Following our 75 minute flight from Hong Kong, we arrived at Phoenix International Airport in Sanya, Hainan – not to be confused with Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport in the United States.
And for once in China an airport terminal that didn’t look pretty much like every other airport in the country. The terminal was open air – no air conditioning. There was wood rather than steel, openings in the wall rather than windows. There were palm trees and plumeria trees outside. It felt like we had arrived in the tropics
Which we had.
We were taken by bus to the newly opened Renaissance Sanya Resort & Spa at Taitong Bay, Hainan, China. The trip look just under an hour.
Arrival at the Hotel
First impressions count, and my first impression of the Renaissance was “palatial”. Set amid tropically landscaped grounds, this low rise resort features pan-Asian roof lines topped with burnt orange glazed tiles – reminiscent of the Imperial Palace in Beijing.
Except that the tiles themselves were flat rather than tubular, and diamond shaped rather than oblong. They appeared to be inspired by traditional Thai temple – rather than Chinese temple – architecture that we are hearing so much about these days.
When I asked, my suspicions were confirmed. This was the much in vogue pan-Asian, rather than country specific, Asian influnced architecture.
There were quick introductions in the lobby. No speeches, no briefings, no tours of the property.
Unlike most press trips, which can be so tightly packed that you hardly have time to think – let along check your email or go to the bathroom – we were told that the rest of the afternoon was “at leisure”.
We were given a schedule of OPTIONAL activities and asked to gather in the Presidential Suite – the largest suite of its type in China – at 5.30 for cocktails. This would be followed by dinner and more “free time” in the evening.