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Island Adventures

Dubbed China’s Hawaii, the island of Hainan is a tourist’s dream, a place of beautiful beaches, tropical nature preserves, exceptional seafood, hot springs, championship golf courses and high-end shopping. Its capital, Haikou, is a thriving metropolis, with all the history and culture that comes along with big-city life. Here’s how to get the best of both worlds.

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Day

1

MORNING
  • Pastries to Go.

    On your way out, stop by The Ritz-Carlton, Haikou’s Patisserie, in the lobby, for exquisite breakfast pastries, confections and coffee. 

  • Hit the Beach.

    The aptly named Holiday Beach is Haikou’s top public beach, with nearly 4 miles of white sand to enjoy the azure-blue water, tropical breezes and palm trees. Stake your claim at one of the rentable beach umbrellas, complete with beach chairs, and relax or explore from there. Swimming, sea kayaking, riding personal watercraft, sailing
    and fishing are all in play.

MIDDAY
  • Explore Qilou Street.

    As the only area in Haikou where the old buildings have been preserved, this is the perfect place to experience the region’s authentic atmosphere. Peruse the variety of shops and explore the bustling Dongmen market.

AFTERNOON
  • Go Back in Time.

    Visit the Temple of Five Lords, also known as Wugong Ci, for a glimpse of ancient Chinese architecture and sculpture during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). The grounds are stunning, with winding walkways, exotic flowers and ponds dotted with lily pads.

  • Explore Volcanoes.

    At Haikou Volcanic Cluster Global Geopark, 9 miles west of Haikou, more than 40 volcanoes lie dormant, covered in a dense blanket of tropical trees including banyans, lychee and pear blossom. Make your way to Fengluling (“Furnace Mountain”), a 730-foot volcano with a series of steps to peer into its crater. Be sure to walk the surreal Basalt Garden Corridor, and check out the lava rock villages.

EVENING
  • A Dinner to Remember.

    Dine at the park’s Volcano Restaurant for authentic local dishes prepared in a tranquil garden setting. Afterward, enjoy a moving live performance by Li and Miao ethnic folk dancers. 

Day

2

MORNING
  • Tee Time.

    The Ritz-Carlton, Haikou sits on the Mission Hills golf resort, where you’ll find 10 18-hole championship courses set in Hainan’s lush tropical landscape and ideal climate. Not a golfer? There’s no better place to learn. The Golf Academy opens at 8:30 a.m. 

MIDDAY
  • Unwind.

    Visit the hotel’s well-appointed spa and fitness center for the Golfer’s Retreat, designed to release tension in the back and neck, and revitalize legs and feet. After the foot soak, scrub and hot-stone massage, you’ll do outdoor yoga to increase flexibility and mental focus.   

AFTERNOON
  • Island Bird Haven.

    Head to Dongzhai Harbor to see China’s largest mangrove preserve, 8,245 acres of tropical wetlands that are home to 159 species of birds. Don’t miss the nearby Submarine Villages, where you can swim and dive in the well-preserved remains of 72 ancient villages that were submerged by a massive earthquake in 1605.

  • Seaside Lunch.

    Dongzhai Harbor is a delightful place to eat, with several small port villages and numerous restaurants at the ready to share the area’s specialty: succulent oysters harvested directly from the shallow harbor.

EVENING
  • One-of-a-Kind Dining.

    Head to Tin Lung Heen at The Ritz-Carlton, Haikou for dinner. Partake in authentic Chinese culinary traditions with a family style dinner, specially prepared by Chef Alan Chen.

  • Late-Night Hotspot.

    Lan Kwai Fong is a 21st-century version of the famed Hong Kong bar strip. Don’t miss Birdcage, a Polynesian-style Tiki bar with killer cocktails.

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Day

3

MORNING
  • Breakfast in Bed.

    Ring The Ritz-Carlton, Haikou’s room service for breakfast in bed from Terra, the hotel’s contemporary kitchen serving up the best of both Chinese and western cuisines.

MIDDAY
  • Essential Sightseeing.

    Visit the Tomb of Hairui, an official of the Ming Dynasty famous for his incorruptible character. Built in 1589, the granite tomb is lined with ancient stone statues and memorials. Also on the property, you’ll find the Hairui Cultural Exhibit Hall, an ornate landmark building. 

AFTERNOON
  • The Real Coconut City.

    Dongjiao Coconut Plantation is a bit outside of the city but worth a visit for nature lovers. Walk winding trails through a massive forest of every type of coconut tree, relax on pristine beaches and dive into the world-class seafood of the town of Dongjiao. Check with the concierge at The Ritz-Carlton, Haikou to arrange transportation. 

  • Volcanic Hot Springs

    Mission Hills is home to Haikou’s largest natural volcanic mineral hot springs with nearly 200 hot- and cold-water pools. Each pool has a therapeutic health benefit, infused with its own unique blend of herbs, like ginseng or lavender, and its own healing modality like waterfalls or mud. 

EVENING
  • Drinks at Sunset.

    Watch the tropical sunset over the golf course at Flair’s chic rooftop lounge with a handcrafted cocktail and perhaps some Asian-style tapas. 

  • Farewell Dinner.

    The Ritz-Carlton, Haikou’s Tin Lung Heen accentuates a classic interior design with a backdrop wall of abstract Chinese landscape embroidery artwork that gracefully echoes a low key, classy setting.  Diners can enjoy the best of the highly-revered Cantonese cuisine as well as regional delicacies while listening to a master recite classic T’ang Dynasty poetry.