The bizarrely named Intime Resort (In time for what, exactly?) is one of those hotels that manages tosnatch defeat the jaws of victory. Great design, great facilities, landscaped gardens and good food, marred by the crass inability to get the easy things right. Try the witless service in any of the restaurants or any of the bars, where they present you with the bill the second your plate hits the table. What? Even in a Beijing taxi they are content for me to pay at the end, but at the 5-star Intime Resort? Forget it. Here the assumption is that the guests are going to run off without paying. Discrete, quiet staff? No. Here, vast numbers they constantly rattle around the hotel, pushing trolleys, moving furniture, like some post-modern industrial ant colony. It proved impossible to get away from the noise here. What should have been an oasis of tranquility in the beautiful gardens was a constant hubbub of busy staff. I felt like I was intruding in their space.
Unique Quality: The beach was equally noisy, thanks to the hotel's rental quad-bikes roaring up and down the beach, and the frequent flights of the microlight. At least it drowned out the irritating sound of the sea wahing on the coral sand. Wouldn't want nature to interfere in the business of making money now, would we?
This hotel is expensive, with rooms starting at US$155 - a shocking price when you think about it. You get twice the quality, twice the service and twice the ambience in any 3-star hotel anywhere else in Asia. The rooms are nice, but, well....ordinary. For US$155 you don't even get carpet in the room, and the bathroom toiletries are somewhat sparse. But the management is happy: this hotel is full year-round, because, quite frankly, it keeps the punters happy. They have no idea what Hawaii is like, and the growing middle classes often have no ability to determine good value. To most, the Intime will be a fabulous paradise, and they will continue to book ahead and fill those standard rooms at US$155 a night. Perhaps more bizarrely, I will probably also be back because I liked the location, the view, and those landscaped garden. I'm as big a sucker as the next person, and the other hotels in Sanya are probably no different!