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Reviewed August 1, 2015 via mobile

Let's start from the beginning. The check-in procedure was very efficient and fast, even tough the staff had bad English skills. Thumbs up for that!

When walking the long way to our room (not a problem for us, but good to know that the distances between different things are long) I immediately realised that this place is really beautiful. Until we reached half way to our room. Some parts should really need maintenance, both of safety reasons and of "beauty reasons". One part of the long walking path had a hole in the roof, were water was leaking and the path became even more dangerous than normally.

When arriving to our room my first impression was that it was quite good. Until I saw some small but annoying things that you don't expect from a five star hotel. The chair was broken and the room was generally in need of refreshment. Though this it was clean. When we booked our room, we chose the alternative "fantastic ocean view". When walking out the balcony the view was totally un-fantastic. Could not even really see the ocean. We contacted the reception and was offered a new room and it was almost the same as the room we already had. After one day, we also realised that the bath tube was leaking and contacted the reception again and they asked if they could come tomorrow. After waiting one hour for it to be filled up, we wanted someone immediately. After 10 minutes, there was a maintenance guy in our room to fix it.

The pool staff is very inflexible and it is a big problem to solve things out there. Probably due to bad English skills. The same for the life guards on the beach, whom were yelling if you did something wrong. The beach is very beautiful and If you really want to relax, then this beach is the place to stay (but maybe in an another hotel on Haitang Bay.) One problem on the beach is that the scooters (which are rented out by a third part company) are very close to the swim area and you could feel the smell of gasoline.

The best whit the whole stay was the evening buffet, which includes wine and food. Very nice staff who really wanted to make the best out of your visit. Value for money, the price is 298 RMB.

So. To conclude our stay at Kempinski I could easily say that this is not what I expect when staying at a hotel. I want it to be an experience with good memories where everything is just smooth and easy. Unfortunately this is not the case in this hotel! Would not return or recommend.

Stayed: August 2015, travelled with friends
Thank Dino J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RudigerHollweg, General Manager at Wanda Vista Resort Sanya, responded to this reviewResponded September 8, 2015

Dear Guest,
Thank you for your review on your recent stay to Kempinski Hotel Haitang Bay Sanya.
In the meantime, we have taken action on the room furnishing coinciding with your comments, which we began with the start of the low season. Also the leakage repair will be done after the rainy season is over.
My apologies that the room condition was not in order during your stay. In regards to your comment on the reception staff, the staff response is unacceptable and not our hotel standard, and the staff have been trained again in this respect.
In reference to your comment on the pool and beach staff, in Hainan Island, the pool regulations are handled and supervised according to Government regulations with extreme caution, and staff are expected to react immediately to irregularities. For Western guests perhaps unpleasant, but under the aspect that many Chinese drown in pools and in the Ocean every year, these measurements have been taken by the Hainan Tourism Office to protect lives.
Thank you for your comment on the jet skis, which have been moved away from the swimming area to avoid the gasoline smell.
I regret that your stay was not to your expectation. We would be pleased though to welcome you again to our resort during your future travels.
Sincerely,
Rüdiger C. Hollweg
General Manager

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Reviewed May 30, 2015

After a truly perfect experience two years ago, I came back to this resort, really just to disconnect after a bad experience, and in a slightly fragile emotional state, which I admit might, to some extent, have influenced my experience this time.

The rooms, hotel grounds, pristine beach, and wonderful spa still delivered everything I expected. There is a Balinese therapist in the spa who is particularly excellent. I also got a really excellent package deal with Ctrip, so I can't say that it wasn't value for money.

There have been major slips in the standard of service, however.

On my first stay at this resort two years ago, when we arrived at the pool, we were immediately offered towels, bottles of water, and a drinks menu. This time, I had to request towels, no water was available, no drinks menu offered. I even had to fight with the attendant to put up a sun umbrella. She claimed it was too windy, and indeed it had been windy earlier that afternoon, but it wasn't then. A second attendant put up my umbrella with no fuss at all, and I sincerely believe the first one was just too lazy to do it. Visitors from outside China might need to know that all of this needed to be conducted in Chinese. No English was spoken poolside. The water in the pool also is like swimming in hot soup. I understand the hotel can't control the weather, it was over 35 degrees, but similar properties in places like Thailand don't have this issue, so I believe they may use some kind of cooling system.

Likewise, on the beach, two years ago, upon selecting a sun lounger, I was immediately offered towels, water and a menu. This time, I had to request towels, and was initially denied my request, as there was, as I was rudely informed (yelling!) "no swimming". This is a ridiculous thing that happens all over China, so it's not fair to blame the hotel, but really, not to be allowed the pleasure of being in the sea, due to a few waves and a light breeze, just seems ridiculous. If Sanya really wants to become the 'new Boracay' they will need to revise these 'no swimming in a light breeze' policies, or international visitors will be seriously turned off, as this is one of our greatest pleasures at the beach.

Perhaps 5 star properties such as the Kempinksi should be taking the lead in challenging these unreasonable policies. I would be more likely to drown in my bath tub! Regardless of this, there was no need to yell at me rudely. I work in language education, so I do know that this is a language issue, not indicative of an intention to be rude, but even with this knowledge, I still felt pretty upset and uncomfortable. I can hardly imagine what an international guest without my background would have felt.

Finally, the biggest issue of all, breakfast. It was a like a feeding frenzy at the zoo, with hoards of local visitors fighting over tables and food, uncleared tables everywhere, no chance of a tea or coffee unless you wanted to wait for 20 minutes, no glasses for the juice and/or juice not replenished. Cheeses were sweating and gone bad in the heat, omelette undercooked and frankly disgusting. If you look at my review from two years ago, you can see the dramatic change. From free flow champagne and a delicious range of Western and Chinese options, to nothing to drink at all and food that I worried would make me ill. I can understand why they might have needed to stop the champagne, but he rest is inexcusable.

My greatest sympathy is with the staff, who were rushed off their feet, totally stressed and unable to cope with the volume of guests. The management needs to hire more staff urgently. It's a disgrace to treat people like this, both guests and staff, and I would only like to thank Emma, who took pity on me on my second day and served me coffee and juice (coffee I was unable to obtain on my first day until I had asked four people and waited for over 20 minutes, never got the juice).

I'd also like to thank Nathan in the lobby bar who was consistently attentive, friendly and efficient ~ always knew my drink and remembered me! The lobby bar is lovely, actually, and seems well-run.

I can't say I would never return to this hotel, as the rooms, grounds and beach really are lovely, and if you can get a package deal, it's especially worth it. However, I was extremely disappointed in the slip in service standards and I hope this will be addressed.

Room Tip: Building 6 is far from the lobby and restaurants but near the pool, beach and spa
  • Stayed: May 2015, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank Doarehtno
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RudigerHollweg, General Manager at Wanda Vista Resort Sanya, responded to this reviewResponded June 19, 2015

Dear Guest,
Thank you for your comments on your recent stay at Kempinski Hotel Haitang Bay Sanya, which we carefully read and evaluated. Please accept my sincere apologies that you didn’t enjoy this second stay after two years as much, and I have addressed most of your points already with my team to improve the situations described.
My team and I look forward to welcoming you again to our Resort in the near future and assure you of our best attention.
With kind regards,
Rüdiger Hollweg
General Manager

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Reviewed April 18, 2015

I live in Shanghai and I love to get a short break every year in April / May to Sanya. I discovered Kempinski a few years ago... and I absolutely love the hotel.

The place is definitely kids friendly, and I especially like the beach. It's very large, calm and the hotel even provides beach toys for the kids.

Hotel offers villas and each villa comes with a private garden and a large (50 sqm or so) private pool covered with green marble... super nice for a short break with family.

Hotel staff is also very dedicated - Lukas - was great help. I forgot something in my room after checkin and he arranged a car to deliver to missing item to me!

We are looking forward to our next year stay to Kempinski Sanya!

  • Stayed: April 2015, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Julien_Shanghai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RudigerHollweg, General Manager at Wanda Vista Resort Sanya, responded to this reviewResponded April 26, 2015

Dear Guest,
Thank you very much for your positive feedback on your recent stay, which I much appreciate. Knowing that this was not your first holiday with us, I also thank you for your loyalty towards the Kempinski Hotel Haitang Bay Sanya. It is certainly our great pleasure to be of service to you and your family and it is good to know that this is appreciated.
Your highlighting of Lukas' special attention is also taken with many thanks, which I passed on to him.
My team and I look very much forward to welcoming you and your family soon again to our Resort in the near future.
With kind regards,
Rüdiger Hollweg
General Manager

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Reviewed November 13, 2014

Not sure what stage of opening this hotel is in, but a lot of the exterior needs a touch up. It seems exposure to the elements was not at all considered by the architects when designing this complex. Make sure you bring shoes or flip flops with substantial grips on the sole as if there is rain the marble floors become perilously slippy and I fell on numerous occasions - would have complained but was worried I would find a charge for 'miscellaneous water sport activities 200rmb' on my bill (more of this later).

The rooms are generally very nice and of a good size. Beds are comfy. No complaints about cleanliness. There was a turndown service on our first night but not the other three nights of our stay. Now I'm not in any particular need for someone to peel back the corner of my duvet for me, but it was indicative of an over all inconsistency at this hotel.

The hotel is VERY isolated and there is nothing at all within walking distance, not even a convenience store. The nearest shops are around 15 minutes drive away and will cost 50 - 140rmb for a round trip depending on if you can get a metered taxi or not, and if they are prepared to use the meter. Also how well you can haggle.

I did know this before booking the Kempinski but thought 'we are looking for a resort holiday so a self contained complex is fine'. What I didn't bank on however was how much a brand like Kempinski could fail to provide this sort of experience.

Food and beverage options are extremely limited with two overpriced restaurants and one bar offering a burger and a couple of salads. The few times we dined at the hotel is was in the lobby lounge as it seemed the best of a bad bunch. The restaurants had zero atmosphere as no one seemed willing to pay the astronomical prices. 2 burgers, a bowl of noodle, small bowl of nachos and 2 cokes in the lobby lounge clocked in at around 700rmb, or around $100.

Dinner in K cafe will set you back around around 500rmb per person including a couple of drinks and service charge.

Room service was a little better and offered an excellent ( in comparison to everything else) Kids menu with dishes around 50rmb each.

Breakfast was ok with a lot of choice, though it got a bit mundane after the 2nd day. As this is the only meal of the day guests will eat at the hotel, it gets very busy. Advisable to get there early as a lot of items are not replenished once they start winding service down around 9.30am. The breakfast staff are generally not able to cope with what is happening.

I was passively aggressively stalked half way around the restaurant one morning by a staff member because I had arrived in the elevator, thus circumnavigating the ration ticket collectors at the bottom of the stairs. My reputation for breaking into isolated resort hotels in search of a free bacon sandwich and bowl of rice krispies had obviously preceded me.

Another morning we were scolded for apparently sitting in the wrong area. It was like a bad Butlins parody. Tea and coffee may or may not be offered and may or may not arrive, but don't worry there is an overwhelming selection of juices available. Well, a choice of 2 becomes overwhelming after a few days staying here.....

Beach is very nice and quiet with good quality soft sand, just a short walk from the hotel buildings and a lot better alternative to zhuzhou island. There is nothing down there like toilet facilities or anywhere to buy drinks and food so make sure to take supplies. I'm not sure if the beach is private or not. We had a restaurant tout come and visit us and give us his restaurant details - not Really a problem, he wasn't hassling, just trying to make a living. What was strange was that after speaking to us, he put his feet up on the sun bed next to us and had a long sleep. Not what you would expect haha.

Pool area is very nice but it's a bit of a struggle to get mattresses for the beds there. Like most services at this hotel they are not offered proactively and must be requested.

There is a strip of fish restaurants near to the shopping mall around 7km away. Dinner here will set you back around 150rmb per person including drinks. In the mall there is quite a substantial food court which includes a KFC and a Pizza Hut at normal prices.

When you are out and about make sure to stock up on any basic commodities you need as there is little of anything at the hotel. And a huge warning to smokers *****THE HOTEL DOES NOT STOCK CIGARETTES!****** I enquired twice, 4 days apart, at the bar (where they are advertised) and at reception and was just given a shrug of the shoulders both times and told they had non.

Now health and anti social issues aside, for a supposed 5* self contained holiday complex not to be able to offer a paying guest a packet of cigarettes when there are no options to purchase nearby is just not good enough IMO. There is some sort of shop in one of the basements, though it is not like any other shop I've seen at a 5* hotel. I believe it must be some new sort of hipster inspired North Korean / Yard sale chic look they are going for.

There was a small range of swimwear and overpriced cosmetics, random toys spread everywhere, an ice cream freezer that needed defrosting. There was a table in one corner of the shop with a few random drinks and bits of food on it. I wasn't sure if this was for sale or if it was the shop assistants personal stash. It looked like when you clean out your cupboards at home and put all the random contents on your kitchen table. Pretty embarrassing for a hotel carrying the Kempinski name.

After a struggle with the freezer I went to buy a couple of ice creams. We're not talking hagan daz here, or even a magnum, but a Popsicle that usually costs 1rmb in Beijing. The young lady politely informed me I would have to pay the princely sum of 20rmb for the pleasure of eating a glorified ice cube. This leads onto another issue - stock up on drinks outside the hotel! The only place to buy drinks is at the bar and a can of soda will set you back an eye watering 40 RMB. Ouch! You get two small bottles of water a day so make sure to conserve your rations, even when the temps are touching 30c+! The hotel knows it has a captive audience and they are not afraid to exploit that fact.

Now I'm sure management will respond with one of 'in line with local competitors' 'logistical reasons' 'this is Sanya' etc etc..... But a 2000% markup on a can of coke is just scandalous, and it is quite an embarrassment for a hotel that is not providing a premium service to charge these prices.

There are a few other diversions around the hotel but all fleeting and very costly. 150rmb for a 5 minute boat ride around the resort. 180rmb to play putt putt golf. 60rmb per hour to play pool or ping pong. Surprisingly the kids area was free to use and it was very well stocked with lots to do and was in good condition. This was the most lively and popular place in the whole resort.

We were also asked to pay 30rmb to use what looked like a swimming ring left behind by a previous guest..... Again just embarrassing behaviour from a hotel bearing the Kempinski name and purporting to be 5*.

So in summing up, it's safe to say that I was somewhat disappointed with my stay here. It was my first 'resort holiday' in around 7 years and my first with my young family. I had agonized for weeks between the Kempinski and other options along the coast in Haitang bay before using my experiences at the Kempinski in Beijing and Chengdu as a decider.

I attempted to find some management to speak to but they seemed content on keeping a low profile, only appearing publically intermittently to throw a few orders about. Most of the issues seemed to be ingrained in hotel policy anyway so not really sure what could have been changed.

This could and should be a fantastic hotel but so many little issues that in isolation would not be a problem, conspired to create a below par experience, and leave quite a sour taste in the mouth. You don't expect a holiday in a place like Sanya to be cheap, but when you feel exploited by a place it is quite hard to accept.

Room Tip: Building 6 is a very long walk from lobby and restaraunts.
  • Stayed: November 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank TheBeijingDeva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RudigerHollweg, General Manager at Wanda Vista Resort Sanya, responded to this reviewResponded January 7, 2015

Dear Guest,
Thank you for taking the time for a detailed and expansive review of your stay at the Kempinski Hotel Haitang Bay Sanya.
I do regret that you did not enjoy your stay, and please accept my apologies for not meeting your high expectations.
We have worked through your valuable comments and have taken many of them into consideration for improvement. Some services have been adapted accordingly or are in process of being changed.
On some points however, I would like to comment to clarify some of the points you mentioned.
When booking a hotel, you first look for location. It is no secret that the Haitang Bay hotels are approximately a 30 minute drive from downtown Sanya, and that Haitang Bay is not an entertainment or shopping district. Haitang Bay is stretched out along a 18km road, and of course there is nothing within walking distance, but this is a well-known fact.
Usually, each of the hotel restaurants is visited once during an average stay of 2-3 nights, because most guests also want the local experience. We have now three restaurants open. In 2015 the Paulaner and Faro on the beach will be operational, which is equal to or more than many other hotels can offer.
I do not think that our restaurants are overpriced, compared to what? To local Sanya restaurants or to other 5star hotel restaurants? Compared to Haitang Bay or to Yalong Bay hotels? I am sure that our prices are lower compared to many other 5-star hotels in the area, a fact which we also take into account when composing new menus.
A complete themed buffet dinner at Café K is offered at RMB 328, including wine and beer. An á la carte main dish is between RMB 108 and 158. This is a long way to RMB 500 per person.
As for the free water supply in the guest rooms, two bottles are provided daily free of charge. Upon request we offer up to four bottles free of charge. From the fifth bottle we charge only RMB 10.
As you must know the distribution of cigarettes is regulated by the government, which is why we ran out of inventory. We usually have a wide selection of cigarettes available. My apologies for the inconvenience.
The mini shop is leased out by our Owning Company, and unfortunately we have no control over their business model. It has been decided that in the future the shop will be operated by the hotel.
It would be nice if everything in life were free. As an experienced traveller you must appreciate that the operation and maintenance of the 1,200m artificial river with 8 dragon boats, the 18 hole Pitch& Putt Golf course, as well as the antique Wood Art Museum are substantial costs to the hotel operation. Since we began charging a service cost contribution to the Dragon Boat Ride and the use of the golf green, we have received positive comments from our guests. They see this as a unique experience and enjoy it tremendously. A visit to the Wood Art Museum is free of charge.
I very much enjoy the dialogue with our guests and cannot recall that a guest wanted to meet with me. It is not in my nature to keep a low profile and refuse to meet with a guest. Please be assured that we do not have any policies in place that are not questioned if we can improve our product and services instead.
I hope to be given the pleasure to welcoming you and your family again to our resort in the near future.
With kind regards,
Rüdiger C. Hollweg
General Manager

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Reviewed October 19, 2014

Room we stayed in had a garden view. Well bathroom was open concept but not to worry, there were blinds provided. There was a bathtub provided at the balcony where one could indulge in the greenery whilst at the same time, soaked into the relaxing bath salts.

We never had to leave the hotel premises whilst everything else was well provided for. Unfortunately, the spa was closed for renovation. Hit the beach and the pool during this good weather and it was never disappointing. The bed in the room was a little hard for my liking.

Go have a drink by the bar at night and be charmed away by the band, whom impressed me with their tunes and in all different languages. Visit the Chinese restaurant for some authentic Chinese food and be wary of the hainan chilli, in which might be offered to you. It looks harmlessly orange, but it does pack a punch. Nonetheless, I had a great time at the kempinski!

  • Stayed: October 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank victoriatravel86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RudigerHollweg, General Manager at Wanda Vista Resort Sanya, responded to this reviewResponded October 20, 2014

Dear Guests,
Thank you for your review on your recent stay at Kempinski Hotel Haitang Bay Sanya and your positive feedback. Please also accept my apologies that our Spa was closed for refurbishment, which will reopen in the beginning of December.
Your positive comment on our International Duo in the Bar is also appreciated, which has been passed on to them.
My team and I look forward to welcoming you soon back to our resort,
With kind regards,
Rudiger C. Hollweg
General Manager

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