City Weekend - - Cover Story -

When you think of week­end trips away, Shen­zhen isn’t usu­ally the first place to pop in mind. The once small fish­ing vil­lage ex­pe­ri­enced a ma­jor eco­nomic boom in the 1970’s when China se­lected it to be used as the very first Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zone to test out mar­ket re­forms. Its close prox­im­ity to Hong Kong has since then, pushed the city to a bustling pop­u­la­tion of 14 mil­lion.

Of­ten re­ferred to as the Sil­i­con Val­ley of China, Shen­zhen doesn’t con­tain much of the his­tor­i­cal as­pects that at­tracts most vis­i­tors. In fact, most who travel there are do­ing so for work.

The city has at­tempted to at­tract tourists by cre­at­ing theme parks like Splen­did China Folk Cul­ture Vil­lage, which con­tains 25 “vil­lages” that show­case the cul­tures of China’s mi­nori­ties. Aside from cos­tumes and brief his­tory of the vil­lage writ­ten in Chi­nese, the park doesn’t of­fer much en­ter­tain­ment nor ed­u­ca­tional in­for­ma­tion for Western tourists. Their other at­tempt at a cul­tural theme park, Win­dow of the World, of­fers even more disappointment. Not only is there one right here in Bei­jing, the minia­ture repli­cas of famous sites around the world are poorly main­tained and very sad-look­ing.

So why Shen­zhen? Un­known to many, Shen­zhen’s newly cre­ated Dapeng New Dis­trict is China’s lat­est re­sort des­ti­na­tion. Yes. Re­sort. With its close prox­im­ity to Hong Kong, Golden Bay in Dapeng dis­trict is home to the same warm cli­mate and the same soft sand and blue beaches (but for a frac­tion of the price of pop­u­lar Sanya and with fewer tourists).

This scarcely pop­u­lated penin­sula is still home to a num­ber of fish­er­man who bring in fresh catches daily to the lo­cal restau­rants, mak­ing it a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion amongst seafood food­ies.

When we first vis­ited the newly opened Mar­riot Ho­tel Golden Bay we were shocked by its beau­ti­ful pri­vate beach, in­fin­ity pool, va­ri­ety of restau­rants, and hos­pitable staff. Were we in Shen­zhen or did we get on the wrong plane and ar­rive in Hawaii? While we do think that one needs to ex­pe­ri­ence the lo­cal cul­ture, we felt zero guilt about spend­ing an en­tire week­end in the com­fort of the ho­tel and around the Shen­zhen Golden Bay Vo­ca­tional Area, which of­fers world class en­ter­tain­ment, restau­rants, and pretty much any­thing we wanted.

Wak­ing up to blue sky and the sound of birds, you feel re­ju­ve­nated and ready to ex­plore. Well, sort of. The ho­tel’s 24-hour fit­ness cen­ter, in­door and out­door in­fin­ity pool with a view of the sea, spa, and for those trav­el­ling with kids, a kids’ club where they can play un­der the su­per­vi­sion of the ho­tel staff and make some new friends, makes it dif­fi­cult to want to leave the ho­tel.

Get soaked in the blue of the

in­fin­ity pool

Fill up on tasty foods

A taste of China's Hawaii Ex­pe­ri­ence a re­ju­ve­nat­ing week­end at Mar­riot Ho­tel Golden Bay

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