Stealing ritzy-glitzy fun in the Hawaii of China…

When visiting Sanya you really have two choices if you want that high-end, ritzy-tropical glamour experience. You can pay through the nose for it, or grow a pair and steal it! Here’s how *mischief ensues*…

Hang out on the beach at Yalong. Do beachy stuff till you’ve got sand wedged up each and every crevice. This beach really is beautiful and that’s partly why I wouldn’t recommend shelling out to stay – legitimately, anyway!- at one of the glitzy resorts. It’d be far too tempting to spend your time glued to a pool-side beach-lounger, in which case you’d miss these beautiful shores which are –in the words of my Antipodean travel buddy- better than those on Australia’s Gold Coast. High acclaim indeed!

So go comb for your shells. Build your castles (mine had a moat, natch). Sip your coconut juices through a straw. But THEN –when your feet and knees are sore from the rub of the shale and your sticky-sunscreeny skin is coated with sand that makes you look like a glasspaper model of yourself it’s time to treat yourself to a little luxury. Follow in my footsteps…


1)      You’ve stored your stuff in the PADI locker-hut that’s about (in beachy-pirate speak) 50 paces to ye right as ye first entered the bay. Here, for 20 RMB you can rent a locker, thus avoiding someone running off with your bag full of treasures (read: passport/camera/money etc) as you pull your best beach-bum moves. Now, when you collect your stuff, exit the locker hut to the left, following a decked pathway up to the 4.5 out of five star “Aegean Conifer Resort, Sanya”. There’s a sign that says entrance is for guests only, but -meh- who’s checking? Time to throw caution to the wind like jetsam from a sinking ship (OK – enough maritimey lingo) and just walk on in. Step one accomplished!

2)      The main draw of the Aegean for me was the labyrinth of pools that twist and wind around the hotel gardens. Lined with sun-loungers and complete with swim-up bar I would have probably koshed a member of hotel staff on the head if they’d tried to stop me swimming. However, overactive imaginations aside, violence was completely unnecessary here as simply installing yourself poolside with enough confidence to assert your right to be there is plenty.


Reccommended internal monologues to boost your blagging gusto:

“Prevet. I am Natascha. It is real shame in heart to be in tropical paradise without my husband. Boris so busy what with the cosmonauting and the oil tycooning and the international football team-managing. Peasant, please wipe my tears with this meagre 10 million rouble note. *sigh*”

“My mission (and I accept it) is to secretly grade the hotel for World Hotel Rating project. I am meant to feel shady, but in an oh-so-snooty way. Yes. I judge you, experience. I judge you hard.”

“This is the eighties and I AM Joan Collins, dahhhhling.” (This was my preferred.)

Or, for those lacking in near-pathological delusions simply try “I DO have a room in this hotel. I do, I do, I do… ”

3)      So you’re very happily butterfly stroking-along, mojito on the bar top and it hits you – “what’ll I do when I want to leave? My swimwear’s soaked and it’ll look very suspect if I make a dash for it dripping wet. Eeeeep!” Never fear. This is the beach, don’t forget. So you have towels. Dry yourself off poolside, all the while pretending that you don’t want to use the hotel towels (or pleb-rags, as you’re now calling them) because your towels are far more superior Egyptian cotton and kinder to your highly-strung skin. It’s not at all in order to avoid having to sign out hotel towels with the attendant who wants your invisible hotel keycard or anything. No. It’s my precious, precious skin. Once dry, slip on a casual overlayer (mine was a long linen shirt) and bundle your stuff in your beach bag. Then avoid the hoardes of potentially suspicious hotel staff swarming at the back entrance to the hotel by taking a path to the right which leads to the conference suite. Follow the unguarded path, which leads to the equally unguarded back entrance to the hotel – you’re on floor two! Wahey! Once inside the hotel, keep your sashay on. Think Joan from Mad Men.  Follow the corridor around until you hit the lobby, where you can fully dry-up and change in the bathroom. Step out from there looking fresh as a daisy and bam! You have the run of the hotel amenities. Drink at the bar, eat and the restaurant and generally live it up like Lord or Lady of the Manor! Cucumber sahhhhndwichis, anyone?