Visa-free entry for tourists from 59 countries (including most ASEAN citizens) is one reason to consider Hainan Island for your next beach break. Another is the new Capella Sanya. Tucked away in Tufu Bay beyond the high-rise resort strip of Haitang, the Jean-Michel Gathy–designed property (with landscaping by Bill Bensley) has 190 rooms and villas spread across 14 hectares of palm-studded grounds, making it the largest hotel in the Capella fold. Rooms in the main building, dubbed The Manor, begin at a generous 88 square meters; the villas, arranged in gated clusters, are much larger still and come with good-size pools as well as the Diptique bathroom amenities and ultra-soft Italian bed linens that are standard throughout the resort. Gathy’s take on contemporary Chinese design is perhaps best showcased by the lobby, where a grand oculus punched through the roof directs a curtain of water into a central pool—all very feng shui. (Be sure to pass by at 9 a.m., when a tai chi master wades into the pool to begin his morning ritual). The spa, Auriga, could well be the island’s best, with a hammam, a “snow cabin,” and treatments tailored to the cycles of the moon. Hainan’s place onChina’s ancient Maritime Silk Route is celebrated nightly in the Library Bar with complimentary tastings of bespoke cocktails themed to the route’s various ports of call. The food is particularly good at Lan Ting, the Capella’s Cantonese dining room. Order the poached Wenchang chicken—the free-range poultry comes from the same area that inspired the island’s most famous culinary export: Hainanese chicken rice.
—86-898/8309-9999; capellahotels.com; doubles from US$282