Above: The hotel’s signature restaurant, The Begonia.
The Luxury Collection, part of the Starwood Group, has opened The Royal Begonia in Sanya on the southeastern coast of Hainan Island. Although Hainan has taken a largely peripheral role in Chinese history—from its status as a place of exile to the allure carved out for it in the Song dynasty by renaissance man Su Shi—the special economic zone is fast becoming a major destination for international tourism.
The Royal Begonia’s 142 guest rooms and 18 private villas sit on a 370-meter beach staring out at the South China Sea. Guest rooms are characterized by open, neutral colors and, while the interiors have a European colonial aesthetic, custom-designed furniture provides a nod to the hotel’s surroundings. Each of the rooms includes a private balcony with views of either the South China Sea or the hotel’s landscaped gardens, while the 18 villas offer private pools and courtyard gardens.
The hotel’s Abel Touch spa comprises 21 treatments rooms, which use natural beauty products and indigenous treatments derived from local fruit. The hotel’s signature restaurant, The Begonia, offers playful Italian cuisine, while the Spanish-themed Buganvillas holds an extensive wine list.
One of the highlights here is the immersion in Hainan’s cultural landscape. Guests can join a guided tour of Binlang village, where they can learn to brew Shanlan rice wine and weave in the style of the Li minority people—understood to be descended from China’s ancient Yue tribes. Other opportunities include trips to Wuzhizhou Island, one of the area’s notable diving destinations.
The Royal Begonia is one of ten properties The Luxury Collection will unveil this year in Asia. Others include Shanghai, Jaipur, and Chennai in India, Australia’s Blue Mountains, as well as Koh Samui, and Jakarta.
Haitang Beilu, Haitang Bay; 86-898/3885-9999; starwoodhotels.com.