Wine & Dine - - CONTENTS - —FJE

Desti­na­tions that will ig­nite your wan­der­lust

Set against the crys­talline waters and pris­tine sands of Haikou’s Clear­wa­ter Bay, Raf­fles Hainan is just the thing for dis­cern­ing trav­ellers in search of a lux­u­ri­ous beach­side va­ca­tion.

By the num­bers: 289 spa­cious rooms with a pri­vate bal­cony each; 32 sea-fac­ing vil­las with its own gar­den, ter­race, and plunge pool; and one Pres­i­den­tial Villa—the prop­erty’s sprawl­ing 1,300sqm pres­i­den­tial suite, com­plete with com­pre­hen­sive jacuzzi fa­cil­i­ties— that is billed as one of the is­land’s best.

From thought­fully dec­o­rated rooms and toys for fam­i­lies trav­el­ling with chil­dren, to bath tow­els rolled, folded and knot­ted into in­tri­cate sculp­tures—not your usual nap­kin swans here; think ele­phants, pea­cocks, dogs and even adorable lit­tle bun­nies—no de­tail is too small for Raf­fles’ le­gion of well-trained staff in mak­ing sure your stay is not just com­fort­able, but pleas­antly full of un­for­get­table mo­ments. And if you need fur­ther ev­i­dence of that, the house­keep­ing arse­nal also in­cludes nine types of pil­low; just ask your friendly house­keep­ing staff about their se­lec­tion.

That at­ten­tion to de­tail ex­tends to decor as well: vis­i­tors can ex­pect warm, earthy tones of teak, bronze and glass to greet them upon ar­rival, along­side tra­di­tional el­e­ments from Ba­li­nese art, Hainan’s own eth­nic tribes and con­tem­po­rary Chi­nese art pieces lin­ing the walls.

Gas­tro­nomic op­tions abound, with an eclectic ar­ray of F&B es­tab­lish­ments catered to both do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional tourists on of­fer. Choose from six on­site restau­rants and bars, which in­cludes Clear­wa­ter Bay Lounge, for lan­guorous af­ter­noon teas ac­com­pa­nied by mag­nif­i­cent views of the sea; the Long Bar, a homage to Raf­fles Sin­ga­pore’s own, which saw the cre­ation of the famed Sin­ga­pore Sling cock­tail; and fine din­ing Ital­ian restau­rant Sa­pori, helmed by chef de cui­sine Giuseppe Buono, for an ex­quis­ite meal un­der the stars. For more re­gional flavours, head to Bai Wei restau­rant, where ex­ec­u­tive chef Danny Dan dishes out Can­tonese and au­then­tic lo­cal del­i­ca­cies such as nour­ish­ing dou­ble-boiled soups, deca­dent poon choi, and crispy Wen­chang chicken in five, richly ap­pointed pri­vate din­ing pavil­ions.

We also note that Raf­fles Hainan is prov­ing it­self quite the events space, with a fully equipped 790sqm ballroom, seven smaller yet equally im­pres­sive func­tion rooms, plus an ex­pan­sive beach­front and pri­vate chapel per­fect for wed­dings or out­door soirees. And that’s not all: with a creative, highly re­spon­sive team on hand, Raf­fles Hainan can of­fer metic­u­lously crafted ex­pe­ri­ences, rang­ing from small-group yoga ses­sions on the prop­erty’s ex­clu­sive beach to Sin­ga­pore Sling tu­to­ri­als by mixol­o­gist Rita Liu and chef ’s ta­ble din­ners star­ring in­no­va­tive bites from chef Dan.

Look­ing to stretch your legs? For a day out in the sun, book a boat ride to the statepro­tected Nan­wan Mon­key Is­land, lo­cated just off the prop­erty’s coast­line, to spend the morn­ing among mis­chievous Ma­caque mon­keys. Oth­er­wise, con­sider Bin­langgu Hainan Li & Miao Cul­tural Her­itage Park, for a day of ex­pe­ri­en­tial dis­cov­ery sur­round­ing Hainan’s ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

From now un­til 20 Septem­ber, spe­cial rates for fam­i­lies and cou­ples are avail­able start­ing from CNY997, in­clu­sive of round trip trans­fers from Sanya In­ter­na­tional Phoenix Air­port. Al­ter­na­tively, Sin­ga­pore Air­lines’ low-cost arm Scoot flies to Haikou’s Meilan Air­port out of Changi Air­port five times a week.

This writer’s trip was spon­sored by Ac­corHo­tels and Scoot.

Clear­wa­ter Bay Av­enue, Yingzhou Town, Ling­shui County, Hainan, China. Tel: +86 898 8338 9888; raf­

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