The Luxe List 2011, China: Renaissance Sanya Resort & Spa, Hainan

Fronting the 17-kilometer-long vanilla sand crescent of Haitang Bay, the Renaissance Sanya is one of the first deluxe hotels to open on the forested mid-east coast of China’s Hainan Island. The one-hour transfer from Sanya Phoenix International Airport is quickly forgotten as you motor past a cascading waterfall and fire torches leading to the hotel’s cavernous 14-meter-high lobby. From here, the open vista overlooks serpentine lagoon pools (illuminated at night by underwater LED fairy lights), lush tropical gardens, and some of the South China Sea’s best dive spots.

The minimal-chic guest rooms start at a roomy 58 square meters and step out to spacious oceanfront balconies. But with so much entertainment on offer within the resort, you might be forgiven for not spending much time in your quarters. From the seven restaurants and bars (including a seaside seafood pavilion and an English pub with karaoke rooms) to a gaming arcade with its own 10-pin bowling alley, cinema, Wii console, and snooker table, the Renaissance has something to suit every age and taste.

1 Yezhou Rd., Haitang Bay, Sanya; 86-898/3885-8888;; doubles from US$220

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