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“Ritz Carlton Sanya - NOT really a Ritz Carlton at all!”

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The Ritz-Carlton Sanya, Yalong Bay
Ranked #3 of 1,373 Hotels in Sanya
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 30 August 2011

My spouse and I just spent a week at the Ritz Carlton Sanya in their Ocean-View Suite. The Hotel is over-priced, and the service is so poor that you don't get value for your money.

We decided to try the Ritz Carlton, because we had been to several other five-star resorts at Sanya in the past years, and would like to try a different hotel this time. It is not quite a "Ritz Carlton" we had expected!

We've been to major resorts and vacation destinations around the world, and always stay in a Suite or Villa. This time, we pay a premium price for an ocean-view suite at Ritz Carlton Sanya, which is spacious and has a good view. But everything else is run-of-the-house, from check-in, to housekeeping, guest services, breakfasts and dinner reservations. No differentiation or exceptions for guests staying at their suites, or length of your stay. I believe it has to do with Ritz Carlton Sanya's business model and management philosophy, if filling up all the rooms is their top priority, it's hard for the Hotel to provide the kind of meticulous attention, fine details, and top quality and services that a "luxury" world-class resort hotel would provide.

While we were there, the main swimming pools, which are two-third of the Hotel commom area, had malfunctioned and were closed for days for maintenance. The pumps had broken and the water quality was unclean and not acceptable for swimming. Some guests who were only visiting for a couple of days swam at their own risks, and there were NO posted signs to warn them.

The guests staying at the "pool-access rooms" hang all their clothing under the sun umbrellas, making the main pool area look more like a "housing project" than a "5-star resort". Other guests row with oars in their rubber dinghy and holding sun umbrellas in the swimming pools - this is really dangerous to the other guests who're swimming in the same pool. And the hotel management has not posted any Pool Regulations or stop the guests from doing so.

There are not enough showering facilities for beach goings to rinse off sand and salt water, this is definitely causing major damage to the whole hotel property. There was one stand-alone shower next to the Sands beach restaurant, so there's always a long queue for guests who want to rinse off the sand before heading back to our rooms. However, men who were drinking and smoking at Sands' outdoor tables were gleeing at women showering off just several feet in front of them, like watching a "live show". I find this extremely uncomfortable and disgusting!

There are also NON-Ritz Carlton guests, obviously carrying tote-bags and umbrellas clearly marked with neighboring hotel names, occupying the rare and few cabanas next to the pool, and using facilities at the "Kids Room". This is absolutely unfair to the Ritz Carlton guests who are deprived of the facilities use due to a lack of Hotel supervision.

Same with the Lobby Lounge, loud and rowdy patrons who were almost drunk from dinner, came into the Lobby Lounge which has no age restrictions (i.e. serving F&B to minors), "hijacked" the Band and performed a "live gig" cracking out their own songs. One middle-aged woman in the same party was forcing to kiss another younger woman on her lips in public. This is NOT acceptable behaviour or etiquette in any public places, not to mention at Ritz Carlton. Moreover, this is NOT a privat Karaoke Room, but the staff at the Lobby Lounge did not stop them. We were there for a drink to relax and listen to the Band, not to watch some "unbehaving" guests. It was just too much, so we left the Lobby Lounge.

Overall, the service staff at the F&B outlets are really trying their best to accommodate, though some of them are only on the job for three days, and have come to Sanya from far away provinces on the Mainland. They definitely need intensive training, proper coaching, hands-on support and on-site supervision from senior management.

Prices at the Sands beach restaurant are not worth it at all. A RMB200++ fish taco recommended by the restaurant staff was really disappointing, it has only a couple of thin, bite-size slices of fried fish on a burnt, soggy, unedible taco shell. While the equally expensive burger is equally bad, with very tough, unedible beef.

The plumbing in our Suite has serious inherent design problems. The wash basin is a few inches too small and narrow, causing major water splashes every time you turn the faucet on. The bath-tub has a faucet that's a couple of inches too far away from the tub, causing a major leak of water onto the floor every time you try to run a bath. There are obvious water marks next to the bed in the corner of the wall adjacent to the bathroom due to the constant leaks.

One month prior to my arrival at the Hotel, I emailed the Ritz Carlton Sanya (to their official email address posted on their website for "Contact Us") several times in regards to my reservation, but did not receive one single reply from the Ritz Carlton Sanya at all, not even an acknowledgment that my emails were received. So we have no clue what to expect upon arrival.

For the same or lower price, a lot of times, we could be staying at a prestigious vacation resort, where they anticipate your needs and pamper you from arrival to departure, such as personal escort to meet you at the airport arrival gate, special express passage through immigration and customs, and free massage at thier airport spa. In addition to a sumptuous buffet for breakfast, you can also custom-order lobsters, steak, sashimi, frappes or smoothies for breakfast, all inclusive at no extra charge. Many resorts also serve champagne for breakfast, bring you cold towels and iced water at the pool, etc. Not to mention, free in-room internet access for guests staying at the hotel suites, daily change of bed linens, using proper service ware, and meticulous presentation (like serving expresso in a demi-tasse, not a tea cup), etc.

There is definitely a lot of room for improvement at the Ritz Carlton Sanya, so that it is not just "Ritzy" in its prices, but also its quality and services in order to be qualified as a world-class five-star resort, and worthy of the "Ritz Carlton" name!

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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14  Thank Travel_Sharing1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 26 August 2011

this is probably the biggest hotel I ever stayed in. had to walk 10 minutes to my room. not kidding. hotel is very new, so rooms are very good. only hotel in sanya that I know that offers 4 bottles of water per day and even replenishes them during the day. having stayed in a lot of beach resorts over the last few years, it is obvious that you have to drink a lot of fluids. and buying drinks in a hotel is super expensive. we usually stop on the way to hotel to buy lots of water.

pool is ok ,but quite far from the beach. they have a large empty lawn in front of beach - for what??? so ambience is not so great. food is of course expensive. no restaurant or bar on the beach. read my sheraton review, then it becomes clear that yalong bay is only for a 3-4 day visit. true tropical paradise is only found in south-east asia.

breakfast is extensive and very busy and noisy. I am usually lazy and go barefoot. wow, they didn't like that! I had to put on slippers!

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled with friends
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1  Thank RolandShanghai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 August 2011

Following a visit to Beijing (see review), my boyfriend, Dave, and I, Natasha, decided to visit the island of Hainan in the South China Sea for 7 nights in July.

We originally booked The Mangrove Tree Resort, but after a disastrous 2-night stay there (see review), we moved to The Ritz-Carlton, Sanya Resort. This move was well worth the extra cost!

Yalong Bay is a tourist area on the south side of the island of Hainan, 25 minutes from the town and international airport of Sanya.

This area is frequented mostly by Chinese and Russian tourists. Street and attraction signs are in Chinese and Russian. There is a good chance that we were the only tourists from the US during our vacation.

Communication is a big problem unless you speak fluent Chinese. Most people do not speak English.

We booked a Deluxe Ocean View room on the 5th Floor. This was a lovely, modern, spacious (about 650 square feet) room, featuring a nice balcony with an unobstructed view of the Yalong Bay and the pools. Furniture was simple and modern and the bathroom was large and consisted of high-end fixtures. The room also had a mini refrigerator where you could stock water and drinks purchased at the local supermarket.

The Ritz-Carlton resort is located on a wide stretch of the best part of the lovely Yalong Bay Beach, near the town of Sanya, on the south side of the Hainan Island. In July, weather was tropical, extremely hot and humid. Sea was very warm. Resort grounds were immaculately landscaped, vast and beautiful. There were several pools, including an amazing, endless lagoon type pool, located between the resort and the beach. This pool was like something from a postcard, with its sandy beach entrance, beautiful tiles and lighting, fountains loungers, etc… The resort offered pool-side, king-size cabanas that you could reserve at no additional cost. This was the most impressive pool we’ve seen in person.

Resort was located on the nicest stretch of the lovely Yalong Bay Beach. Sand was soft and sea water was warm. There were ample beach chairs available throughout the day. They also offered beach cabanas that were available on first come, first serve basis. Designated food and drink menu was available in the cabanas. Drinks were tasty but pricey.

Beach area and sea seemed pretty clean. However, after a torrential rain fall on our last full day, the entire area was overwhelmed with a terrible stench of sewers. This made us nervous about what we have been swimming in for the past week, and we never went back into the sea. This made us remember that we were in a country with less stringent environmental standards as compared to the USA.

Breakfast buffet was included in the room rate. Breakfast was very crowded, and unless you arrived early, there was a long line to get in. Food choices were numerous and included many traditional Asian and international options and a delicious freshly-squeezed juice bar.

Another remote dining option was located a convenient 5 minute, $5 taxi ride away at the Crown Plaza Center. Here you could find a variety of local and international restaurants and bars, a supermarket, pharmacy, clothing and souvenir shops. We took many trips to this center. The fresh seafood restaurant and the Thai restaurant were our favorite. The supermarket was a convenient and an inexpensive place to stock up on water, juices and liquor for the room.

Even though The Ritz-Carlton is an American resort, most employees did not speak English. Front office staff was pleasant but not very helpful. There was a constant sense of confusion. A lesson: keep yourself informed and don’t expect much service or information from the staff.

Also beware: do not expect the front office staff to inform you of any major storms or other serious events. Even though we confirmed our departure with the front desk on the day before we were to leave, they did not inform us of the top news, a typhoon approaching at the same time as our flight! We accidentally found this out from a pool cabana boy, and scrambled to change our flight. After many attempts to call the airline we found out that China Southern Airline does not provide English speaking agents. Fortunately the hotel travel desk showed Dave an email with details of the storms arrival time and allowed Dave to login to their internet to identify an alternative flight. Dave printed out the alternative flight and handed it to the hotel travel agent. Amazingly, the agent managed to login to the airline and change our flights for no charge. All subsequent flights were cancelled. Sadly, the Category 5 Typhoon did hit our beach, causing several deaths and major damage. We were lucky to get out of Yalong Bay in time. Spending extra 12 hours on mainland China waiting for our connection back to Los Angeles was well worth it. I don’t think I was ever so happy to arrive at LAX!

Visiting China was interesting. If you and a Western tourist and find yourself going to Yalong Bay, your best option is the Ritz-Carlton Sanya.

Room Tip: Deluxe Ocean View rooms have amazing, unobstrocted sea views
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  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank SunFloater
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 August 2011

We stayed in this hotel right after New Year's and it was quite busy and packed with tourists, mostly from mainland China. The hotel itself is beautiful and well maintained, the same goes for spacious rooms that were absolutely amazing in design and attention to detail. However, few things might easily frustrate you, especially since the price per night is much higher in this hotel than anywhere else in Sanya:
breakfast room was always packed with a huge line waiting to get seated, it was just ridiculous to have to wait so long every morning for breakfast. However, once you finally get in and get seated, breakfast was delicious and had many yummy options to choose from.
check-in took literally, without an exaggeration, over one hour. It really appeared that none of them at the front desk knew how to use computers or computer software or simply what to do. They would constantly get interrupted by screaming guests who would march into the lobby to complain about something. If they check you in and the phone ring, they answer the phone right in the middle of checking you in and proceed talking on the phone for 15 minutes in chinese, then walk away somewhere and show up 5 minutes later to continue talking on the phone while you sit and wait for them to give you keys to the room. It was just crazy. I have never seen such an awful, disorganized check-in anywhere in the world, especially is supposedly 5 star hotel.
you room would be entered regardless if you put a sign on the door not to be disturbed. They simply ignore it and would enter it if they feel like it. I never figured out if the hotel employees simply don't care or have no training to understand how to treat their guests.

Aside from the above mentioned items, the hotel is very comfortable and stylish. All restaurants are delicious with friendly service. Beach is meticulously cleaned every morning and evening.

Room Tip: Rooms closer to the beach have less noise
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  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled with friends
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2  Thank kismika
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 July 2011

Spent the long weekend with my husband @ the Ritz, Sanya.

1. The garden villa - an absolute beauty with a VERY comfy bed!
2. The beach - clear water, blue skies, soft sand & great drinks!
3. The rides - golf cart rides are available for villa guests & it's totally awesome with the breeze!
4. The shells - a very pretty shell on the table everyday!

This is our first time @ Sanya and we felt really pampered & recharged. Staff @ Ritz, yes, with some restrictions in using English, tried very hard to understand our needs.

One of the butlers, totally sweating under the hot weather, actually travelled back and forth like 3 times to get us our desserts/drinks since some items went missing.

2 suggestions:
1. Perhaps the hotel can consider using Hip-hop/Spanish music @ the weekend BBQ beach party (we got 2 ladies singing Chinese songs from the 80s... errr.. that didn't feel too right for such an occasion).
2. Drivers can confirm which terminal guests are heading. Our driver drove us to the domestic flight terminal and we had to walk like 5 minutes back to the international one.

We can't wait to go back to Ritz again!!! LOVE IT!

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank Shells018
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Ritz-Carlton Sanya, Yalong Bay

Address: Yalong Bay National Resort District, Sanya 572000, China (Formerly The Ritz-Carlton Sanya Yalong Bay)
Phone Number:
Region: China > Hainan > Sanya > Yalong Bay
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Business Hotel in Sanya
#3 Spa Hotel in Sanya
#3 Luxury Hotel in Sanya
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Sanya
#9 Romantic Hotel in Sanya
#45 Best Value Hotel in Sanya
Price Range: €156 - €2,153 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The Ritz-Carlton Sanya, Yalong Bay 5*
Number of rooms: 450
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We offer 450 rooms with ocean, mangrove and lagoon view, including 66 rooms and suites in club level, 33 villas with private plunge pool. Eight dining outlets "will please discerning palates with signature favorites, seasonal offerings and even personalized dishes and beverages. We also feature a 30,000-sq.-ft. spa and fitness center with 24 treatment rooms; operated by world-renowned ESPA.... ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ritz Carlton Hotel Sanya
Ritz Sanya
Ritz-Carlton Sanya

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