Destinations Magazine

Who's Calling?... Wanning, China!

By Josephharrison1990 @JTAH_1990

Wanning was the next place on my Hainan Island tour, I already had high expectations for my hotel because was about to fool me with those photos! Infinity pool that hotel did serve, only the breakfast saved its own grace! A boat trip? Oh, let me get into that in more depth because things got deep! BBQ? Baby, I ensured that I was served something different! No, 万宁! 

Who's Calling?... Wanning, China!

I had accepted my previous accommodations faults and made the very best of the those surroundings, I was prepared to do the same with my second and final China Highlights booked hotel on Hainan Island. had already done its job, those photos lulled me into a false sense of hope because that 'Banshan Banhai Hotel' was something else entirely! First impressions count, they did during my first encounter with that sea facing hotel because from the outside things were looking fancy! Climbing a set of wooden steps revealed a small kitchen area, communal it did look? I wasn't bothered by that but it was quite a strange feature, nevertheless the room itself looked as if it hadn't been renovated in a few years! I completely understood the Pandemic had battered the hospitality industry in China with certain measures in place. My reasoning didn't need to include that because those photos were well out of date! I respectfully asked to speak to the manager, I went Karen because I felt really cheated! 

I respected that it wasn't the Guest Service Managers problem, I calmly explained that the hotel stood in disrepair as it looked like a cat had clawed its nails down the material covered headboard. I was swiftly escorted over to the sea facing rooms with something of an upgrade furnished to me, I was appreciative for the that room change. The bath on the balcony was a great touch with the view stunning as ever. It was just a pure shame that the hotel hadn't been refurbished, the overall feel of the property felt quite fancy but that was when those evident shortcomings were removed out of view. Embracing that situation, I thanked the staff member for their help and did my best to enjoy the room. I knew in that moment my budget wouldn't afford me the Sheraton nor Le Meridian but I expected something reasonable. Putting this hotel stay down to experience was the right thing to do, Wanning saw me calling the manager! I needed a drink and a change of scenery but not before a dip in the hotels own infinity pool! Chill!

Who's Calling?... Wanning, China!

My afternoon at that Wanning located hotel was a merry one, I packed my cans of beer and took myself to the infinity pool. I loved my leisurely swim and of course I got a little boozy because as per usual there was no pool bar present, having my own provisions paid off big time! Those ocean blue waters looked mighty fine with nothing but gorgeous coastline and sea for miles, I was reminded that regardless of the hotel drama I was in a rather beautiful place. After heading back to my room from the pool, I already knew that I needed a beverage or five. That hotel check-in had taken it out of me, I consulted my go-to APP and found that not faraway from the hotel was a 'Casa Corona'. Dressed in my best outfit, I took a taxi from my hotel to the pinned location on my taxi navigation, I would have some fun trying to find that beach-side hangout. I didn't know that Casa Corona was located within the grounds of the Sheraton Hotel? I was lucky enough to get a buggy ride from my taxi drop off location, a staff member saw me looking lost.

I told him 'Casa Corona' and he thankfully understood me, then I saw how the other half of Wanning were spending their holiday. Another staff member directed me from the main entrance to a door, I walked down a series of stone steps to be greeted with the pool area. No signs were present, all I had to go by was the Casa Corona I had visited in Fuzhou but things were looking dramatically different. Getting my first cocktail down my neck at a beachfront bar was the thing to do, feeling more chilled out I was able to find the real Casa Corona. I enjoyed a lovely pizza, it was magic to get out of the hotel for the night! I hit those Negroni mixed drinks and then some! Leaving those money worries for when I got back to Ningbo, I spent my WeChat money on those drinks like never before! Ice cream? I went to town, finding an ice cream fridge with a WeChat QR Code scan I thought I was clever to take three ice creams out and close the door fast! I was charged for all of the ice creams but I didn't care, I enjoyed my icy feast! To bed! 

Who's Calling?... Wanning, China!

Those cocktails had my head feeling tender the next day, I dreaded the fact that I was going on a boat trip that morning! I almost called the whole thing off, I thought that I was going on a scuba diving trip? I was not comfortable with that prospect, hungover and doing something that I had never done before? No chance! The boat set off, I couldn't deny that the waters surrounding the jetties looked amazing! I had no idea what to expect, for me I was content to just catch a tan and nothing else! All I wanted to do was have a little swim in the sea, so to get rid of my annoying hangover. After about twenty minutes at sea, then we arrived near an island that I remembered reading about on my itinerary. The guys who were manning the boat told that I would need to wear a life-jacket if I wanted to get into the water. I thought about all of those boat trips that I had been on in Türkiye and couldn't remember having to wear a life-jacket? I am a confident swimmer and in that moment I felt as if their safety precautions were way over the top! Really?

I did have a small swim in the sea but to save any arguments I climbed back onto the boat. For the remainder of the boat trip I sat at the back of the boat with my opinions kept to myself and my eyes firmly on the views. The boat sailed through some perfectly blue waters, I enjoyed the view and that didn't cost me anything extra. The other people on the boat enjoyed the activities whilst our anchor had been dropped, I chose not to. The boat trip was an experience, I was surprised to hear one of the boat-hands tell a woman that lunch wasn't included in their package. I was straight onto my Travel Advisor to ask that burning question because the boat trip had been something that I wasn't expecting, maybe not for the best. I am not moaning nor want to sound ungrateful, it now stands as a learning lesson that I will now take my extended breaks outside of China. Of course, I chose to visit Hainan for a reason, I got the whole experience for sure! The next activity, how I already wanted to swerve it! Politely, of course! Go! 

Who's Calling?... Wanning, China!

After a quick chat with my Travel Advisor from China Highlights, my driver took me to this beach. By that time I was absolutely starving but what I was about to be served really had me in my feelings. I had already decided against doing the body boarding lesson because it didn't feel right for me and I had given the boat trip a chance, albeit the crazy rules regarding the life-jacket I had appreciated the views. As for the BBQ that was served to me, that really was something that I wasn't expecting. It was some kind of communal plate with four people sharing the same tray, I was not feeling that shared situation. I declined the offer of beers and asked the driver to take me back to my hotel. I spent the rest of the afternoon in my hotel room, to be honest I had timed it right because a tropical rainstorm passed through as I sat on my balcony. I loved how the outside looked sunny one moment and then stormy the next, it made for interesting viewing. I was determined to find a more palatable BBQ that evening, not to share though! I wasn't well! 

Taking myself out of my hotel room that evening was something else, I needed to rest before heading to Sanya the next day but I needed to eat! I found a small outdoor BBQ stand down the way from my hotel, it was near enough for me to walk there from my hotel in a few minutes. I ordered a huge plate of skewers and a baked aubergine, I explained the quality of the BBQ I had been served earlier that day and the father and son team were shocked. The son who was about my age was very chatty, he was very intrigued to ask where I was from? He said that if he spoke English he would've asked me more questions. I really appreciated that he didn't look at me as people in Beijing had or even in that Wanning hotel, he gave me the time of day and asked me where I was from. Not assuming that I'm some alien who had just stepped down from my spaceship from the planet Zogg! I left that BBQ stall with a full stomach and warm heart, the coconut water from next door tasted as fresh as ever! Wanning served many hidden surprises! 

Sanya's Up Next! 

Desperately Seeking Adventure

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