There were honestly so many happy memories at Hainan Island’s most confident luxury resort, Mandarin Oriental Sanya, that the gal does not know where to begin when it comes to highlights. First, the room, or rather two-floor, two-bedroom pool villa in the Sky Villa series. The video below shows Villa 10, but the resulting experience was actually in the more-convenient, and identical, Villa 13, but that is another story. The photo above shows guardian sculptures outside the lovely Clubhouse, a mere ten yards from Villa 13 – similar sculptures, designed and put in place by Bill Bensley, who did landscaping of the 12 acres of grounds, are set variously around.
Dinner at Fresh was definitely a highlight. It is literarally right on the beach – see the view, to the right. Dine early, as we did, and you overlap with happy families still frolicking on the sand, as they do year round. Eric Kee, Malaysian GM of this 296-room resort, says that winter long some tycoons from the frigid north base themselves here, running their billion-dollar concerns as if, say, back in Harbin: they might even fly their team members down here for weekly meetings. Lucky people! I started dinner with ceviche, which was appropriate since Eric Kee is spearheading a total wellness feel here. Stay here, rather than anywhere else, to feel good, through fitness, mindulness, nutrition and other pillars of today’s better life.
The spa experience definitely made me feel better, much better. The spa is actually a village, built around decorative pools, and my treatment room was more a private house, with courtyard. And then I went back up home, via the amazing jigsaw of different-stone pathways flanked by low walls of lava basalt, from here and Iceland, that Bill Bensley installed for looks, and for health (apparently basalt continuously oozes inperceptible amounts of healthy minerals). Once home, I added yet more health in the form of fitness. These pool villas have a total of 24 stone steps from the upper floor, with master bedroom, down to the pool level, where you have the sitting room and a second bedroom, with two Queen-sized beds.
The private pool is such a blessing, and it is big enough, at over 50 feet, for serious swimming, as I was to find when leaving for yet another relatively early flight. The photo, to the right, shows the Chinese tea set in the villa; as well as an espresso machine (a simple Nespresso, thank-de-lord) and kettle and western tea set up, with Dilmah sachets, I had a Chinese teaset, with cast-iron teapot with inset strainer. What makes a luxury hotel special, when it comes to leave, by the way? Here, they offered, nay insisted, on opening up the Club Lounge early, for a full breakfast for just-me, and then Katie insisted, personally, on carrying a second cup of coffee back to my villa, to save time (she had the filled cup, and saucer, sensibly wrapped in clingwrap, on a silver tray). And the buggy waited, five minutes later, and I was off. I realised afterwards that I had never complemented the conductor of this well-rehearsed orchestra, namely GM Eric Kee, on his team’s thoughtfulness, and on their oh-so-rare, here, really good English. NOW SEE THE VIDEO BELOW