I went for a short holiday with my wife and kid (14 year-old boy) to Sanya at the end of June, just before the summer vacation started. We bought an airfare-plus-hotel package from Dragonair for something like HK$3,200 each, which was reasonable given the St Regis name and the fact that it was just opened at the end of 2011.
The hotel is located at one end of the Yalong Bay and occupies a very large site with its own beach as well as a yachts club. The whole complex consists of a large eight-storey building with may be 300-400 rooms and two separate sections of 30-40 pool villas on either side of the main building. The architecture is okay but a bit strange. The rooftop of the main building looks like that of the Beijing airport passenger terminal. There are a large number of huge columns around the building supporting the rooftop. There are painted in bright yellow colour and probably try to convey a Chinese look. They are not really my cup of tea. Interior decoration and furniture is nice and elegant, but nothing really exciting.
We arrived after 9pm but registration was reasonably efficient. A bellboy led us to our room, and a butler was already waiting for us outside our room when we arrived. He showed us how some of the things worked in our room, which was nice but actually quite unnecessary. In fact, throughout our two-night stay we did not need his service at all.
Our room was quite big, probably something like 50 square metres in size, and had two double beds as well as a roller-bed for our kid. As the double bed was big enough for my wife and I, we decided that the roller-bed was unnecessary and asked the reception desk to get it removed. It took two additional conversations between me and the reception desk and more than half an hour to get this done. By then it was almost 11pm. Otherwise, we had no complain with our room.
Breakfast at the coffee shop was okay – although there were many selections they were mostly Chinese while Western choices were a bit limited, in our view. This probably had to do with the fact that most guests were Chinese rather than foreigners. The following night, we had dinner at the Driftwood Seafood Restaurant by the beach. We opted for the seafood set dinner for two – four oysters (if I remember correctly), two tiger prawns, a lobster, some squid and fish – at a cost of some 900 yuan or US$140. Add in my glass of white wine, juices for my wife and kid, plus a 15% service charge, the bill came to 1,400 yuan or US$220. Frankly, it was not worth the money because the quality of the ingredients was not that good.
We had an early dinner that night because we had made an appointment for a spa treatment at 9:30. The spa centre was located at a separate building near the main building and facing the yacht club. The building was quite big, with very high ceiling, and spaciously laid out. The reception area was wide open, and the corridors were very wide and could easily allow a tank to drive through. There was also an internal courtyard planted with a few trees. Strangely, the treatment rooms were not that big. My wife and I had a couples package and we shared a treatment room that came with an en-suite bathroom. As soon as we walked into our room, we were in a long and narrow section with two chairs and a cupboard. This was where we had our footbath – we were seated and our two masseuses had just enough room to kneel before us, each with a wooden washing basin. I stared at the white wall that had absolutely no decoration whatsoever right in front of me, and felt very claustrophobic. The massage room itself was not much better – there was enough room for two massage tables and space for the girls to move around doing their job, but not much surplus space. I just couldn’t understand why the treatment rooms were so small and the public areas so spacious.
The staff was generally friendly and many would proactively greet us and smile at us. This was quite different from our previous experience in Sanya about five or six years ago when we stayed at other hotels like the Sheraton, Hilton and Marriott. At that time most local staff would try to look away when we ran into them in an open area such as the garden or the corridor. I was particularly impressed with a swimming pool staff named William. I went swimming early the first morning, before the pools were officially open. I wanted to call my room and tell my wife my whereabouts, only to find that there was no phone around the pool because it was too early. William was getting the pool ready and he realised that I was looking for something. He asked what I needed, and then pulled out his own mobile phone to call the hotel’s general line to get a connection to my room. That was very nice of him indeed.
All in all, it was a decent hotel with very nice room (at least for us) but strange architecture. Nice staff, especially William. However, I had higher hope for a St Regis (this being the first time I ever stayed at a St Regis property though I had had lunch at the New York St Regis years ago).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The St. Regis Sanya Yalong Bay Resort is ideally situated on a generous stretch of the most coveted location on Yalong Bay, with exclusive access to more than 800 meters of pristine coastline. A resort unlike any other on Hainan, the St. Regis Sanya Yalong Bay Resort offers wide appeal across a variety of audiences – from business executives to couples seeking romance to families seeking a fun and relaxing vacation. The resort is exquisitely designed with luxury in mind, offering 396 contemporary guest rooms including 28 beachside villas. The St. Regis Sanya Yalong Bay Resort offers a world of epicurean experiences, with three full-service restaurants, a wine bar, and a tea room. In addition, the St. Regis Sanya Yalong Bay will be the only resort in Sanya that offers the signature St. Regis butler service to all guests, as well as South China’s first Iridium Spa. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The St. Regis Sanya Yalong Bay Hotel Sanya