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Reviewed January 16, 2007

I went over the New years (Dec 2006 / Jan 2007), and had semi-high expectations, but was wary given some of the reviews...however, i must say that the place was fantastic. It takes 35-45 minutes by taxi to get to the hotel from the airport, fyi.

The room was amazing - very comfortable bed, great design, a massive circular tub (see pictures), an open shower, great view and private balcony. In room CD.DVD player and flat screen TV, and a nice sitting area as well. Very romantic...and the room service was always spot on. Amazing fruit, great champagne, good food (great breakfast as well). And the service is prompt and very friendly.

The spa is something to be amazed by - I booked a couples treatment and we had a private villa for the session with its own garden, outdoor jacuzzi and fountain.

Even though the place was full (mostly Russian & Chinese tourists), it felt very quiet and calm. The layout is amazing with pools, bridges, a place to play water volleyball & basketball, a poolside bar, etc. The beach is fantastic - quiet, amazing waves (mostly), loungers and great sand. The weather was surprisingly decent, but a little windy.

The restaurants on site were a mixed bag - the supposedly high end restaurant (IZE) has four tables outside that get booked up, and the inside feels like a cheap Denny's or McDonalds (I think its the floor). The food is ok...but just does not feel high end. The Chinese restaurant is better, and has more outside tables and a great grill for fish. The diner type restaurant actually has some great Thai food and salads, and the wine list for all the restaurants (they are all the same) are pretty decent.

Overall, the place was fantastic, and we had an amazing time. On New Years eve the hotel had by far the best fireworks show and party on the beach with a bar. Didn;t need to socialise with the other guests either - really was fantastic.

Highly recommend it!

  • Stayed: January 2007
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6  Thank busterbuster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2007

We (two adults and three children, 7, 4 and 1) stayed in the Sanya Hilton in December 2006, sharing a ‘grand ocean view’ room.

OK let’s start with the positives. The Beach is fantastic, a classic, crescent shaped bay several miles long, with hills at each end and clean white sand. It’s fringed with palm trees, with enough activities to keep most amused (diving, jet-ski, quad bikes) and plenty of loungers for the lazier at heart. And not at all crowded – most of the guests seem to want to stay indoors or round the pools.

Then the network of pools, waterfalls, bridges and other water features is pretty and original, allowing many ground floor rooms direct pool access and plenty of poolside space. Some other cute outdoor features too: roofed and matressed areas for small groups, the bar with beanbags, a massage area. Indoors, the ‘Bar d’Or’ is far better than resort average with a genuinely talented covers band.

But I’m afraid these are outweighed by the negatives. Let’s start with the building itself, consisting of several ‘Pavilions’ joined by short bridges and walkways. There’s something grim about the architecture, looking rather like watchtowers – I half expected to see gun emplacements and stern military men with binoculars peering out from the top floor windows. Inside, our room certainly had a wow factor, with the big round bath and glass-walled shower at one end and the balcony at the other, but the bath took half an hour to get even quarter full so was almost useless for adults and it took up an awful lot of space in quite a small room.

The food was no better than average. The Cantonese style ‘China Harvest’ restaurant was distinctly worse than you’d get in a middle-range restaurant in Hong Kong. The seafood-specialist ‘.IZE’ did something to my halibut to totally take away any taste or texture of fish, though my wife’s beef was pretty good. The Western-style restaurant was probably the best, and the only one practical for a young family, and did good buffets, which also worked out as very good value as out 7 year old ate for half price and the younger two for free. Unfortunately they got the bill wrong or forgot items literally each time we went – hardly five star.

The ‘Kids Paradise’ club was small, and though the staff seemed nice they were also pretty clueless. I don’t think they would have any idea how to amuse children by themselves, much less cope with an emergency. In practice, most parents seemed to stay with their children in the (rather unimpressive) facilities, or leave the older children watching a DVD or playing on a Playstation (rentable at RMB 100 for two hours). There actually weren’t very many children at the resort – it’s not especially child friendly, we steps everywhere in the grounds (no stroller ramps).

The gym was in a beautiful location, spacious and with big windows overlooking a lake. There is a nice sauna and spa, Pilates room and ample changing facilities. Treadmills and other machines worked fine, but the dumbbell free weights only went up to 10 kg. My wife reported that the Spa was great.

Perhaps the worst thing of all was the guests, almost entirely Chinese and Russian. They all looked miserable, all the time. Seriously: I saw no smiles from anyone over the age of ten. It’s kind of hard to relax and enjoy yourself when everyone around you looks like they’re hating every minute.

Would I go back? No way, but I might be tempted by the Marriott next door. We crashed the children’s pool, which was lovely, and had two pretty good meals too. The grounds are less cluttered, with lots of lawn space rather than dark green flowerless shrubs, and the staff seemed more relaxed and generally more competent. The Sheraton, the next along, might be worth a look though it is huge.

Finally, check the weather before you go. For all the talk of being ‘China’s Hawaii’, the weather was too cold for the pools or sea when we were there in December and there was a strong, sandy wind.

  • Stayed: December 2006, traveled with family
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7  Thank summers_tim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2007

I stayed at the Hilton in August, had a great experience and decided to return for the New Years. Sanya is a great getaway for those living in China in need of sun, beach and quiet time alone. The quality of the beach is comparable to those in Thailand/Malaysia and the rooms are wonderfully designed. However, service needs to be improved. In both times that we had stayed there, check in is time consuming as there are not enough staff and efficiceny is low. You could face some difficulties without speaking Chinese should you need something different.

New Years was fantastic as we watched over a spectacular, 15mins fireworks display as we sat on the beach. I would definitely return to the Hilton even though the serivce could be much improved.

  • Stayed: December 2006, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank JLiew
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 23, 2006

This is the newest and best resort in Sanya, and (certainly by mainland PRC standards) extremely sophisticated and refined. The facilities far exceed even general 5* resort standards and the service (whilst there are language barriers as in all of mainland PRC, particularly when trying to communicate with cleaners etc., this did not pose a problem) is also first class. This has to be one of the best value resorts in Asia - the most modern, luxurious Western facilities at PRC prices.

Stayed: July 2006
4  Thank lewarlewar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 10, 2006

We stayed at the Hilton in October and had a great time. Our booking was arranged through Ella @ [----] who I could not recommend highly enough.

We are seasoned travellers and have stayed at many nice hotels but this is the best and certainly good value. They appear to have thought of everything. The rooms even for a 5 star hotel were really good.

The main point I would like to make is that, unlike previous holidaymakers, we had no problems making ourselves understood. All the staff seem to know enough to communicate in their particular job. I understand that Hilton hold English classes each day for their staff. The staff, by the way were lovely and couldn't do enough to please.

The hotel was about 60% full most of the time we were there but even if it had been full it wouldn't have felt crowded. The only time it felt busy was one morning at breakfast when they had an influx of wekenders but it wasn't a problem. The breakfast was superb with everything on offer. They said if we wanted anything doing especially just to ask. My husband thought he would like kippers one morning and they said it was no problem. It turned out to be smoked salmon however, but it was a nice touch.

The only downside we thought was the dress code which we blame Hilton for not having any rules. My evening wear all stayed in the suitcase as at best most people wore a clean t-shirt. It looked as most of the customers had just come off the beach to go to dinner. In fact one night, one man sat down for his evening meal in his dressing gown!!
Yalong Bay is perhaps a little remote if you like a lively holiday but the taxis are cheap, costing about £4.00 each way to go to Sanya. The Hilton had a group each night which were good, but apart from that there wasn't much else to do.

With regard to withdrawing cash from a credit card (it would appear that only the hotels take credit cards) we couldn't find a bank which would take it - The International hotels were the only places we could find.

I do like shopping and did a bit but having read on the internet that most things in Hianan could be bought elsewhere in China (we were going on to Guangzhou and Shanghai) I wasn't worried that I hadn't bought everything I wanted. I was however, disappointed to find this wasn't the case. I read that bargaining was the order of the day with the hawkers. I am no fool when it comes to bargaining, but I found prices to be cheper in the big stores.

We thought we would go to Dadonghi one night to try a fish restaurant, again having read on the net that fish dishes were reasonable and plentiful. What a shock. We stopped at a little restaurant a bit out of the way but overloking the sea, and ordered a lobster and some prawns pointing them out from a fish tank. They did not speak a word of english and the place was full of locals. Suddenly getting a little worried that we would not have enough cash on us we asked how much it would be. To our horror, their calculator said about £70.00. Now bearing in mind that I believe the average weekly wage is about £30.00, this did seem somewhat over the top. At that point they had already cooked the lobster and after about an hour and a lot of arguing with an english speaking local who they managed to call on the phone, they reluctantly agreed to let us pay half the bill. The lobster they said did not come from around there, so was much dearer. So just beware and make sure you know the price before ordering.

I wouldn't actually call Yalong Bay paradise but all in all we had a great time and would recommend it to anyone.

  • Stayed: October 2006, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank Trickydicky1st
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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