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“Nice hotel but service could improve”

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Mandarin Oriental, Sanya
Ranked #2 of 1,329 Hotels in Sanya
Certificate of Excellence
Amsterdam
Level Contributor
17 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Nice hotel but service could improve”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 15, 2011

The general impression of this hotel is good. At the time we were there the beach was closed which was a shame but they had the cyclone so it was understandable. At the breakfast you have a good variety of food and the fruits do taste better then anywhere else in China. However we had a suite with a plunge pool and it occured often that the towels were not cleaned up. Or one night we decided to eat in and the tray with food was still there the next day. I had to phone several times to have fresh towels being brought to the room. Little glitches as you have to remember where you are ... in China it is not the States so service is a bit on the rougher side. All in all a good stay and very recommendable hotel.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank sammiess
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (71)
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  • Chinese (Simplified) first
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Graz, Austria
Level Contributor
35 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 21, 2011

My first impression was not very good. The architecture and the location (on a hill) were not matching my taste: the Resort is on a hill, with different levels, so you don't get an overview and you really need the map to get a bit of an orientation. It looks like an old Maya (?) temple: all concrete, lava rocks, low houses, dark. I prefer open spaces and light colors.
When you start to discover things, it surprises you: oh, there is a pool down there too! Here are the toilets, hidden by the trees.. There is everything, you just don't see it at the beginning! At least, I didn't!
We were greeted with flowers and my son with a baloon (very much appreciated) and sand toys.

The hotel has 2 big pools: one with sand for children, the other one (on the lower level), facing the see and temperature controlled. There is also a small pool for adults only, it's called tranquillo, I think.
The beach is small and the water not too clear, so we preferred the sand pool, which was just perfect for our 2 years old son. Lot of toys and children.

We had a pavillion room with bathtub on the terrace, was nice to use when it was raining. See view. The room was quite big and nice. Some details showed a lack of maintainance (like the silicon gone black in the shower).

Food: breakfast was super yummy. Great choice of western food for a chinese hotel. (The head chef is german ;o) Eggs, fruits, bacon, muffins, pastries... enjoy!
We ate twice at the Pavillion (it's where you have breakfast), they had asian and western dishes, was very good and not too expensive. Very kind to children (menu, crayons,..)
We ate once at the chinese restaurant, but we found it very expensive. Still very helpful staff and good food.
We had lunch at the me and Mian (noodle bar) and really liked it. Not expensive and very tasty.
We also had room service, which was served hot. You can choose from a big menu and it costs like in the restaurant.
We didn't have the chance to eat at the Fresh (seafood restaurant) because it was raining (only outdoor) or close (on mondays).
We had some cocktails, smoothies and mocktails at the pool bar and at the sunset bar and they were very good too.

SPA: amazing!!! Definitly the best massage I have ever had. And a beautiful location.

There is also a Kids Club and a Recreation center, but we didn't use it.

Have to add that they were really paying a lot of attention to children: warm welcome, than cookie (huge!! bigger then my head!) and milk and children's shampoo and stuff. At the pool there were a lot of sand toys and beach balls to play with (you don't need to bring your own stuff!).

Staff would react very quickly and friendly to any wish or complain (they fixed some things in the room just after I asked them too).

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank lauramatte
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
49 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 3, 2011

Spent my birthday weekend at the Mandarin Oriental and it is a fantastic resort with great facilities. From check-in to check-out the staff were excellent and wonderfully well-trained.
We were upgraded to a sky villa, which was beautiful with great bedsand a private pool.
Breakfast was excellent with amazing variety, and the freshly cooked american breakfast was as good as it gets, and better than the MO in Hong Kong!.
Golf buggy service to get you around a large resort works really well and adds to the relaxation.
Dined at Fresh, which is a beautiful beach front seafood restaurant, where Rick, our waiter, took great care of us on each night. Grilled fish and seafood, plus a barbecued beef and lamb selection kept us very happy, with an extensive wines and cocktail list.
At 90 minutes from Hong Kong, Sanya is a great escape destination, which I have used several times before, staying in Yalong Bay, but the MO has set new standards which will be hard to beat!

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank DaveManchester_UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong
Level Contributor
61 reviews
60 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 19, 2011

To me, the MO Sanya is not a resort, it's worth a visit, but it doesn't get the resort billing because you don't feel comfortable, relaxed, pampered, and in fact might even at times feel more stressed from visiting the MO Sanya. We just returned from our Mar 16-19, 2011 stay. We've taken 30+ mins to write this review, happy to answer qs.

My wife and I wanted to take a babymoon trip and get away from Hong Kong for a long weekend. We arrived on a Weds nt and we left on a Saturday night. We booked our stay with American Express Centurion Travel (the Black Card) and were recommended by Centurion travel to try this hotel. In case you are not aware, centurion travel is affiliated with many of the finest 5 start hotels in the world, and as a result of their credibility we followed their suggestion and went to the MO Sanya. I would categorize the stay as ok, but far below excellent which is what you'd expect from a Mandarin Oriental and well below the US$600+ per night sticker price we were paying for our room. I left with a pretty sour taste and despite all the positives and being 1.5 hrs away from HKG and a perfect getaway for a weekend, instead of being a venue where I could visit monthly, I think MO Sanya will probably be a resort I visit once a year at best. The MO Sanya charges 5 star prices, attempts to be a 5 star resort, but is simply crowded out by the smokers, the lack of customer etiquette, and lack of hotel management care to implement rules that you would expect at a 5 star hotel.

Let's start with the Bad but please do read on to the Good section below. We just got back last night so thoughts are very fresh in my mind and i've also shared these thoughts with the GM Paul Jackson.

The Bad:
1. Smokers- smokers are absolutely everywhere - there is no regard for a smoking vs. non-smoking section. Furthermore, there is no attempt by the management of the hotel to create a designated smoking section vs. smoke free areas.

A. For example - Yi Yang - the Chinese restaurant - we went there for a nice dim sum meal, which tasted great and fresh, but the restaurant smelled like a casino floor at the old Lisboa casino in Macau. Smoke was flowing everywhere and while the staff said there was a smoking and non-smoking section, there is absolutely no split in the areas, we sat in a booth across from another booth where there was a party of 6 smoking away. The air was stale, the smoke was thick, and i'm not sure how other families with children and infants were happy sitting at this restaurant. We asked the staff to open the door or to get more ventilation, they were unable to do so, but they did increase the air con flow. Why can't the MO Sanya create a smoke free restaurant environment? If diners want to smoke, they can step outside, no?

B. FRESH - this is the fresh seafood restaurant which is the fine dining venue - excellent seafood, the octopus salad was awesome, lobster overpriced, but we were seated two seats away from a couple that were chain smoking throughout the meal. Dishes would come, their wine would be served and yet they continued to smoke - the smoke unfortunately kept flowing to my pregnant wife and disrupted our taste of the fresh seafood. Why can't the MO Sanya separate the area into smoking vs. non-smoking, the difference with Yi Yang is this is an OUTDOOR setting so there would be a big difference in breathable air.

C. The pools - there are 3 pool areas, all of which are NOT smoke free - so you're trying to listen to your ipod, read a book, enjoy the sun and weather and to your right and to your left and behind and in front of you are smokers.

D. Not a hotel issue -but the beachfront is ugly, there is not much sand, don't expect to take those big beach towels and lie on warm sand - wrong place.

Bottom line: if you're a smoker - this is a wonderful resort to visit as there simply are no rules prohibiting smoking in crowded/public areas.

2. The poor etiquette by customers
Now I travel to China monthly, Ive been west to Lijiang, North to Jilin/Liaoning and many places in between those as well as the big cities PEK, PVG. The stereotypes of mainland Chinese that the gov't tried to correct with etiquette commercials in 2008 during the Beijing olympics seems to have been missed.
A. Spitting - there was spitting by customers outside of the Pavillion (restaurant), walking along the beach - there is a lot of grass space, and it seems the guests felt even more inclined to spit as there was so much grass area.
B. Crowding - I was unable to get into the hot tub my first two days as families of 8-10 took the whole space. Parents, grandparents, children, and those under 5 with inflatable arm things etc all crowded the hot tubs. Since it was pretty cold, the temperature controlled pool probably had some 20-30 people in there at a time, unfortunately the pool isn't that large.
C. Lines - not an issue if you're waiting to get into a lift at IFC when going to a mtg, but when you're on vacation and paying US$600 a night, waiting on line for the buffet bfast or getting on the ping pong table or pool table is a bit of a pain.

All of the above you come to expect when you're traveling in China, that's fine, it's part of culture and society, but this is a Mandarin Oriental, you're paying US$600+ a night, I think it's fair to demand and expect more. Management of the hotel needs to take a more proactive stance.

The Good:
1. Excellent all around service from the staff - well trained, courteous and responsive.
** Service was impeccable - we received a nice upgrade to our room, we had originally booked the pool pavillion and got upgraded to the ocean front pool pavillion. This room was nice because it allows for direct access to a large pool that is private to ocean front pool pavillions. The website does not give much description as to the differences between the rooms, but if you want a room that is 10 feet from a private pool, book this category. Now when I say private pool, I do not mean an enclosed villa type pool where you can swim naked etc, but that this is a pool private to other guests in the ocean front category. I didn't count, but I am guessing there were probably 6-8 rooms connected to the same pool as us.
** Service was excellent at the restaurants. We ate at every restaurant and will comment more below, but the staff spoke fluent english as well as mandarin chinese. Staff was prompt, responsive and courteous. We found the staff at the vista and other 2 pools to be attentive, they gave us water and towels on their own without being asked.

2. Food quality was generally quite high - reading the reviews on the hotel before our stay, I was a bit disappointed with the breakfast.
** The breakfast buffet - I know that some of the contributors noted the different stations and freshly cooked food - if you've been to the Park Hyatt in Beijing, then I'd say the quality of that breakfast's freshly cooked food far exceeds the MO Sanya. There is a fresh cut fruit section where two staff are cutting papaya, mango, watermelon etc. There is an eggs station where you can get the usual orders, there is a noodle bar section with fresh vegetables - a bit like Cafe Too at the Island Shangri-La in HKG and quite like the noodle bar at the Cathay Pacific Lounge except there are many more individual noodle type selections and vegetables to choose from. I was frustrated by the egg station only having one cook and often the guests would come up and order 5-6 sets of eggs - omelets, fried eggs, etc and the cook would be occupied. On fri and sat am bfasts many times I encountered the egg/hot section as being out of bacon, potatoes and mushrooms. Def think the hotel could do with a 2nd cook to help out that poor cook with glasses.

3. The landscaping was marvelous - we loved the fake sand beach pool for infants and toddlers and we loved all the trees. The design of the hotel is excellent, truly beautiful landscaping and design, layout - very nice pools.

The MO Sanya is at best an attempt to be a 5 star resort by charging 5 star prices. This is not a resort for young couples, choices in Thailand and Bali are much better, this is however a great resort for mainland tourists who do not want to get visas to travel to other countries. The landscaping is beautiful, the smoke where ever you want policies cater to specific type of customers, we get that - but we def did not enjoy the spitting by customers along the beach path as that took away from our appreciation for the landscaping, trees, and ocean views. Service is excellent, staff are courteous friendly and they try hard to meet requests.

Thanks

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
16 Thank emandjeff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phuket, Thailand
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 10, 2011

Its rare for me to write a review of hotels as I stay in them so often and time is short, but the Mandarin Oriental Sanya is a memory and experience which should be shared. The arrival experience of entering the hotel through an alley of giant flaming torches already the impression of style, grandeur and taste was created. Disembarking from the taxi to an open air lobby set high above the resort with a gentle sea breeze blowing in and the sight afar of the lights of Sanya is a memory I'll long cherish. The purpose of my visit was relaxation and the generally well trained Mandarin Oriental staff were professional at anticipating and understanding my needs - not too obtrusive while allowing me to relax without the hard sell of excursions, upsells etc. Breakfast the next morning was truly outstanding with one of the most comprehensive arrays of breakast items I have experienced in all my years of travelling. The best part of the impressive breakfast was the live stations, a welcome change from the buffets commonly seen where the food is simply placed and left all morning to slowly disintegrate - here it was cooked fresh to order, as requested. In particular the pastries were a delight, once again a common problem in Asia where the standards of pastry usually do not match that of Europe. My guess is that the Chef must be European to be able to provide such consistent food quality. Although the beach is not enormous, it is enough to provide the ideal place to read a book and when the tide is high and the sand is slightly less, there are so many pools that it was not difficult for me to find a place to have privacy beside the water in the shade and just chill. All the rooms face the sea, and mine was not one of the expensive rooms, so a definite plus. The one other mention which any visitor to this resort must not miss is one of their restaurants "Fresh" - open air, by the sea, live seafood in tanks, cooked to order upon selection, any way you like, by Indian, Thai or Chinese chefs in an open kitchen. This restaurant must be very popular as it took me 3 nights to get a booking, but it was worth it - the freshest most perfectly cooked fish and seafood I've had in memory. Not cheap, but quality is rememebered long after the price is forgotten - truly remarkable - I'd return and book my 3 nights at just to eat at this restaurant. Beware of local taxi drivers, slightly on the kamikaze side of safety, however I guess to be positive, Sanya remains relatively sleepy peaceful place compared to so many other destinations in China, and if you stay in the resort there's plenty to do in your private paradise without having to deal with the usual local taxi hassles. Highly recommended as a place to stay and eat - I ate in one other resort (to remain nameless) which was quite disappointing, and the local resaurants although of course cheaper, the quality of both food and service in these places is not worth the bother. Very good fitness center and the child minding centre was over the top - the Spa - stunning!

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank enricolostortilla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 29, 2010

Usually we go to the excellent JW Marriott Phuket Resort and SPA. This year we tried the Sanya Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
Everything is perfect.
As we stayed one week we asked to benefit their long stay discount: 25% on all food.
Service is perfect. Food is perfect. Rooms are perfect. Location and resort is perfect. All is perfect.
Congratulations to their hard work.

  • Stayed December 2010
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Louisgrx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beijing
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 27, 2010

Mandarin Oriental has a lot going for it: very spacious rooms (cheapest option: terrace rooms are at 60 well appointed square meters. Some of the best rooms we've ever seen in this category), high level of cleanliness, great service, good fitness center, friendly kid's club and lots of space. Because of the lay-out the resort never feels crowded, even when running at full capacity. Also, contrary to most other busy resort we never had trouble finding beach chairs in a good spot. Pools were great, one of them with an expansive fake sandy beach which our kids absolutely loved. Service was uniformly friendly and professional. Also, the breakfast buffet was good, although sometimes many items were out of stock when the restaurant was busy. We had the Christmas buffet dinner which was also nice and with an international touch.

Which brings me to the one big issue we had with this place: the restaurants. The room service menu and the choice at the main restaurant, Pavillion, was rather disappointing, as was the kid's menu. E.g. the Laksa was absolutely devoid of taste (basically a thin yellow curry with noodles), the so-called signature Asian Burger supposedly seared in five spice and very Asian, was a plain hamburger with browned onions and a pair of halved cherry tomatoes on top. Buns were substituted with a couple of pitta-like dry discs, probably of grain origin. A coke was a cool RMB 40 + 15% service - a coke is RMB 2 outside the resort. The kid's menu advertises Margherita Pizza, but our kids were repeatedly discouraged by staff from ordering it because 'it takes too long time to make'. Sometimes they were just told 'don't have'. At what is supposedly their premier restaurant 'Fresh', a very pleasant and romantic outdoors space right above the beach, service was intolerably slow. We ordered a glass of apple juice for our son and it took 20 minutes even though we asked twice when it would arrive. The second time we asked we got a story about how it was 'in transit from the bar because the restaurant did not have it'. OK, its human to err so we tried a second time (while having secured some plain water in the meantime to save our kids from dehydration) - same story, 20 minutes (in spite of the bar literally being a few floors above the restaurant). We ordered a set menu to be grilled at our table. We were told that because staff is busy, we would have to grill ourselves - fine. We like barbequeing and could easily do this - except it took one full hour for the raw ingredients to arrive at our table. What should have been a simple outdoor dining experience, became a protracted all night affair.

The resort does not deliver what the website promises in terms of food selection and quality. This really is a pity because it is a great resort. We had preferred to take all our dinners at the resort, but that simply was not possible we realized after a few days. I really hope that something is done about the catering situation because the resort performed very well on pretty much all other parameters.

If food is not an important part of your vacation, this could very well be the right resort for you. I do however care and I think that more should be expected from a brand with the reputation and proved capability for excellence such a Mandarin Oriental.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JDXBeijing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mandarin Oriental, Sanya

Property: Mandarin Oriental, Sanya
Address: No.12 Yuhai Road, Dadonghai Scenic Area, Sanya 572000, China
Phone Number:
Location: China > Hainan > Sanya > Hedong
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Sanya
#1 Romantic Hotel in Sanya
#1 Business Hotel in Sanya
#2 Luxury Hotel in Sanya
#2 Spa Hotel in Sanya
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Sanya
#50 Best Value Hotel in Sanya
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Mandarin Oriental, Sanya 5*
Number of rooms: 296
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Enjoying the privacy of a secluded 1.2 Km nationally protected coral bay and nestled amongst lush tropical flora, Mandarin Oriental, Sanya is an exclusive retreat where nature is celebrated and tranquillity is assured. The luxury resort features a series of private low rise and villa accommodation with ocean and tropical garden views, innovative restaurants and bars, recreational facilities for both adults and children, a blissful Spa Village and distinctive indoor and outdoor conference and banqueting facilities. Located just 20 minutes from Sanya International Airport, the luxury resort provides convenient access to all of the area's major tourist attractions. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mandarin Oriental, Sanya Hotel Sanya
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Sanya
Mandarin Oriental, Sanya Hainan

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