Sanya: Beach resorts are always an attraction for holiday-loving people. But if you get hot springs and duty-free shopping too in the package, the attraction becomes much larger. The Sanya beach resort in southeast China offers just that.
That Sanya is getting popular among holiday-makers is evident from the fact that top-of-the-line hotel chains, many of them international giants, have come up with lavish properties along the beaches that Sanya has to offer.
Some of the big hotel chains include Mandarin Oriental (Dadong Hai Bay), Westin (Haitang Bay), MGM Grand, Hilton, Ritz-Carlton, Kempinski, Marriot, Pullman, Holiday Inn (all in the Yalong Bay area) and others. There are a number of other hotels, resorts and spas run by leading hotel chains in China.
"The tourist inflow is not only from China's mainland now. We get a lot of foreign tourists from Australia, New Zealand, European countries, Russia and even India," Flada, an executive with the MGM Grand hotel in the Yalong Bay area said.
The sun-kissed beaches, tropical weather and the greenery of the Hainan countryside offer a lot to visitors in Sanya. Being located in the southeast part of China and just a 90 minute flight away from Hong Kong gives Sanya easy access.
The Sanya Phoenix International Airport may not look flashy enough to carry the tag but it caters to a number of flights, most of which originate from within China or nearby countries.
Sanya is also home to open hot spring resorts. There are a few of them located in the green countryside of the province. The Sanya Pearl River Nantian Hot Spring resort boasts of the largest open-air hot springs in China.
"It is a different feeling to be sitting in open air hot springs that open into personalised small pools. One can choose the type of hot spring that one wants to and also the temperature of water (20 to 50 degrees) as per convenience," Cheng Lei, a visitor to one of the hot springs, told IANS.
But Sanya is not all about beaches and hot springs alone.
One of the big attractions is the duty-free shopping that the place offers without going to an international airport.
The stunning China Duty Free (CDF) Mall is the world's largest duty free shopping centre, built at a cost of over five billion yuan ($800 million/Rs.51 billion), and is located in the Haitang Bay area next to the Westin hotel.
At 70,000 square metres spread over three floors, the CDF Mall integrates duty-free shopping, duty-paid shopping, restaurants, entertainment venues and cultural facilities.
Top of the line international brands have big outlets at the mall. The duty-free shopping done at the mall can be collected at the mall's counters inside Sanya airport's check-in.
The unique aesthetic design of the mall is inspired by the Haitang flower, the symbol of Sanya.
"Its atrium is formed by four unique curved surfaced steel structures, which enable natural light to filter into the mall and create a world-class shopping environment for the users. Its unique 3D free surfaced steel structure covers entrance arch-truss, link-bridges and other five individual skylights," the mall management notes.
The mall opened in September 2014 and shuttle buses are available to ferry visitors and shoppers from hotels and resorts and even residential areas.
A popular place for eating and shopping in the Yalong Bay area is the 'La Floret' shopping village. It's quite vibrant and has a number of eating joints which serve Chinese, Asian and international cuisines. Some eating joints even have open-air sitting with flashy lights and music bands making the evenings even livelier.
Sanya truly offers a lot as a tropical paradise and a shopping destination.
How to reach:
Sanya is a 90-minute flight from Hong Kong. It is connected to Beijing, Shanghai and other important cities across China through a number of flights.
Places to see:
Yalong Bay, Haitang Bay, Dadhong Bay (all beaches), CDF Mall in Haitang Bay, Buddha statute, La Floret shopping village, hot springs in the countryside.
What to eat:
Chinese food in abundance; there's also Asian and continental fare to be savoured.
Where to eat
La Floret shopping village, CDF Mall plus other markets (for roadside variety and cafes)
Where to stay:
Hotels, resorts, spas and other properties are lined up in all three popular bay areas and are located close to the beaches. From 3-star to 5-star properties - all are available and cater to all kinds of budgets.
CDF Mall, La Floret shopping village and local markets.