Xiangshui Bay, China

Photo: Narada
Photo: Narada

After traveling for an endless number of hours—multiple flights, unexpected delays, and traffic once you landed—you’ve finally arrived at your resort. You sleepily climb out of the car and walk toward the lobby. You accept a glass of juice and start to answer check-in questions. But suddenly, you stop. Out of the corner of your eye, you catch a glimpse of turquoise. You turn to face the back of the reception area. A long pool runs toward the ocean. It stops only when it reaches the golden-sand beach and the emerald sea. It no longer matters how exhausted you are. You’ve arrived at your Asian paradise.

This postcard-worthy resort isn’t in Bali or Thailand. It’s not a new place in the Philippines or Malaysia. It’s not even in Southeast Asia. You’re actually in China, a country rarely described as beachy or tropical. But Hainan Island, in the South China Sea, is both of those things. China’s smallest and southernmost province is separated from the Leizhou Peninsula by the Qiongzhou Strait. Mountains, covered with Hainan white pines, fill the interior. Beaches line the coast. Without any large wild animals, frogs and skinks, butterflies and egrets rule the island. While the east coast was recently dubbed the Chinese Riviera.

You’re staying at the Narada Resort & Spa at Perfume Bay. It’s on Hainan Island’s southern coast, east of Sanya, at the foot of Nuiling Mountain. Gardens, fountains, and views of the sea are everywhere you look. Your villa is a little oasis. Floor-to-ceiling windows, neutral tones, crisp white linens, and a sleek bathroom are inside. While a plunge pool and plenty of outdoor living space are just beyond the glass doors. You can definitely decompress here.

After almost falling asleep on your sun lounger—the travel time is catching up with you—make yourself get up to explore the rest of the resort. Sip black tea in the tea lounge. Walk along the seemingly endless beach and watch crashing waves rush toward the shore. Make plans to go hiking or biking on the mountain tomorrow. Relax in the open-air lounge with a glass of wine. Listen to billiard and table tennis balls being hit nearby. Watch the pools’ floating lanterns light up at dusk. Then eat an early dinner before finally heading to bed. You have the rest of the week to enjoy your little paradise.

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