22 January, 2015
Travel, Weddings

Sassy Destination Weddings: We check out AURA at the Kempinski Hotel Haitang Bay in Sanya!

22 January, 2015
If you’re a bride-to-be living in Hong Kong, you’re pretty much spoilt for choice when it comes to destination weddings. Our That Brides have said “I do” everywhere from Kuala Lumpur to India to Thailand, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Well, if you’re getting ready to marry the man of your dreams and you’re about to take on the gigantic task of wedding planning, here’s one more destination to add to the shortlist of potential wedding venues: Sanya!Often referred to as China’s “Hawaii”, Sanya is just a 90-minute plane ride from Hong Kong, and provides an ideal tropical backdrop for a stunning wedding. We had the chance to visit the Kempinski Hotel Haitang Bay recently, and spent a relaxing weekend soaking in the rays while exploring the grounds and even stumbling upon a wedding in progress…

SETTING

The Kempinski Hotel Haitang Bay is a grand resort located on a pristine stretch of beach on Hainan Island, about a 40-minute ride from Sanya Phoenix International Airport. The first thing that strikes you when you enter the hotel is how massive the grounds are! There are 374 rooms and suites in total, 25 residential-style pool villas, two restaurants with 15 private dining rooms, a Wood Art Museum, two Qing Dynasty pagodas, a 1,200-metre-long seawater river and finally, and 18-holes golf putting green. Phew!

Dragon BoatWe spent the first few hours stumbling around in a daze, but once we found our bearings, it was pretty interesting to navigate the different aspects of the resort. You also start to realise that you need something to keep occupied on the resort grounds as it’s pretty much a dead zone immediately outside (you can however, rent bikes from the hotel and reach the town centre in half an hour).

The best way to describe the décor is traditional Chinese with an old European feel, with Venetian-style canals and bridges meandering through and around the main structure. Although you can tell the hotel isn’t in brand-new mint condition, it’s impressive to say the least and great for taking long, romantic strolls across the maze of bridges and serene river snaking its way through the resort grounds.

ACCOMMODATION & DINING

To say our room was too large for two people would be an understatement! The first floor encompassed a bathroom and living room, with the bedroom two flights of stairs up (I’m not sure what the practical purpose was for having an extra story in-between, but it made for good exercise!).

Bedroom-Premier Deluxe Suite Grand Ocean ViewThe bedrooms are intricately designed with classical Chinese décor and mahogany wood carvings – a beautiful blend of old and new that’s been a signature in all the Kempinskis I’ve visited. Each suite includes a private balcony and outdoor spa/bathtub for soaking in the views. You can also book a suite that offers a fully-equipped kitchen, butler services, a personal wine cellar and a sauna.

The two main dining options at Kempinski Haitang Bay are Yuen Court Chinese Restaurant, offering Cantonese, Sichuan and Hainan specialties, and Café K, an open kitchen experience with nine live cooking stations serving up international dishes. After settling into the hotel room, we chose to sample some of the exotic flavours at Café K, and were treated to the local specialty Hainan Chicken, as well as a tasty version of Nasi Goreng and with chicken peanut skewers:

IMG_8729We then grabbed a drink at the Lobby Lounge & Terrace, and headed down to the pool to lounge and soak in the sun. The lobby lounge has a gorgeous terrace that overlooks the pool, palms and South China Sea beyond, and is the ideal location for post-dinner drinks or leisurely afternoon sundowners. Down below, the sparkling pool – complete with bridges and a waterfall – has everything you could want for a lazy day of lounging.

IMG_8758

WEDDING VENUE

Now if you’re working on Save the Dates we’re getting to the most important part… the wedding venue! Awarded “Best Outdoor Wedding Chapel” by the Hotel Wedding Awards 2014, AURA at the Kempinski is the first and only beach front venue in Haitang Bay and hosts fashion shows, cocktail parties, corporate conventions, and of course weddings, year-round. The dreamy venue is enclosed by circular, floor-to-ceiling windows, bathing the interior in light and offering a spectacular view of sun, sky and sea for guests. Entrances can be accessed via the beach, by a path crossing an infinity pool or even via the venue’s helipad (one can dream, right?!).

AURA’s main hall is equipped with an advanced audio-visual system and can accommodate up to 60 guests, while the lower level is a multi-functional lobby including the lounges, storage rooms and dressing rooms. The wedding chapel spills out onto a pristinely manicured lawn which can easily accommodate an outdoor set-up – a great option given the balmy weather and stellar backdrop.

We just happened to stumble upon a traditional Chinese wedding Saturday night and stopped our late-evening stroll to take a peek:

IMG_8738The entire beach front venue encompasses 4,000 sq. meters, making Kempinski one of the only hotels on the island fully-equipped to handle large-scale ceremonies and parties. Of course, the highly-experienced team at Kempinski can work closely with you to plan your ideal wedding, including decor, themes, audio-visuals, catering and more!

AURA-front view

For a unique, special wedding that provides an escape from Hong Kong without travelling too far (and affordable flight tickets), the Kempinski Haitang Bay is a great option that covers all the key points: dedicated wedding chapel and expansive grounds available for outdoor ceremonies, ample rooms/suites for accommodation, plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained and a beautiful backdrop for sunbathing and relaxing. The Riviera-style resort really caters to everyone: whether it’s grabbing a beer in the Paulaner Biergarten (located in a 150-year-old Qing Dynasty house!) or taking a canal ride along the windy river, guests are sure to find something to tempt their fancy! This is a fantastic wedding destination option for gathering friends and family from all different backgrounds and cultures, as there’s truly something for everyone – all set against a beautiful backdrop that you’ll treasure long after saying “I Do”.

heart-pink

AURA Wedding Package: RMB59,999 + 15% surcharge includes one-night stay in 2-Bedroom Deluxe Pool Villa, BMW roundtrip transportation from airport for newlyweds, exclusive use of AURA for wedding ceremony, pavilion with fresh floral arrangement, aisle stand flowers, ballroom, live band, professional make-up, Master of Ceremony, complete audio equipment, wedding cake, champagne, and more.

Wood Art Museum Wedding Package: RMB199,999 + 15% surcharge includes 2-Bedroom Deluxe Pool Villa, BMW roundtrip transportation from airport for newlyweds, exclusive use of Wood Art Museum for wedding ceremony, one bridal bouquet, wedding cake, aisle stand flowers, Hainan local tea/wine, Master of Ceremony, 2-hour live band or Limian Minority performance, professional photos, professional make-up, classic Chinese set-up with fresh floral arrangement, and more.

For all wedding inquiries, contact:

Phone: +86 898 8865 5555 ext. 8860
Email: [email protected]

Kempinski Hotel Haitang Bay, No. 2 Haitang North Road, Haitang Bay, 572013, Sanya, +86 0 898 8865 5555, www.kempinski.com/en/sanya/hotel-haitang-bay

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