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April 8, 2017 / oneworld82

A gorgeous piece of Hainan: Yalong Bay

We stayed at the Conrad for four nights to take advantage of Citi Prestige’s 4th night free deal, which saved us around $400. Since we stayed in Hainan five nights, we decided to spend the last night in Yalong Bay to check this increasingly famous spot out.

I was struggling between the Mandarin Oriental and the Ritz-Carlton in terms of hotel choice, and in the end I opted for the Ritz (Club level room) to take advantage of the more central location.

The taxi ride from the Conrad took around 25 minutes. Approaching Yalong Bay you realize right away you have reached a more developed resort area. Even though some parts in the outskirt of the bay are still being built up, the coastal strip is well-established with lots of international resorts, shopping, and restaurants – no feeling of unfinished business here as you get in Haitang Bay.

We had of course high expectations for the Ritz-Carlton, and let me say that the hotel met our expectations in almost all respects – and exceeded them in some. The lobby is open, expansive, with a nice, big Christmas tree. The staff was very helpful and accommodating. When we got there our room was not ready yet, but we were offered escorted to the spa were we could change into our swimming suits before going to the beach.

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Contrarily to the Conrad, here the beach was well attended and all the chairs were well-kept and fresh towels and water were readily available. While in Haitang Bay, the weather was usually sunny in the morning but then cloudy from 11am on (and windy by the beach). While in Yalong Bay, instead, the weather was perfectly sunny – 81F and no wind. Perhaps that made all the difference, but Yalong Bay (and related beach) were spectacular! The half moon-shaped bay is well protected by hills and islets, which make for a dramatic backdrop against the sparkling blue South China Sea. The water was relatively warm, the beach had fine white sand. I am not exaggerating when I say that this was rather incredible.

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The infinity pool at the hotel was big and scenic (overlooking the beach). We didn’t spend time there though, as we preferred the beach.

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Around noon we went to the Club lounge to have some lunch. The staff – mostly from Nepal – was very attentive and service was great overall. While the lounge was not big (and did not have many lounging areas, mostly dining tables), it had nice tables outside overlooking the resort and the beach – simply stunning. The lunch offerings were good, mostly Chinese hot dishes plus salad and cheese and the usual made-to-order noodles. A full bar was offered as well – very nice for a mid-day offering.

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View from lounge's balcony

View from lounge’s balcony

After lunch, our room was finally ready, and we went straight there. Our baggage was already there. The room was large, with the same stunning view we had from the lounge (just a floor lower). As expected from a Ritz-Carlton, everything was impeccably appointed – from the plush bed, to the walk-in closet, to the nice bathroom that featured a spectacular bathtub.

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We spent a couple more hours by the beach, before hitting the gym, located within the spa. The gym had a dedicated attendant, and was really well-equipped with both cardio and strength machines. While I was working out, Thuy got a treatment at the spa – she said she really enjoyed it and got great service.

While Thuy was getting pampered, I went to the lounge, where happy hour was in full swing. To be fair, the food offerings were decent in number but not too imaginative. The selection of alcoholic beverages was the same as during lunch. I took a table waiting for Thuy, and not long after the same Nepalese waiter that served us dinner came by offering me a drink – I asked for a gin and tonic. He then brought my drink and stopped by to chat for a few minutes – he seemed genuinely happy to be in Sanya and seemed like he found a better life there.

Club lounge

Club lounge

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The lounge did not get full, and after Thuy showed up we had some finger food before heading to dinner. Thuy was not particularly hungry, so we decided to stay in (given that we needed to wake up early the morning after) and to try the in-house Chinese restaurant. Although we went there around only 8.30p, there were only two other tables taken, which seemed a bit odd. The menu was varied, but I decided to try Jiaji duck, a specialty of Hainan. Unfortunately, the dish did not taste as good as other food I tried before – a pity. What did taste good, though, was the Erguotou I had with it. This is a clear spirit (literally: twice distilled) made from Sorghum, very powerful (and cheap) at 110 proof. It actually tastes good, with a nice aftertaste (a burning one!).

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We went to sleep rather early – Thuy was not feeling too well – and we got some good hours of restorative sleep in the very comfortable bed, before waking up around 5:45 to get ready to go to the beach to take some sunrise photos. Yalong Bay at this time of the day looked simply stunning.

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After enjoying the beach for a hour or so, we went to have breakfast at the main buffet restaurant. This was going to be the best breakfast of the trip, as the quantity, variety, presentation, and quality of food and beverages offered was fantastic.

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Everything offered seemed appetizing – from the freshly-made pastries to the meat to the noodles. We ate a lot, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Shortly after, we went back to our room, finished packing, called a bellman to help with suitcases, and checked out to head to the airport.


We thoroughly enjoyed our all-too-short stay at the Ritz-Carlton Sanya, a great hotel that I would definitely consider as my choice #1 if I were to visit Sanya again.

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