The Edition Hotels is the work of genius of Ian Schrager and Bill Marriott, whose lavish brand is already established in cities like New York, London, Abu Dhabi and Barcelona. There are two in China, The Shanghai Edition in the country’s most vibrant city, and The Sanya Edition on the southern tropical island of Hainan.
It takes three hours to fly from Shanghai to The Sanya Edition on Hainan Island. Many heritage and low-cost carriers operate the route daily. Good to know: Entry to Sanya is visa-free for nationals of 59 countries (including the U.S. and E.U.) arriving on direct international flights, which is to say not coming from another Chinese city.
Hainan is dubbed the “Hawaii of the East” for its tropical climate, and The Sanya Edition is on its southernmost tip on the golden sands of Haitang Bay, a 45-minute drive from the airport. With 512 rooms, 46 suites and 17 villas in 11 different categories, there really is something for everyone.
The rooms are in palest beiges, creams and whites. Our Loft Studio had a large circular stone bathtub in the open bathroom (there was also an enclosed rainforest shower), while the balcony, looking out over the private ocean (more about that later) and the sea, had a couples’ day bed and a deep tub big enough for four.
Couples will appreciate the seclusion of the One-Bedroom Villas with gardens and pools. The Family Suites with two bedrooms and a living space, plus a playground corner, are ideal for families with small children. For large families, go for the three-bedroom Villa with a large, private pool and a garden pavilion. The Edition Villa has three bedrooms, a living / banqueting area measuring 540m2 (5,800 square feet), a swimming pool and garden pavilion and is suitable for weddings and events.
General manager Edward Yuan told us the weather is at its best from October to March, with June being the hottest month, and that early bookings are recommended, especially in summer, and at least one month ahead for Chinese New Year.
Oh yes, that private ocean. It measures 20,000m2 (200,000 square feet), is in the center of the landscaped gardens and with 10 million gallons of filtered seawater pumped in each day, it is used for paddleboarding, kayaking and sailing. Tip: The private table on the floating deck is the ultimate romantic candlelight dinner choice.
There are six swimming pools: One wraps around the private ocean and at the infinity pool on the resort’s highest floor next to the SkyBar, they serve luscious afternoon teas. The age-specific pools for kids start with toddlers, and Playland is an interactive family experience that has to be one of the best ever, with a Kid’s Club, a train that circles the grounds, mini-golf, a 3-D cinema and a bumper-car rink. How cool is that!
There are 11 treatment rooms and three villas in the spa. Director Ella Liu suggests the Advanced Oxygen Facial signature treatment, and says villa guests can request in-villa massages. Tip: For a genuine forest deluge experience, try the spa’s rain showers with their birdsong and colored lights.
Executive chef Jordi Villegas Serra presides over a range of exciting culinary experiences. Market at Edition opens for breakfast, and what a feast it is, with live cooking stations and extensive buffet choices; later in the day, it becomes a hotpot restaurant. The Jade Egret not only features the tapas-style dishes so dear to Chef Jordi’s Catalan heart, but also premium meats like the Wagyu tomahawk he prepared for us on the lava grill and finished with flaming brandy.
In the Beach Barbacoa, we sat with our feet in the sand and dined on Balinese-style prawns and satays, and in the Xian Hai Cantonese restaurant, guests can also dine in a private room or on an illuminated floating platform, which we found wonderfully romantic. Tip: Don’t miss the local Hainan specialty Wenchang Chicken: Tender pieces of chicken braised in spices and known the world over as Hainanese chicken and rice.
The resort’s shuttle bus makes it easy to get to local attractions like the Haitang Bay Shopping Mall with luxury designer outlets, and the next-door Atlantis, which has a water park that will appeal to younger guests. Golden Houhai Bay, which is a short drive away by car or bicycle, is the place to go for snorkeling and surfing and has small family-run restaurants and bars.
For those who appreciate the finer things in life, the antique hand-embroidered Dragon Quilts, worshipped by Hainan’s Li people, are worth the 40-minute drive to the Binglanggu Li and Miao Cultural Heritage Park. Good to know: Guests staying in a villa can bring their pets, and there is a small extra daily charge for professional cleaning.
From: Luxury Travel Advisor
✅ free Wi-Fi • 512 rooms & suites • hotel opened: December 2016 • architecture: SCDA • interior design: Ian Schrager ✅ free parking on-site • no pets allowed • 24-hour front desk