on the eastern shore of Hainan Island, overlooking the spectacular Haitang Bay.
This particular area of the island has no shortage of luxury hotels. In a sense it resembles the hotel zone lining Cancun’s shoreline. Neighboring properties include the Shangri-La, the Conrad and the InterContinental.
The area doesn’t offer much for tourists within walking distance of the hotels. While Sanya has incredible natural attractions and landscapes to explore, they’re elsewhere on the island. It’s a safe bet that when you’re in the hotel zone, the main attraction is … your hotel (for reasons that will soon become obvious). The Edition really is a world of its own, with everything you need right on the property.
The primary pickup and drop-off area led us straight into a majestic, open-air lobby with 50-foot high ceilings and bamboo panels throughout.
A beautiful reflecting pool faced out to the beach, inviting a steady ocean breeze to pass through the lobby.
Because we had booked through Hotels.com, I wasn’t eligible to receive Marriott points or elite-qualifying nights for my stay. I had read that even in these cases, though, some hotels will allow you to add your Bonvoy number to your reservation and recognize any applicable elite perks such as late checkout or complimentary room upgrades. During check-in, the front desk agent asked me for my Marriott number, and after noticing I was a Gold member, offered to check if any upgrades were available.
I had originally booked an ocean-view king, and the next available upgrade was to the Loft Studio King, which was slightly larger and included an enhanced balcony. As a Gold member, this was the only time I had ever been upgraded, so I was absolutely thrilled. Once I had my room keys, the agent escorted me through the hotel’s beautiful corridors and up to my room, 305.
The third-floor room was bright and quite spacious, with minimalist, soft white, beige and wooden finishings.
The king bed had a circular curtain behind it that separated it from the bathroom behind. A convenient light illuminated the floor area around the bed for easier navigation at night. The two nightstands on either side were equipped with power outlets and a control pad for the room’s lighting fixtures.
The corner of the room had a simple, white couch paired with a small coffee table.
A long wooden desk was built into the paneled wall. The TV was mounted above the desk but had an extension swivel for easier viewing from the bed.
The closet was pretty standard. It included a safe, a steamer, two bathrobes and an umbrella.
The hotel also provided a couple pairs of slippers and beach sandals.
The small countertop next to the closet had a teapot along with teabags and instant coffee.
While the minibar had a standard variety of snacks, sodas and alcoholic beverages.
The bathroom was simply incredible. I loved the continued minimalist theme, with an elegant mirror lighting fixture and massive stone bathtub.
The countertop had two sinks, soap, lotion and a small amenity box containing shaving and dental kits.
The bath amenities were from Le Labo, specifically crafted for the Edition hotels. The scent was absolutely luxurious and consistent — everything from the lobby to the lotion and bath salts carried the signature perfume.
The balcony was hands-down my favorite feature of the room. It was furnished with a comfortable sofa lounge and a tub.
The incredible views perfectly paired with a relaxing hot bath.
Food and Beverage
This Edition location boasted a collection of five unique restaurants around the property, varying by cuisine and elegance. You could find something for just about every taste, from a glitzy cocktail bar to a casual poolside grill.
One of the busiest venues was the Market, which offered a semicasual dining scene and hosted an incredible breakfast buffet every morning.
It had an outdoor terrace that was quite pleasant in the mornings before it got too hot.
The food was top-notch, serving traditional Chinese staples cooked in an open kitchen.
The dim sum station had a solid variety of buns and xiaolongbao dumplings.
My personal favorite was the noodle soup station, which offered a complete customization from greens to noodles to protein.
Barbacoa was the hotel’s poolside Indonesian grill.
It had a nice seating area, but the majority of the clientele was poolside. The restaurant’s staff made consistent passes through the pool deck, taking orders and delivering food and drinks directly to your lounge chair.
I tried the seasoned fish skewers and a passion fruit cocktail, both of which were superb.
For a more upscale culinary experience, Xian Hai offered traditional Chinese cuisine right along the hotel’s private lagoon.
The one meal I had from room service was the classic dish Hainanese chicken rice, which was flavorful and perfectly tender. The service was both speedy and efficient.
The hotel’s gym was on the ground floor next to the lobby. It wasn’t too extensive but contained the basics for a few workouts over vacation.
The adjacent shower rooms offered complimentary bottled water and cold towels.
The Edition brand is known to always knock it out of the park when it comes to public spaces, and this property was no exception. They were arguably the hotel’s best features.
Even things as simple as the corridors connecting different parts of the building were stunning.
The grounds were full of relaxing hideaways that made for perfect spots to unwind and take in the beautiful surrounding landscape.
The hotel was shaped like a horseshoe — which gave all 532 guest-rooms a direct ocean view — filling the central space with lush grounds and incredible pool areas.
The Standard Pool was adults-only and offered a relaxing oasis just steps away from the beach.
Meanwhile, the Private Ocean was a massive saltwater swimming lagoon that spanned the length of the property.
The lagoon was flanked with boardwalks and scenic lounging areas.
For those traveling with younger ones, there was a dedicated family pool with fountains and waterslides.
Many of the pool areas had private cabanas. They could be reserved in advance, but on the days of my stay, they weren’t particularly busy.
For those looking to explore Hainan’s beautiful coastline, the hotel’s tropical grounds led right up to the beach, which was pristine and virtually empty.
Perhaps the most exclusive views at the hotel were from the rooftop pool, which was by a teak deck next to the Sky Bar restaurant.
My first Edition experience was definitely a memorable one. The hotel’s minimalistic yet elegant guest rooms and majestic architecture were absolutely captivating. As a beachfront resort, the Sanya Edition does an excellent job of integrating the lush tropical landscape into its magical hotel grounds.
With rates as low as $150 and solid redemption availability, finding a better-value five-star experience would be difficult. I hope I get the opportunity to spend a few days at this unique oasis again in the near future.
All photos by the author.
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