Seeing Stars at Sanya's Hotels
Sanya has more than a hundred hotels, and together they have more stars than an Elvis impersonator's jump suit. Here is a short introduction to some of those hotels.
(We have to say that this page is a work in progress, mainly because we're not the type of people that get to stay in beautiful hotels very often. However, we have visited most of the main hotels in Sanya over the last few months, and here are some of the ones we like the look of.)
For longing looks and romantic trysts, cupid's arrow falls on two of Sanya's newest and most exclusive villa resorts - the Banyan Tree and the Mandarin Oriental.
Luxury and seclusion are the watchwords with these two. The villas and some rooms come with their own plunge pools, and the hotels themselves are each tucked away on genuinely private beaches for which there is little or no public access.
These two stunning resorts are certainly not at the cheap end of the Sanya scale, but for discerning travellers and lovestruck Malvolios the extra expense should be a mere trifle.
Bring the Kids (and Granny Too)
There are plenty of hotels to choose from in this section. Almost all of the resorts on Yalong Bay are heavily geared towards families, with children's pools and playrooms, and sometimes also with children's activities organised throughout the day.
Of the main Yalong Bay hotels - the Ritz Carlton, the Hilton, the Marriott, the Sheraton - the Ritz Carlton is thought to be the top of the range. The Resort Horizon, a Chinese brand hotel also on the same Yalong Bay strip scores highly with reviewers on Trip Advisor.
Another hotel that looks to us like a good family hotel is the Kempinski, a five-star resort at the far western end of Sanya Bay.
The Real China
If you don't like your pills sugared - if you're here because you want to see China at its rich, vibrant, beautiful, annoying, trash-tacky best - then Dadonghai is the place for you.
There's more about Dadonghai on this page here. Probably the best hotel to enjoy the experience from is the Resort Intime, which is a respectable five-star hotel right on the beach. Alternatively, try the three-star Landscape Beach Hotel, which is probably the best appointed of the other Dadonghai beachfront hotels.
Can't Believe it's China
Waves lap gently against a pristine beach that stretches for kilometres without a soul in sight. It's not Australia. You'll have to pinch yourself because it really is China. But where did all the people go?
The brand new, luxurious Le Meridien Shimei Bay is only an hour's drive up the east coast from Sanya but it feels like another country. If you just want to get completely away from it all for a while, this is the place for you.
Quality that Doesn't Cost
If what you need is a good quality, modern hotel that won't burn a hole in your wallet, you could do a lot worse than the Holiday Inn Sanya Bay or its immediate neighbour, the brand new Grand Soluxe Hotel.
These hotels are cheaper for a reason - they are separated from the beach by the main beach road, and the beach itself at this part of Sanya Bay is considerably less idyllic than at Yalong Bay. But if you are happy with the usual contingent of swimming pools, spas, bars and restaurants, either of these hotels will do for you.
Wherever I Lay My Backpack
At the high end of the backpacker scale, Dadonghai's Sunny Sanya Family Inn is a clear stand-out. It's a family run Bed & Breakfast with clean and well-decorated rooms, en-suite bathrooms plus TV and internet access.
A car park separates the hostel from Dadonghai Beach, and although this fills up with tour buses during the day, they generally leave by early evening. The hostel has an agreement with the neighbouring residential development, allowing hostel customers to use the development's pool at a price of 5 yuan per time.
A more basic alternative is the Blue Sky Hostel, also in Dadonghai. We don't have a URL for the Blue Sky, but their email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.