So you go to Sanya for a beach vacation, a place to enjoy the sun and waves – then you see tons of promotions for the China Duty Free Mall… You think – what is this all about? Well, in a short answer – this is China’s insatiable desire for luxury and showing off. This December, as part of our Christmas trip, we traveled to Sanya – here are some of the earlier postings on the topic. We had really a great vacation and probably the only low point in it was the trip to the China Duty Free Mall.
Upon arrival in our hotel – there was a casual mention of it. We quickly stated – “…but we live in China and upon departure from Sanya to go back home…we will fly to Shanghai and not leave the country. How can we buy duty free?”
Turns out, the Chinese government has allotted Hainan and Sanya a special status – to stimulate the purchase of luxury foreign brand goods domestically tourists (non-living in Sanya) are allowed to purchase duty free goods up to the amount of RMB8000 twice a year. And the Chinese consumer appetite for luxury goods is never too small (per Statista.com)
So, we decided to check out the mall for ourselves. The photo below is a snapshot of the map where the Mall is located in relationship to the Grand Hyatt hotel – in Haitang Bay area
Here is the summary of the experience:
Main verdict: Don’t waste your time…! Really…! No need to leave the beach for this.
Why? Here are the many reasons:
Prices are incredibly high — even after duty free is considered. If you have the ability to shop in the US or Europe – do that there
We compared real time on Amazon.com for the prices on Toblerone chocolates – in the store after 15% sale price discount, the prices of the same chocolates were about 25% lower price on Amazon.com vs in this Mall
The selection is limited
But the Mall is a great place for people watching. Really…and had a good Christmas tree…Here are some more photos from those observations.
At the end of the day – at least the architecture of the CDF Mall is interesting – something to experience…
I rarely post a review of a hotel. My views on the various hotels, restaurants, and places to go and see are mostly posted on Trip Advisor. Having said that, the Grand Hyatt Haitang Bay deserves a posting on my blog. Why? Because it is a very nice hotel, and as such I want to both give you visibility to the great service and value it offers as well as give you a visual of the grounds and hotel overall.
As you can tell from my previous postings, we decided to go to Sanya for a Christmas vacation sort of in the last minute. Our daughter, visiting from California, was able to snatch a great deal on a 5-day stay at this wonderful hotel.
We had read some of the reviews on Trip Advisor and certainly were very intrigued. So once we arrived in Sanya and Haitang Bay, our first order of business was to explore the hotel, the grounds, the suite we had booked and get quickly first impressions, which were great!
Subsequently, while enjoying the great benefits of staying at the hotel we observed the following:
The hotel overall has a very pleasant and interesting architectural design. The lobby, rooms / suite we stayed at, the club lounge – all were very nice, good setup and pleasant implementation
The hotel grounds were very nice – lush – as you can tell from the photos below
Service: Well, here the hotel staff really outdid themselves. We felt truly taken care off. The club lounge staff, the pool grill staff, all of them were extremely attentive and more than willing to help. Even the pool attendants were always ready and in place to provide you with cold bottled water and/or towels in order to take advantage of the great swimming pools in the hotel
Rooms: There are multiple options here. We chose the Suite as it came with club lounge access and space for our family. There are multiple different room options. If you go for the suite – in principle there are about 3 options:
Suite on the ground floor with its own swimming pool. A cool option – but we wanted to be on a higher floor
large suite – 140~150mm square. Rather nice and impressive. Great showers
Smaller suite – approximately 105 mm square. Probably more than adequate — but we liked the bigger suite 🙂
There are some quirks that the hotel needs to work out – but overall these were minor items on the list of great things the hotel and its staff did well.
The pools would have been nice to be somewhat heated. In December the weather can be rather chilly….
One of the afternoons we decided to relax by the ZEN pool. Well, we expected somewhat of a silence and tranquility…. Instead we got grand parents spoiling their grandkids and quite a bit of noise…Oh, well…
Some additional information:
If you desire to eat outside of the hotel – the shopping mall attached (pretty much to the hotel) offers a large number of restaurants
There is also a very large grocery store – fruit, candy, drinks….
Overall, the hotel was great and we will recommend it for sure to friends in the US and China. Here are some photos from the hotel and premises – day and night views. Enjoy!
Haitang Bay beach is very special. I have visited Sanya now three times – each time about 12-20 years apart — and each time we discover new places to go. Progress and development is coming fast to Hainan Island and with that the usual impact on places that are desirable to many — crowds and beaches filled with people.
Haitang Bay is different – take a look at the photos below and hopefully you will see why I say that…
We really enjoyed our trip here – and since we are still at the place, I am posting very fast – mostly photos…More information to come later this and next week.
This Christmas holiday our family spent a lot of time thinking about what trip we will take – and the winner turned out to be the Sanya Trip. How did we come about it? Well there was a lot of anguish and debates. We polled a large number of our acquaintances in Shanghai… Where should we go
Southern China? Sanya?
The unanimous feeling from the crew was that we must escape the close to zero (early in the morning) Celsius temperatures of Shanghai and find a more pleasant (read warm) weather in the southern parts of the Northern hemisphere.
The condition the family put forward as a very important one was the length and ease of flights to our desired destination…
So, Sanya was a clear winner in that regard. However, many of our friends told us “you should avoid Sanya….it is overpriced and overrun with tourists…”
Well, we decided to play the contrarian card – and chose…..wait for it…. Sanya,
In the following few installments on this blog I will share our experiences with summaries and photos. Here are some of the initial images to give you an idea….