One of the best parts about our worldschooling lifestyle is that we can align our vacation days with those whom we want to spend our vacations with. For this year’s Spring Break, we joined my sister and her family for a one week trip to Sanya, China, which is known to be the Hawaii of the East!
As with any Asia trip, we almost always spend a good chunk of time in Hong Kong before and after, so that we can enjoy more family time, good food, and our favorite skyline in the world! This time was no exception, and we even ventured out to explore some new places like Tai O and Hap Mun Bay….but I’ll share that in another blog post.
Sanya is just a short 1.5 hour flight from Hong Kong, so it’s an easy side trip. It’s also one of the few places in China where there is a 30 day visa free entry for citizens from 59 different countries, the US being one of them.
We left rainy Hong Kong and we were welcomed to Sanya with the most glorious weather. Despite the forecast calling for rain and thunderstorms all week in Sanya, we had absolutely nothing but sunshine for the entire week that we were there. Rain? Nada!
We decided to stay at Club Med for the week since an all-inclusive, kids/family friendly resort seemed like the best option with a toddler in tow. Brianne and Bridgette had really enjoyed their Club Med experience when they were toddlers, so we figured Brady would too. The girls, as pre-teens now, were also offered a wide range of age appropriate activities such as trapeze, rock climbing, archery, etc. As for Mimi, Brian and I? Well, a pool, open bar, karaoke, and spa were all we really needed. 🙂
Club Med sent a bus to pick us up at the airport, and after a short ride, we arrived to the property with a warm welcome by a dozen of their staff members. Check in was smooth, followed by a tour with one of their GOs (Club Med lingo for their staff members, which means Gentils Organisateurs, or Gracious/Nice Organizers.) before we got settled into our rooms. We booked a total of 3 rooms so that Brianne and Bridgette could share a room and enjoy their newfound independence. Each room was incredibly spacious, with a private balcony and outdoor jacuzzi!
The entire property is massive. There’s a huge pool with a swim up bar, a lazy river, 2 water slides, a karaoke with private rooms, a full spa, rock climbing walls, trapeze, and several kids’ clubs for kids ranging from 0-17 years old. There really is no shortage of activities on site throughout the day, but if you prefer to chill, there are tons of cozy lounge areas around the property as well.
Club Med has its own private beach right on the property, but it’s not the type of beach you’d expect if you’ve been to Hawaii, or the Caribbean. It was quiet, and serene, with soft sand, but the water seemed really uninviting and murky, and we did not see anyone swim in the ocean the entire time that we were there. Even a few of the staff admitted to us that nobody really utilizes the beach there. Being the beach lovers that we are though, we had to give it a try, but instead of swimming in the murky water, we decided to kayak. Club Med provides complimentary kayaks to its guests, and their staff was very helpful in getting us set up and into the water.
One of my favorite parts was getting to watch my sis and the girls on the trapeze. I was too chicken to try, but loved watching them bravely swing back and forth on that bar! Bridge was even able to swing upside down, like a true circus performer! 🙂
Food on the property was buffet all 3 meals a day. I’m usually pretty wary about the food at all inclusive resorts, but Club Med Sanya definitely exceeded our expectations. Much like cruises, there is a theme each evening for the dinner buffet, such as Seafood Night, International Night, etc. We were quite happy with the food selections for all our meals. Breakfast included a huge assortment of American breakfast items like an omelette station, pancakes and waffles, Asian selections like noodles with a light broth and variety of dim sum, as well as healthy items like fruit, yogurt, muesli. Lunch and dinner choices were pretty elaborate, including multiple chef stations, delicacies like foie gras and Peking duck, an abundance of desserts, and so much more.
There are 2 main dining areas inside, and a lot of additional seating outside as well. We never had trouble finding a table, but we were told that’s because we were there during low season. For peak seasons such as Chinese New Year, Club Med staff told us they get so packed that people actually fight for food at the buffets. Umm…..that’s definitely not something we want to experience.
The GOs would rotate around the dining room during each meal to sit and socialize with their guests. It’s a part of Club Med’s efforts to really make their guests feel welcome and comfortable with their staff. At first, the introverted part of me didn’t like the idea of having to share my meals with strangers, but the GOs were so friendly and fun that I found myself wanting to spend more time with them after just one meal together!
A big shout out to Michelle (as seen in the video above), who is in charge of the Kids’ Club and entertainment on site. She was SO fun and engaging with not just the kids, but also the adults, and was definitely one of our favorite parts of Club Med Sanya. We bonded over In and Out Burgers because she also lived in San Francisco for a part of her childhood, lol. We loved her energy and enthusiasm, and found that the activities she facilitated always had that extra fun factor.
Brady, at just 2 years old, was able to stay in the Kids’ Club for the entire day, and that was because the GOs there were so patient and gentle with him. They also stayed in touch with my sis via WeChat throughout the day, with pictures and updates of his time there, and she found that to be very helpful and reassuring.
We celebrated my brother in law Brian’s birthday while we were there, and Club Med was great at helping us to arrange a surprise for him! They have these private rooms outside, almost like a modern floating cabana, and they reserved one for us on the night of his birthday. My sis picked out a few special items to be served in addition to what we could get at the buffet (hello delicious lobster!) and the staff all came in to deliver his cake with a funny version of the happy birthday song sang in different languages.
The only mediocre aspect about Club Med Sanya, besides the beach, was the spa. The prices were pretty steep, considering we were in China, and the quality of the massages was very average. Since the prices were comparable to American hotels in the US, we were expecting similar quality, but in the end, we were pretty disappointed with our experience in the spa.
Overall, we definitely recommend Club Med Sanya, especially if you are a family with young kids! The staff there is truly incredible, and goes out of their way to make sure you feel welcomed, cared for, and comfortable…..all while having a ton of fun in the sun!