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Some of us just like to spend our holiday lying on a beach sipping fruit cocktails. For those after a tropical escape, Hainan Island is for you. There are luxury hotels aplenty – just take your pick…

Every year over 1.1 million tourist visit Hainan Island, often referred to as the Hawaii of China. Sitting just to the right of Guangdong’s coast, Hainan may be the smallest and most southern province of China, but it is also the grandest. Thanks to its yellow sand beaches and tropical weather, it has become a hot spot for tourists looking to revel in some downtime. International hotel chains have recognised Hainan’s potential and taken full advantage of its secluded location, building jaw-dropping luxury hotels. 

“Thankfully, upon waking each morning it won’t be skyscrapers you see – rather, it’s that holiday-perfect, beachy Hainan”

The Park Hyatt shows you don’t need bells and whistles to make an impact. Despite the fact it’s a large, ultra-modern resort – very large, in fact, as it sprawls across a 350,000-square-metre private inlet, complete with internal lake – it somehow seems organic amid its landscape. Perhaps it’s the natural woods throughout, or the way the green hills wrap around the buildings, or the pools dotted around the property. On the inside, dramatic lighting, bold reds and smooth lines are strikingly contemporary. But when it comes to relaxing outside, the pursuits are reassuringly old-school.
The InterContinental Sanya Resort has all the dramatic interiors of a classy downtown pad: monochrome tones, clean lines, and chic communal spaces that are just as suited for gossiping over cocktails with friends as they are to zen-ified tropical relaxation. Lines blur between indoor and outdoor spaces, while bedrooms come with all the contemporary cool you’d expect to see in a city apartment. But, thankfully, no matter how much urban comfort is injected, upon waking each morning it won’t be a patchwork of skyscrapers you see – rather, it’s that holiday-perfect, beachy Hainan view.
Curving gently along a quiet, creamy crescent of beach, ridged by emeraldswathed mountains, Mandarin Oriental has everything you want in a beach resort. It’s stylish, but not over-fussed; a laid-back vibe pervades, from the hammocks slung between palm trees (just the place for a lazy afternoon nap) to the casual beachy eateries (just the place for a lazy afternoon chat). As you’d expect with Mandarin Oriental, service is top-notch but never invasive, so you can eat dinner to the crash of waves or sip cocktails by the pool without ever feeling smothered. Dining options go above and beyond too, with a dedicated tea house, Phoenix, boasting over 100 tea options. Though, some may prefer a visit to bar Mo Blues where the 100 tea varieties are swapped for the same number of malt whiskies and wines.
If you’re someone who sees a private plunge pool as a necessity, not a luxury, this is the Hainan hotel for you. At the Conrad, you don’t need to plump for top-tier rooms to get your own splash zone; you can bag one even with the otherwise-standard twin or king categories. With views over palms and out to the surf, it’s little wonder many guests don’t ever feel like budging from their creamy-hued rooms. And yet, with so much to soak up in this glam hotel, staying still is unthinkable. At the very least you must see the island’s sights the Conrad way via a privately hired Bentley, play games in the arcade, or paddle around the spectacular Chinese Zodiac Pool. Top off your day with a sumptuous meal at opulent La Chine restaurant, where local dishes are raised to drool-worthy standards.
There’s nothing the Ritz-Carlton doesn’t do well. It has the largest spa on the island, decked out with smellies from top-end brand ESPA; a water-sports centre; luxury shops including Prada and Salvatore Ferragamo; and jaw-dropping Lagoon rooms where you can slip straight from waking up in the morning into refreshing, silky pool waters. Yalong Bay, where its luxurious Chinese-castle-style grounds are located, is often whispered to be the best beach in Hainan – nay, in China – and the hotel is tucked into one of its most exclusive, secluded sections. Golf courses are just around the corner, and there are seven on-site dining options, including a beachfront one where you can dip your toes in the sand while feasting on barbecued fish; a swim-up pool bar; and an Italian restaurant with a wine cellar that blows most of its tropical peers out of the water. What more could you want?


1. Banyan Tree Sanya Resort Spa
Perfect if you like indulging in spa treatments

2. Shangri-La Sanya Resort and Spa
You’ll find family fun for everyone here

3. The Royal Begonia
Pefrect for cooling off – some sun beds can only be accessed by swimming

4. The St. Regis Sanya Yalong Bay Resort
With the yacht club next door, it’s the perfect spot if you like to sail