A yoga master
There are few places more idyllic to detox and revive than Mandarin Oriental, Sanya. Sprawled across the private beach of Coral Bay and overlooking the calm, cobalt-blue ocean, the resort is home to the only spa on Hainan Island that is licensed in Traditional Chinese Medicine. TCM is a very gentle, natural and ancient practice that aims to enhance the body's vital energy (chi) through herbal remedies, acupuncture, massage, exercise and nutrition. It's essentially about restoring harmony to the body and mind, encouraged by the lush wilderness of the island's stunning landscapes – the rolling Wuzhi mountain range and sugar-white beaches surrounded by tropical vegetation.
A double suite at The Spa
The wellness journey begins with the hotel's Detox Retreat programme and a private consultation with a TCM expert to welcome you into the world of Chinese therapy and identify any imbalances that might need addressing. When the talking's done, it's off to The Spa for a warm, calming herbal bath, followed by a traditional pressure-point massage with soothing organic oils and moxibustion – an ancient, detoxifying treatment involving the application of dried aromatic plants to the skin to stimulate circulation and warmth in the body. Fragrant and refreshed, you can then wander dreamily around The Spa's serene Secret Garden, sip a fresh detox juice and enjoy nutrient-rich cuisine from the Gourmet Healthy Delights menu on the private sun deck.
Steamed Hainan baby lobster with egg white
As food is a vital component of TCM's wellness philosophy, Mandarin Oriental, Sanya has collaborated with the acclaimed French naturopath Liliane Israel to create a menu of delicious dishes, specifically designed to set you on your way to achieving a healthy balance of yin and yang (feminine and masculine and energies). Depending on what you're working towards, the options vary between Light Delights for weight management or Vitality dishes packed with all the good stuff to make you feel as if you could run laps around the island.
Thankfully, you'll find no unappetising, gloopy-green smoothies here. Instead, you can enjoy mouth-watering, exotic options, such as braised tree chicken with mountain willow leaf, wok-fried Hainan Hele crab with yellow chilli, and steamed Hainan baby lobster with egg white. Best of all, if you're a fussy eater or not sure of the unfamiliar ingredients, you can mix and match as you please, as enjoyment takes priority over restriction and rules. In fact, the meals become even more pleasurable in the beautiful Pavilion and Yi Yong restaurants with their ocean or pool views.
One of the three main pools, Tranquillo
For health junkies or those who have recently been converted to the Zen lifestyle, The Spa provides plenty of other therapies to combine with the healing power of TCM – from the deeply spiritual Zen Tea Ceremony, led by Shaolin kung fu expert Master Hu, to private or group tai chi and qigong classes on the lawn, as well as an extensive programme of massages.
Outside The Spa, the Nantian Hot Springs are all about natural healing, too. The warm waters (averaging at a temperature of 57 degrees) contain minerals that nourish the body and leave your skin feeling soft, hydrated and glowing.