The Luxe List 2009, China: Mandarin Oriental, Sanya, Hainan

China’s tropical Hainan Island has become a magnet for luxury hotels, and the Mandarin Oriental is easily the plushest of them all. The low-rise resort is nestled on a secluded hillside that tumbles down to a protected bay. Sleek, modern lines blend with rustic slates, granite, and tropical woods in the 297 guest rooms and villas, with splashes of indigenous tribal detailing throughout. Buggies are on hand to drive guests around the 12 hectares of landscaped gardens, home to 3,000 palm trees, dramatic fire torches, and stone sculptures. For pure indulgence, visit the 3,200-square-meter Spa Village, or join the daily kung fu sessions led by the resort’s resident Shaolin master (12 Yuhai Rd.; 86-898/8820-9999;; doubles from US$234).

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