Whether the Chinese island of Hainan really does deserves its moniker of ‘Hawaii of the East’ is still up for debate, but judging by the blue-chip hotel and resort brands that are shooting up along North Haitang Road in the island’s southern city of Sanya, there’s no gainsaying its lucre, especially among the massive mainland Chinese tourist market.
The latest bold-faced name to land on a prized slice of beach here is Ian Schrager’s Edition. The 512-room hotel was designed by Singaporean-based architecture fiem SCDA, whilst Schrager’s team furnished the capacious rooms with light oak, white drapes, Le Labo toiletries and gigantic circular bathtubs.
The grounds are mindboggling in their size, especially the port corchere whose cathedral-like splendour is lined with soaring wood-lined ceilings, a pair of teak pavilions, a 10,000 sq ft reflection pool carved out of solid black granite and huge bamboo groves. Landscape architects Madison Cox have framed the resort and its views of the South China Sea within 50 acres teeming with coconut palms, Beach Naupaka, Madagascar Almonds, Manila Grass and Birds of Paradise.
Equally gratifying is the hotel’s artistic diversions, not the least of which is a double storey bookshop stocked with heavy duty art and cultural volumes, an en plein air gallery showcasing contemporary Chinese artists, and a boutique showcasing limited editions co-curated by UCCA (Ullens Center for Contemporary Art) Beijing and Steven Giles of Base Project.