My wife and 3-year old stayed here for four nights. Whether or not you'll be happy here really depends on what you are looking for:
The hotel is really beautiful. The facilities and grounds are well-maintained. The pool is excellents. It has beautiful architecture, great gardens and places inside and outside for kids. The staff is impeccable, they are polite, friendly and effective (not always easy to find those three together), and will bend over backwards to please guests. On all these points the hotel deserves high marks.
The food situation was a huge issue for us. It's designed to corral you into the all-you-can-eat buffet every night. In principle, buffets are never good anywhere, and they typically are ways to make you think you're getting so much value, when actually everything is cheap and sits out for several hours. I don't see how anyone can consider the buffet here good, whether you are Chinese or Westerner. A lot of greasy meat and fish, cold shell fish, few vegetables and fruit. And the price: 250 CNY per person, that is over $40 USD a head. Ridiculous. We ate it once, I would have been sick if I'd had to eat it every night. You have the choice to order à la carte, it's still not cheap, the choice is limited to some strange meat dishes, everything tastes the same, and there's almost no staff to take care of you because they are all focused on the buffet clientele. We waited 30 to 60 minutes when we ordered. We were once told it's because room service orders take precedence over ours. But even ordering a bottled beer you wait 15 minutes for it to come because they are not geared for à la carte ordering.
Your other options are to go to Baihuagu 白花谷, a food court about 1km away. Here you get all the main suspect Chinese food chains that you normally avoid in Shanghai, only the prices are double what you pay in Shanghai (no exaggeration at all). You can also go to the other resorts nearby, and judging from the reviews here, not much better prices or quality. Or, you get a taxi (50 CNY, 30 minutes each way) to Dadonghai where you can get whatever you want for a reasonable price. We gorged on great Russian food there made by a Russian granny back in the kitchen, for 150 CNY per person with cocktails.
What's clear is that in Yalong Bay they do not allow any quality food options at reasonable prices anywhere. I'm sure it's not coincidence, you will not find under $30 USD per person for lunch or dinner anywhere around Yalong Bay. And don't expect big portions, memorable food or fast service (unless you don't mind getting up and getting it yourself despite the price).
This hotel offers a regular shuttle to the beach. We never waited and found it very convenient. The beach is beautiful, but you get a cordioned off zone about 50m wide and 30m deep with lifeguards that blow their whistles any time you go into waist-deep water. Don't think about venturing into other hotels' beach zones, we got chased away by the Pullman staff.
If you are looking for sports and outdoor stuff, don't be fooled by what the tourist literature says about Yalong Bay. It's designed for tourists to get a 10 minute thrill (on a banana boat, for example) with photographic proof to show off to their office mates back in Beijing. We tried scuba diving (at the Aegean Conifer Resort) and wind surfing (at the Ritz Carlton), but in both cases got broken equipment (and this is the "elite" beach). I cancelled my dive after finding serious faults with all the equipment offered, including a non-functioning regulator that they were actually trying to pawn off on me. The Ritz Carlton first offered my wife wind surf equipment with a broken sail, followed by one with a broken mast that hurt her foot. I noticed motorboats, jet skis and "banana boats" zig zag in and out of zones where divers are down. Serious divers, hikers, cyclists, windsurfers or surfers will not have many choices, if any, in Yalong Bay. Definitely go somewhere else.
And certainly don't come to Yalong Bay for the nightlife. They have "bars" around pools and on the beach, these are staffed by bored teenage-looking guys from northern provinces. These are for show mostly, no one is there and they chase you away by 9 or 10 pm.
Chinese love Sanya because it's the only government designated "beach resort" they have. If it's the only beach you've ever been to, and the only one in your country, then of course you'd think it's wonderful. They can go there visa free and use Chinese currency. Chinese will tell you it's the Honolulu of China, but most of those who rave about Sanya have never been to Honolulu let alone the beaches of SE Asia. Sanya is beautiful and the beach is nice, but doesn't hold a candle to other beaches in the region.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located next to Yalong Bay International PGA Golf Course and offering beautiful scenery, Grand Metropark Resort Sanya is spread out over 100,000 square meters and surrounded by gloriously manicured gardens. The typically Southeast Asian styled gardens perfectly combine natural scenery with spectacular architecture. The international golf-view resort has 108 villas and 110 rooms equipped with 5-star class modern facilities, providing the epitome of comfort and luxury. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Metropark Hotel Sanya