Thanks to the tropical climate, it’s common to see sunny skies all year round in Sanya. But the powerful sun can take its toll on the paradise many call the “Hawaii of China.” The antidote: a refreshing cocktail, enjoyed with sand between your toes at the beach, by the pool or on a rooftop with stunning views of the South China Sea.
From Haitang Bay down to Yalong Bay, we’ve scoped out the best cocktail bars in this paradise to ensure you’re relaxed and refreshed on your next beach holiday.
Walking into the entrance of The Sanya Edition is like entering an alternate universe. Proceed straight ahead and you’ll encounter an enormous bamboo forest that fills the otherwise minimalist Japanese space.
But don’t get distracted — you’re here for a drink. Make your way to the elevator and whiz up to Sky Bar. With indoor and outdoor seating, the versatile bar promises vistas of the massive resort and, often, live acts from high-profile DJs.
Inside, a mesmerizing light installation resembles the stars overhead, while outside lounge areas offer more privacy.
The cocktails are world-class, incorporating surprising ingredients and unconventional techniques to revamp beloved classics. We recommend the Maker’s New Fashion (Maker’s Mark, maple syrup, Angostura bitters and bacon) or the Lemongrass and Coconut (lemongrass, gummi syrup, silver rum, coconut milk and lime juice) — both go down extra easy when paired with a side of Australian beef and foie gras mini burgers, New Orleans-roasted chicken wings or fresh Tasmanian oysters.
Hai Infinity Pool & Bar
Sitting on the 13th floor of Rosewood Sanya, this stellar poolside bar is one of the coolest perches on Hainan Island. There are panoramic sea views, sunken lounges and a spectacular 360-foot-long infinity pool.
But the idyllic setting isn’t the only draw: Hai also serves up excellent contemporary Asian cuisine — think Chinese pot stickers and soft-shell crab sliders — as well as creative cocktails.
There’s a not-to-miss Hai G&T (made with gin blends, berries and East Imperial Burma tonic water), a refreshing beer margarita (gold tequila, lime and a splash of beer) and an avocado daiquiri (Plantation rum, avocado and lime) to complement classics like the Proper Negroni.
If sand underneath your toes is a requisite for a great beach bar and restaurant, then this waterfront spot will be your happy place. Located at The Ritz-Carlton Sanya, Yalong Bay, the open-air lounge and terrace overlooks the bay’s sparkling waters from a mix of intimate cabanas, high-tops and plush sofas.
As for the menu, we’d highly suggest visiting for a weekend dinner so you can indulge in the fresh Hainan Seafood BBQ and enjoy live music by the Boxer Band.
Tropical cocktails are a must here, particularly the signature piña colada and the refreshing coconut mojito.
Closer to the international airport and ideal for all-day lounging, InterContinental Sanya is home to this aptly named destination. Sitting beside the water, the rustic-chic bar is home to a slew of whimsical touches, from the swinging egg chairs to pillow-clad floor seating.
When it comes to cocktails, we suggest sticking to the classics — though a seasonal signature is also worth a try.
If it’s live blues you’re after, make a beeline to the luxurious Mandarin Oriental, Sanya and relax at this sultry lounge. This handsome, whisky-focused address promises a hefty list of single malts, classic cocktails and a well-stocked wine cellar.
On weekends, take in excellent live music, covering everything from swing to jazz.