Colleen and Gregory Bryant, their daughter Cole (7) and son Cian (4).
The Bryants booked their flight on China Southern Airlines through BJS Travel Service (www.bjs.com.cn). Flight fares for economy tickets were RMB 2,400 for adults and RMB 1,180 for children. They stayed in a villa at Mandarin Oriental Sanya, which can be booked online (www.mandarinoriental.com/sanya) for four nights.
Accommodation at Mandarin Oriental Sanya costs around RMB 6,449 per night after discount (typically costs RMB 8,599 per night). The hotel offers regular rooms and suites, but the villa – a two-story, free-standing building – has substantial perks. The master bedroom has a balcony overlooking the South China Sea, a private bath and an outdoor shower. The first floor has a spacious media room, a bedroom with two twin beds, and a private bathroom. Guests at the villa can enjoy a private infinity-edge pool and covered dining gazebo. The cost of the villa includes use of the kids’ club (for ages 4-12), access to a pavilion that offers complimentary food and drinks throughout the day, a free full breakfast and airport transfers. For an extra fee, parents can use the babysitting service (for ages 3 and up).
The hotel is built into the side of a mountain range that looks across the sea. A cliffside path from the villa leads up the mountain, where the family watched the brilliant sunset.
The Best Part
The best part of the trip is the convenience. In only four days, families can take advantage of white sandy beaches, fresh ocean air and warm weather. Parents can truly enjoy a romantic escape and a fun family vacation at the same time. The layout of the villa allows for shared and private moments, while the kids’ club allows mom and dad to take a trip to the spa or spend some peaceful hours by the pool sans children.
The Worst Part
The worst part of the trip was the location of the children’s bedroom, which is on the same level as the pool. Parents can do their best to lock the doors and instruct the children not to go near the pool without them, but the lack of a door alarm is a small worry.
Mandarin Oriental Sanya caters to families and has plenty of great features: two-bedroom villas, children’s menus, access to free snacks throughout the day, a kids’ club (which requires no advance reservations), in-room babysitting, a complimentary toy bucket, free movie rentals and friendly staff.