Club Med Sanya
The Destination: An all-inclusive resort in Sanya (AKA China’s Hawaii AKA Russia’s Sanya)
Damage: Rooms from around 4,000 HK (3,500rmb) per day for the holiday period, dropping to almost half that for Q1 2017. Pricing and booking at their webpage right here.
Now Booking: 384 rooms, including 2 presidential suites, 22 ocean view suites, 20 deluxe poolside rooms, 66 deluxe ocean view rooms, and 233 deluxe rooms "where guests can enjoy the French art of living in a tropical getaway". Ahhh, the French touch.
The Deal: Purchased by a Chinese investment conglomerate in 2015, the famously hedonistic French resort chain Club Med peaked in the Western public consciousness in the '70s and '80s but has since found a new life in this part of the world, re-oriented to appeal to China's new class of wealthy tourist families. They already have five in China but Club Med Sanya is the island's first "premium all-inclusive resort", which means with your room price comes... everything. Along with water sports like windsurfing and sailing, they also host daily trapeze classes, rock climbing, cycling, yoga, and tai chi lessons. For your kids, they've got a range of sports and a learning center, even including theatrical classes. All that on top of food and drink, which is of the lavish luxury hotel buffet variety, all entirely free-flow for the duration of your stay. It never ends. It's "all-included".
In addition to that, part of Club Med's thing is the employment of a troupe of G.O.'s (Gentle Organizer), who are on-hand to "serve, perform, instruct and lead activities, and share meals and memories with the guests." They're basically there to party with you, and they do so well into the night. Even if you roll solo, it's impossible to stay that way.
The Destination: This destination moves. It's a seventy-foot catamaran with five en-suite cabins for ten adults. Coming from Shanghai-based resort company naked, naked Sail is the charter yacht they run out of Phuket, Thailand.
Damage: I asked them how much. Duo shao qian for the yacht, son. They replied: "The regular price for this cruise, all inclusive charter is USD11000/day, with our introductory price on offer for your stay selling at USD5000/day, minimum 3 days stay. *Kindly note, this prices includes all food, beverage and activities during the charter period and all ground transportation in the city." CHUMP CHANGE.
Now Booking: The vessel consists of five en-suite cabins accommodating 10 adults. So just get a posse with your 9 closest, wealthiest friends and get in touch with them over their website. You know, get Puff Daddy, Master P, um...Jah Rule... Harry Potter... You know -- your rich buddies.
[Update:] naked Sail has been booked out for the holiday period until January 2. So... Merry Christmas Daniel friggin Radcliffe!
The Deal: naked Sail is luxury sailing around the Andaman Sea in customizable packages. Guests fly in and out of Phuket, Thailand, and then embark on a trip that hosts snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boards, seadoo's, jet ski, and scuba diving (upon request) from the ship, and jungle treks, secluded beaches, rock climbing, elephant rides, temples and ancient caves, resorts and spas when you venture inland. The boat comes with a gourmet chef, a bilingual Chinese and English-speaking hostess, and your Captain which is some dude who used to work at Barclay's Bank. For real.
You can call him Captain Ron. Or at least, for 5 G's a day he'd better let you.
Shanghai Disneyland Hotel / Toy Story Hotel
The Destination: The happiest place on earth is now hosting sleepovers. Shanghai's Disney Resort houses the "Disneyland Hotel" as well as the "Toy Story Hotel".
Damage: At the Disneyland Hotel, entry level rooms start from 1,750rmb per night, with club level rooms — the rooms with all the perks — starting at 2,600rmb per night. The suites — the "Magic Kingdom", "Sorcerer Suite", and "Fantasia Suite" — are up in the 4,250rmb range. Meanwhile, the Toy Story Hotel entry rooms start at 850rmb per night and max out at 2,250 a night for the "Park View". Online booking for the Disneyland Hotel is right here. Online booking for the Toy Story Hotel is right here.
Now Booking: It's the first Christmas at Shanghai's Disney Resort and they seem busy. We've been wrestling with the online booking for about an hour and have found sporadic vacancies for the period between December 24 to January 1 in all categories of rooms, besides the top-end suites at the Disneyland Hotel. The "Sorcerer Suite" and "Fantasia Suite" seem to be booked up for a little while. Some lucky Shanghai kid is going to have a very lux holiday indeed.
The Deal: So, the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel is Shanghai Disney Resort's main accommodations complex, with the Toy Story Hotel specifically tailored to fans of that franchise. The former is constructed in Art Nouveau style, accented with "touches of Disney magic" and located "on the shores of a shimmering lake". Very magical, right. It also features a palatial three-story lobby that recalls Beauty and the Beast, an indoor pool, and, of course, Disney character visits and play areas for the kids. Over at the Toy Story Hotel, they're offering more futuristic, cartoon-ish environs intended to take your kids “to infinity and beyond." Ah yeah.
Of course, in addition to being convenient for people, particularly those from out of town, looking to spend more than one day at the Disney Resort, the Disneyland Hotel is hosting some nice perks for people who are staying in "Club Level" rooms — including breakfasts, visits from Disney characters, and even a "bedtime story" service.
Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort
The Destination: In 2014, when Xi Jinping decried the proliferation of "weird buildings" in China's major urban centers, everyone surmised he was talking about the CCTV building in Beijing, the various SOHO buildings transporting in from another dimension into Beijing and Shanghai, and this one right here: the Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort in Huzhou, China, near Hangzhou and 150 kilometers away from Shanghai.
Damage: Rooms at the "Horseshoe Hotel" are available from 1,500rmb a night... to 56,100rmb per night for the "Presidential suite, non-smoking: 2 King Beds". SOUNDS REASONABLE. I bet they'd let you smoke in there.
Now Booking: The Sheraton Huzhou contains 321 rooms, 37 villas, 40 suites, and a presidential suite, with vacancies in all categories of rooms, from Duplex Villas to Private Pool Villas to studio suites, to apartment suites, to executive rooms and more. Book through their website right here.
The Deal: With two levels running underground to create a complete oval, and 27 floors above water, the Sheraton Huzhou is directly intended to entice China’s growing population of luxury travelers. The interiors of this place look like the sets of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, so much so that I'm not really sure the whole thing isn't just created on blue screen. Aesthetically, it's a pure and unapologetic celebration of wealth: "Jade, a symbol of elegance and pureness in Chinese culture, is found throughout the hotel. The lobby’s floor is paved with Afghanistan White Jade and features Tiger’s Eye Stone from Brazil, while the porticos and the entire ceiling are laid with Citrine, a jade that symbolizes wealth. Additionally, the lobby ceiling is decorated with 20,000 Swarovski and European natural crystal lamps which are suspended in a way intended to resemble a rolling wave."
Kinda like my apartment! 20,000 Swarovski crystal lamps intended to resemble a rolling wave!
The central amenity — the amenity among the thousands of amenities — is the Hot Spring Center, which is where Ra's al Ghul himself maintains his youthful constitution. Ra's al Ghul says: two thumbs way up.
Love Swan Hotel
The Destination: City of love: Wuhan. Wuhan is indeed the city of love — if you stay entirely inside the "Love Swan" Love Hotel and never ever venture outside.
Damage: Rooms start from 200rmb a night — Never change, Wuhan! — but it's generally around 450rmb a night for one of the good ones.
Now Booking: Love Me offers 30 entirely different rooms ranging in theme from the always popular Hello Kitty-themed room to the equally as popular Frozen-themed room. Have they got the copyright approval? Oh, sure. Very likely. Maybe. Some are a bit crappier than others; 98% of them have giant hearts on the wall somewhere and rose petals scattered throughout; most have bath tubs in the living rooms; one has a stripper pole in it; view them all right here.
The Deal: Shanghai has its own "Love Hotels", yes — Valentine's Day and date night accommodations for China's young people looking to inject a little fun and excitement into their relationships — but Wuhan's Love Swan is a class above. It's like the inside of Princess Peach's brain. It's an orgiastic carnival of pink and plush, each room more insane and cloying than the last. It's demented fun. You could do worse with your holidays than spend three nights in three different rooms at Love Me, slowly losing your mind against the cotton candy carnage of this destination hotel. Plus in Wuhan you could... no there's nothing to see in Wuhan. Except Wuhan Prison.
All pictures from the individual venues.