In this article, you’ll find out about some of the best hotels in Sanya as well as some great Sanya apartments.
I lived in Sanya for six months in 2021. Before I found my apartment in Sanya, I stayed at many of the city’s hotels and so in this post I’ll detail the ones I stayed in plus some other top recommendations.
As one of China’s biggest resorts, there are tons of excellent hotels in Sanya from the exclusive Atlantis to Phoenix Island and more.
Sanya is one of my favourite places in China with so much to do from swimming and sunbathing to snorkelling, diving, jungle treks and much more.
One thing you’ll notice is how far your money goes when it comes to accommodation in Sanya. Four and five star resorts with views and pools cost a fraction of what they would anywhere else.
So, let’s dive right in and discover some of the best places to stay in Sanya for that perfect beach holiday.
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Where to Stay in Sanya – The 5 Best Areas
Dadonghai – Best for First-Time Visitors
Haitang Bay – Best for Families
Houhai – Best for Nightlife
Sanya Bay – Best for Couples
Wuzhizhou Island – Best for Activities
Best Hotels in Sanya
Below you’ll find a wide selection of Sanya accommodation options from budget hostels to exclusive five-star resorts. You’ll find places next to the beach, in the centre of town, on idyllic islands and everywhere in between.
I’ve included links to a variety of hotel booking sites from Hostelworld to Booking.com and Trip.com. Not all properties are available on all platforms, but for the most part, there is a choice. I used Trip for most of my hotel stays in Sanya (and China as a whole) and found they usually offer the best price.
1. Sanya City
The city centre is a great place to stay if you want lots of the best shops and restaurants on your doorstep, and the beach at Sanya Bay is just a short walk away.
As Sanya is a small city in comparison to other Chinese cities, the downtown area is perfect for walking. There are lots of nice places to go including riverside walks, mangroves and lots of parks.
Best Hotels in Sanya City Centre
Budget: Jinjiang Inn ⭐⭐⭐
Basic but clean and comfortable rooms with a sea view next to the International Shopping Centre and straddling the area between Sanya Bay and Dadonghai. Lots of entertainment, bars and restaurants within walking distance.
This is an excellent budget option in the heart of Sanya city.
Mid-range: Crowne Plaza ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Crowne Plaza is in an excellent location close to the International Shopping Centre, Bar Street and the seafood market. This modern hotel has an onsite cafe, spa, wellness centre and outdoor pool. All rooms come with WiFi, 42″ flatscreen, a minibar and an en-suite bathroom with toiletries.
Luxury: Mangrove Tree Resort ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Mangrove Tree is a large resort and hotel complex in the north of the city and has many great eateries on site from Thai to KFC. There is a shopping centre, a large garden, spa and pools.
All rooms come with a balcony, WiFi, a bathroom with rain shower and a flat-screen TV. Definitely one of the best hotels in Sanya city. There is a tram stop close to the hotel that links it to the beach at Sanya Bay.
2. Sanya Bay
Sanya Bay stretches for almost 13km from the centre of the city towards Tianya Bay and Tianja Hijau. There are many resorts and hotels lining the beachfront and I stayed in two of these; serviced apartments on Phoenix Island, and one on Sanyawan Road.
This area of palm-lined beach is known as the Coconut Corridor and is one of the most beautiful places in Sanya. In the afternoon you can see fishermen pulling in the day’s catch using traditional methods. There are lots of restaurants on Sanyawan Road including my favourite, CasaMia.
Best Hotels in Sanya Bay
Budget: Care Hotel Coast Collection ⭐⭐
This hotel is great value for money and in a prime location a stone’s throw from the beach. The rooms are modern, well-decorated and comfortable with a double bed and seating area.
Each room comes with a large flat-screen TV, a private bathroom and hot drink-making facilities. This is definitely one of the best hotels in Sanya in terms of price.
Mid-range: Yuejia Sea Apartments Phoenix Island ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I stayed for a week in a serviced apartment on Phoenix Island and highly recommend this as the modern and spacious rooms come with incredible views of Sanya Bay.
There are some excellent restaurants on-site and a pool, and there is a free shuttle service on and off the island. Rooms come with a small kitchen, bathroom and balcony with an outside bath/hot tub. Phoenix Island is one of the best places to stay in Sanya for its location and value for money.
Luxury: Shengyi Holiday Villa Hotel ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This beautiful resort complex across the road from the beach is a great option for those looking to be close to the seafront and city centre. There is a gym and fitness room, spa and outdoor pools.
All rooms come with air conditioning, flat screen TV, WiFi, private bathroom and sea views. The onsite restaurant serves Chinese, Asian and Western cuisine.
Dadonghai is Sanya’s hip party area with a nice stretch of beach, lots of bars, restaurants and nightclubs. This is where most foreign tourists and expats head to when staying in Sanya. Some of the top night spots include Dolphin Bar and Grill (excellent food at great prices) and Manhattan bar and nightclub.
There are lots of shops and travel agencies in Dadonghai offering cheap bike rental (50 per day), surfboard hire, diving trips and more. There are some great Dadonghai hotels and also lots of budget options such as a hostel (See below).
Best Hotels in Dadonghai
Budget: Sanya Backpacker International Youth Hostel ⭐⭐
This is the first place I stayed when I first arrived in Sanya. It’s a modern hostel with dorm rooms and privates. There is a great bar with a pool table, washing machine and surf/bike hire.
The beach, shops and restaurants are all within a five-minute walk. An excellent budget option and a great place to meet other travellers.
Mid-range: Sanya Yikehai Apartments ⭐⭐⭐
These serviced apartments close to the beach at Dadonghai are a great option for self-catering as a kitchen with an oven and hob is included in all rooms. There are lots of cafes, bars, restaurants and supermarkets nearby.
All rooms come with a private bathroom (towels provided) and some come with the addition of a balcony overlooking Dadonghai. This is one of the best places to stay in Sanya for first-time visitors thanks to its price and location.
Luxury: JW Marriott ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Marriot is located at the west end of Dadonghai beach at the bottom of Luhuitou Mountain. The hotel complex is set within lush tropical gardens with ocean and mountain views. A 24-hour gym, spa, restaurants and pool complex are available for use by guests.
The large rooms come with an incredible garden, ocean or mountain views, sky TV, a seating area and an en-suite bathroom with toiletries. For its location, this is definitely one of the best hotels in Sanya.
Xiaodonghai is Dadonghai’s quieter and more laid-back neighbour around the headland. This is one of my favourite places in Sanya thanks to its beautiful beach and top restaurants. Here you’ll find the Intercontinental Resort but the beach and restaurants can all be used by non-guests.
Here you’ll find the excellent Beer Factory which specialises in craft beers and monstrous plates of sausage and other western dishes. There are also a couple of really nice beachside bars (one with hanging chairs) and an Italian pizza place (not as good as Casamia, but a nice place for a drink because of the beach views).
Best Hotels in Xiaodonghai
Xiaodonghai is quite an upmarket part of Sanya and so there are no budget options here, mainly 5-Star resorts (areas of which are open to the public).
That being said, Xiaodonghai is a ten-minute drive/ride by E-bike from Dadonghai just around the headland (there is no path for walking) and has plenty of budget options.
Luxury: Intercontinental ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Intercontinental resort covers a large area just off the beach with lots of restaurants (including western), bars and pools. This is a great option for families as there is so much to do on-site and it is a lot quieter than Sanya Bay and Dadonghai.
Luxury: Sanya Luhuitou Resort and Spa ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This stylish hotel and resort is located a stone’s throw from the quiet beach at Xiaodonghai and is set within lush tropical gardens with a large pool area. I visited friends who were staying here and spent a day drinking cocktails and swimming in the gorgeous pool overlooking the beach.
All rooms come with air conditioning, a balcony or terrace, an en-suite bathroom with a walk-in shower, flatscreen TVs and a sitting area. The Luhuitou Resort and Spa is the perfect place for families thanks to its quiet location, but there are still plenty of great restaurants and bars within walking distance.
This charming settlement sits right on the beach with palm trees overhanging colourful fishing boats, and a strip of bars and restaurants, many with their own infinity plunge pool.
Tianya was one of my favourite places to visit in Sanya, especially for the beachfront bar with its own private pool and seafood barbeque.
Best Hotels in Tianya
Ultra-budget: Molting Xiaozhu Sea View B&B ⭐⭐
This excellent Sanya bed and breakfast is located within one of Tianya’s beachfront bars and has access to a small infinity splash pool (I spent a lot of time at this particular place), which is perfect for long afternoons and evenings by the sea.
There is an onsite restaurant and bar offering seafood barbeque and other local specialities. Rooms come with air conditioning and breathtaking sea views. Highly recommended!
Budget: Gold Boutique Holiday Hotel ⭐⭐⭐
The Gold Boutique Holiday Hotel is a complex of Sanya Apartments that each come with a balcony (with either garden/mountain or sea views), en-suite bathroom, large bed, kitchenette, washing machine and living area.
The hotel is just 100 metres from the beach on Sanya’s beautiful “Coconut Corridor” and the complex also has its own pool and there are three restaurants a few minutes’ walk away.
Mid-range: Pullman Ocean View ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The gorgeous Pullman Ocean View Resort and Spa is just a few steps from the beach close to the charming village of Tianya with its Greek-like buildings. Here you’ll find landscaped gardens with pools and a selection of onsite restaurants and bars.
The resort is decorated in a French style and is surrounded by palms and lush tropical gardens. Rooms come with large oceanfront balconies, floor-to-ceiling glass doors with stunning views across Sanya Bay and everything you need for a comfortable stay.
Luxury: Sanya Conifer Resort ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
With five onsite pools, including a gorgeous rooftop infinity pool overlooking the ocean, the Sanya Conifer Resort is one of the best places to stay in Sanya if you are looking for a little bit (okay, a lot) of luxury.
You can enjoy a host of cuisines at the many bars and restaurants on-site, and all rooms come with a large private bathroom with a bath, shower and free toiletries. There is also a large flat-screen TV, WiFi and a minibar.
6. Yalong Bay
Yalong Bay is a beautiful 7.5km stretch of golden, sandy beach and turquoise tropical waters 25km east of central Sanya. The area has many resorts, shopping centres and activities such as diving and paddle boarding.
This is a good location for family holidays as everything you need is on hand, but for those looking for a little more entertainment and nightlife, stick to areas closer to Sanya. Stick to visiting Yalong Bay as a day trip (it took me an hour to ride there on my E-bike).
Be sure to check out the fantastic Yalong Bay Tropical Paradise Forest Park with its beautiful flora and fauna, rope bridge and glass walkways.
Best Hotels in Yalong Bay
There are no ultra-budget options in Yalong Bay, but even the five-star resorts cost from as little as ¥360.00 ($50.00) per night.
Mid-range: Sanya Resort Golden Palm ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Golden Palm is the cheapest hotel and resort in Yalong Bay, but still offers excellent service with a pool, sun terrace and free WiFi throughout. All rooms come with air-con, an en-suite bathroom, free toiletries and garden, mountain or sea views.
Mid-range: Holiday Inn Yalong Bay ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This resort and Hotel is a real bargain considering it scores five stars. Located just a six-minute walk from the beautiful Yalong Bay beach, the complex includes a large outdoor pool, restaurants, fitness centre and lush gardens.
All rooms come with air conditioning, an en-suite bathroom, and includes a buffet or American breakfast.
Luxury: The St. Regis Sanya Yalong Bay Resort ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This exclusive beachfront resort comes with a large infinity pool, tennis courts and butler service. The elegantly styled rooms all come with a balcony and floor-to-ceiling windows with incredible views of the bay.
There are on-site restaurants, a pool bar and lots of entertainment options from fishing to a cinema. If you’re looking for the ultimate relaxation in beautiful surroundings, this Sanya hotel is the thing for you.
7. Houhai Village
happening Houhai is a small town/village east of Sanya and the place to get a ferry to Wuzhizou Island. Houhai is famous as one of China’s top surf spots and here you’ll find some of the best nightlife on Hainan.
By day surfers hit the large, crescent-shaped beach, and by night hit the bars and clubs that line the beach and party until the small hours. Keep an eye out for the “Full Moon”.
Just like Tianya, there are lots of beachfront bars and many have their own splash pools, DJs, top cocktails and food. Definitely one of my favourite places to hang out near Sanya.
Best Hotels in Houhai Village
As Houhai attracts a younger crowd you’ll find mostly budget accommodation and hostels here. If you’re looking for upmarket hotels and resorts, nearby Haitang Bay is a better option (see below).
Budget: Houhai Hostel ⭐⭐
This hostel in the heart of hip Houhai is a great budget option for backpackers and travellers looking to meet others. The property is located a minute’s walk from the beach and has indoor and outdoor common areas. Sleeping options include dorms, twins and doubles (with en-suite).
Budget: Sanya Houhai Surfing Designer Meisu ⭐⭐
This sleep hostel/hotel comes with an infinity plunge pool right on the beach. There are plenty of dining options nearby and it is right in the heart of the action for days surfing and nights partying until the small hours.
Mid-range: Sanya Hui Hotel Surfing ⭐⭐
This newly opened hotel (2021) offers stunning rooms in the heart of Houhai for very reasonable prices. Rooms come with sea views, an en-suite bathroom and free toiletries. The hotel is located right on the beach and has an onsite bar and restaurant.
8. Haitang Bay
Haitang Bay is a large stretch of sandy beach 30km east of Sanya. This is where the most exclusive resorts are located such as the famous Hotel Atlantis (See below).
One of my favourite places in the area is Coconut Island (near Haifeng Village), which is perfect for hiking, swimming and getting lost in stunning tropical nature. Houhai is less than 10km away and is a good option for nightlife.
Best Hotels in Haitang Bay
Budget: Sunny Sanya Destination Hotel ⭐⭐
This hotel is located in Linwang Town a couple of kilometres from the beach at Haitang Bay (there is a free shuttle service from the hotel to the beach and surrounding areas). There is a restaurant and bar onsite, and rooms come with air conditioning, WiFi and an en-suite bathroom. Great value for money.
Mid-range: Renaissance Sanya Haitang Bay Resort ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
A reasonably priced upscale resort a stone’s throw from the beach and with large, lush tropical gardens, outdoor pools, onsite bars and restaurants.
All rooms come with a view (ocean, pool or mountain) and include free WiFi, air-con, an en-suite bathroom with free toiletries and a seating area.
Luxury: Hotel Atlantis ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Hotel Atlantis is famed as the best hotel in Sanya (though it’s actually 40km away). This large hotel and resort complex has its own aquarium in the lobby, a waterpark, world-class restaurants such as Gordon Ramsey’s Bread Street Kitchen, shopping, entertainment and more.
If you’re prepared to pay (a lot), you can even have a glass-ceilinged room underneath the aquarium with sharks, rays and turtles swimming above your head as you sleep (on my bucket list).
Non-guests can visit the aquarium for free just by going into the hotel lobby, so don’t bother paying for a ticket (a secret I learned from a friend).
9. Lingshui Bay (Clearwater Bay)
Lingshui Bay (sometimes referred to as Qingshui Bay) is a small beach area east of Haiting Bay. here you’ll find lots of serviced apartments, lush tropical gardens and a beach lined with palm trees.
The area around Lingshui Bay doesn’t see many foreign tourists and is primarily a resort aimed at the Chinese market, so don’t expect anyone to speak much English. I’m only including it as I had a brilliant stay at the Coral Palace and would recommend it as a good option if you want to escape the busier areas.
Best Hotels in Lingshui Bay
Budget: Lingshui Coral Palace ⭐⭐
After my week at the Sanya Backpacker’s Hostel in Dadonghai, I treated myself to a few days at a serviced apartment (like a hotel room but with a kitchen and washing machine) farther down the coast at Lingshui Bay.
The Coral Palace was a fantastic place to work with high-speed WiFi, a balcony overlooking the lush tropical gardens and beach, and a huge pool area. What’s more the room only cost me around ¥200 per night ($27.00). I highly recommend this great Sanya apartment for anyone looking to escape the city.
10. West Island
West Island (Xi Dao) is a small island just off the Tianya coastline and only reachable by ferry. The island is home to a traditional ethnic fishing community and also serves as a major tourist destination (however it’s less busy than the more popular Wuzhizhou Island).
Best Hotels on West Island
Budget: Island Within Island Homestay ⭐⭐
This unique homestay on West Island offers clean, comfortable and private rooms with an en-suite bathroom in the small fishing village of the island. The homestay can arrange a wide variety of outdoor activities from diving and rock climbing to exploring traditional villages.
11. Wuzhizou Island
Wuzhizhou Island is located a 30-minute ferry journey from Houhai village in Haiting Bay and offers a wide range of waterborne activities from diving and snorkelling to boat trips, sailing and more. There are some pleasant hiking trails across the island and mile upon mile of golden, sandy beach and pristine waters.
I took a day trip to Wuzhizhou but there is one large resort on the island where you can stay for an extended visit.
Best Hotels on Wuzhizhou Island
Mid-range: Coral Hotel Sanya Wuzhizhou Island ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This large resort on Wuzhizhou Island is a fantastic place to stay to really escape and live out that Robinson Crusoe fantasty. With miles of palm-fringed golden beach and some of the clearest waters in Sanya (visibility is up to 27 metres), a stay on Wuzhizhou Island won’t disappoint.
There are different guest rooms and suites to choose from with garden and ocean views, poolside and more. All rooms come with air-con, en-suite bathroom and free WiFi. There are bars, restaurants and cafes on site and around the island.
Getting Around Sanya
Sanya is a small city and the downtown area can be explored on foot. Sanya Bay is over 13km long so unless you fancy a trek, it’s not possible to walk the whole beach.
When I first arrived in Sanya I hired an eBike (lots of places in Dadonghai that do rentals for 50 per day) and then eventually bought one. This is by far one of the best ways to get around and opens up a lot more options in terms of where you can go.
Sanya has plentiful buses covering the city and suburbs beyond. There are services to Haiting Bay, Houhai, Tianya and more. See this transport guide for more info.
Sanya has plentiful taxis and they are a great way to get around for relatively cheap. Base fares start from ¥10 ($1.40).
There is a tram service that goes between Sanya Railway Station and the downtown area and the beach. You can see the full route here.
Getting to Sanya
There are two main options for getting to Sanya, flying and train. Sanya Phoenix International Airport is located 15km northwest of the city and there are buses and taxis into town.
There are daily trains from Beijing and Guangzhou to Sanya. The train is put onto a ferry to get to Hainan Island. The Journey time from Guangzhou is 16 hours and from Beijing 38 hours.
Things to do in Sanya
There is so much to do in and around Sanya from lounging at the beach to surfing, diving, jungle treks, tribal villages and more.
Hit the beach
Explore West Island
Explore Wuzhizhou Island
Go Surfing at Houhai
Visit the Sanya Mangrove Forest Park
Have a meal at Casamia
Explore Linchunling Forest Park
Yalong Bay Tropical Forest Park
Things you shouldn’t do in Sanya
Take it from a (former) local and avoid these tourist traps:
Tianya Haijou Scenic Area – Overpriced beach area. You can go to plenty of palm-fringed beaches around Sanya for free.
Nanshan Cultural Tourist Area – A large Buddha statue with no historical or cultural significance (built in 2005).
Luhuitou Park – an underwhelming and overpriced park. There are some nice views, but better can be had from Linchunling Forest Park, which is free.
Read my full guide to Sanya for more info on the best things to do.
Now you know where to stay in Sanya which area will you choose? From the hip areas of Dadonghai and Houhai to the relaxing resorts of Yalong Bay, there is something to suit all budgets. I hope you have found this guide to the best hotels in Sanya useful. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments.
About the author:
Steve Rohan is a writer from Essex, England. He has travelled to over 60 countries, lived in China and Hong Kong, and is now living the digital nomad life on the road.
Steve prefers “slow travel” and has covered much of Europe and Asia by train, bus and boat.
Where I am now: Turkey 🇹🇷