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Luxury Chinese weddings at a fantastic Sanya resort

Luxury hotels and travel - Couple posing at Mandarin Oriental Sanya

A couple posing for photos outside the resort gates

Sanya, on Hainan Island, seems to be a magnet for happy couples. Chinese brides and grooms pose by Yalong Bay, an inlet of the South China Sea, as if providing a guard of honour as  a girl arrives at Mandarin Oriental Sanya.

Actually this 30-acre resort would be great for honeymoons, or repeat honeymoons or even relax-at-will. Take villa 13, one of the so-called Sky Villas.

You have 1,500 sq ft of total privacy, namely two floors, two bedrooms (OK, bring your manicurist or hair stylist or bodyguard or photographer or even your kids), one salon, one outdoor shower, one outdoor sala and one amazing 20 by 12 ft infinity pool that seems cantilevered over the ocean down below.

The fact that the exterior of your villa is concrete, with masses of glass, is overlooked because you have wood and fine linens inside, and that amazing outdoor ambience of lush greenery, your blue-tiled pool and the blue-blue sea and sky.

Luxury hotels and travel - Mary Gostelow and stone sculpture Mandarin Oriental Sanya

The resort is dotted with stone sculptures

Luxury hotels and travel - Mandarin Oriental Sanya - private pool of Villa 13

Looking across the private pool of Villa 13, Mandarin Oriental Sanya









The resort is dotted with stone sculptures. There are so many textures you could imagine, if you had nothing else to do, that you are in an architectural encyclopedia.

There are miles of walkways (and 47 electric buggies) on this lush estate, and these walkways, like some flanking walls, in all exhibit over 50 different types and patterns of stone-mosaic patterns.  And if you were so inclined, you could study the flora, fauna and trees of a landscape that has been brilliantly laid out by cult designer Bill Bensley.

Luxury hotels and travel - Local turbot at Mandarin Oriental Sanya

One local turbot, one dinner for one international girl

I think days would pass in a happy haze, here in this 297-room luxury resort.  There is a shuttle bus to Sanya town, about ten minutes away (but it seems like another world, one of modern commercialism).  On-site, the hotel’s main pools are multi-area, with lots of mammoth-sized floating play things.

The day’s programme includes resort tours and football, and educational lessons. Here is an inside luxury travel scoop: the resort’s fitness offers one of the largest Technogyms I have seen in a long time, plus tennis, table tennis and biking and TCM.

And then the spa, oh what a dream!  It is like a secret garden, with 18 villa-rooms half hidden, cunningly tucked in and around and seemingly under a mammoth old banyan tree.  Buy time, and youth, here.

Luxury hotels and travel - Masses of individual juices for the masses of discerning luxury travellers at Mandarin Oriental Sanya

Masses of individual juices for the masses of discerning luxury travellers

A two-hour session with a lovely Balinese starts with a green-tea foot scrub, might go on to a hearty back massage and continue with a regenerating facial, at the end of which you are definitely two-hours forward.

It was, indeed, almost time for dinner.  The choice is Chinese, international or seafood, on the beach, feet in sand, fresh as you can imagine.  Fresh, for that is its name, offers sharing platters, giant mountains of hot or cold seafood. I loved the whole local turbot-from-the-tank, wood-grilled and served in a fish-shaped dish.

Every romance also needs a good breakfast to start a new day and this is one of the best luxury buffets imaginable. Villa 13 guests can have exclusive meals in the club lounge, but for more choice head to the Pavilion.

Here, one table merely holds individual carafes of fresh juices, another displays fresh fruit slices, with a chef in attendance (one of his colleagues mans a table of hot, whole meat cuts, several more are cooking at the open kitchen, this is a busy place).

Luxury hotels and travel - Couple, photographers and assistants at Mandarin Oriental Sanya

Couples bring their own photographers, and assistants to pose the bridal veil

The cold cuts and dairy table includes fishbowl-shaped glasses of mango-topped yoghurt, and real French cheeses. A vertical ‘wall’ of baguettes indicates which bread is which. And oh the coffee, ten out of ten for flavour, must have more – of course there is a Nespresso machine in the villa, if I must.

But it is time to leave. On the sea-side road leading back to town, yet more couples, like quite a lot of them (one in a red wedding dress), are posing for shots, to remember the day.