When I started my search for romantic things to do in Xiamen and Googled "romantic things to do in Xiamen, China", the University of Xiamen and budget backpacker capsules were the main recommendations and neither really appealed to us. Even when asking locals for romantic recommendations during our stay in Xiamen, their first suggestion would be the University of Xiamen. I later found out it is seen as being a romantic place to visit because of the beautiful lake in the middle of the university. We walked past it as we were in the area at one stage, thinking we'd have a look at what the fuss was about but the queue was very long. We didn't personally like the idea of a lake in a university THAT much that we were willing to queue for it :P
Using my own special formula for planning a heavenly romantic escape (no matter the budget), we found a few wonderful romantic recommendations that made our time in Xiamen really memorable. They are:
1. The romantic hot springs of Riyuegu Hotsprings Resort
One of the tea flavored pools have a big tea pot pouring water into it!
Relaxing in these hot springs was by far our favorite romantic thing to do in Xiamen. These hot springs were unlike any others we've experienced before - what truly sets them apart is that each one (and there are many to choose from) has its own unique fragrance and health benefits!
The wonderful aromas and their descriptions (which are displayed on signs next to the springs) include: Pineapple Springs: "The strongly scented, sweet flesh of the pineapple has detoxifying properties. Many have known its cosmetic properties for years and used its juice to purify, energize, and brighten the skin." Ginger Tea: "A great warming, stimulating, yet grounding root, Ginger brings increased circulation to the extremities and strengthens the respiratory and immune system."
Coffee Pot: "A perfect brew of the finest coffee in natural hot spring water... Stimulates the senses, relieves fatigue and allows the mind to concentrate." Each hot spring also has its own unique shape and they even vary in temperature! Temperatures range from icy cold plunge pools to steaming hot tubs.
Each hot spring has its own unique shape too!
One of the tea flavored pools has a big teapot pouring water into it!
One of the icy plunge pools is the Iced Floral Tea one that is described as follows: "This ice cold floral tea concoction will awaken your senses and increase immunity." My personal favorite is definitely the lemon hot spring. This little gem was glimmering in the sunlight and the smell was fresh and inviting. I shared a photo of it on our Instagram page:
We couldn't believe that this paradise had so few tourists while we were there and felt extremely fortunate to have found it!
The stunning gardens of Riyuegu Hotsprings Resort really adds to this romantic gem for nature lovers. There are various huts on the property that offer their own unique spa experiences too.
Travel tips for going there:
You are not allowed to take a camera into the facility but you are allowed to take your mobile phone so investing in a waterproof pouch for your phone is recommended!
It's advisable to take a swimming cap as there is one pool that you are only allowed to enjoy with a swimming cap on. It's worth buying for your trip to Xiamen as many of the hotels request that you wear a swimming cap when swimming in their pools.
2. Spectacular Conrad Xiamen Hotel
$$$ = Luxury Accommodation
The two towers of the Conrad Xiamen Hotel are just as spectacular on the outside as it is on the inside.
We stayed in a lot of hotels during our time in Xiamen because they all had different facilities that we wanted to enjoy as a couple and it was very difficult for us to choose between the amazing accommodation options Xiamen has to offer!
We splurged a little by treating ourselves to two nights in the amazingly luxurious Conrad Xiamen Hotel. Incredible sky-high ocean views can be seen from the many floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the hotel. Booking this romantic gem well worth it! Our bedroom and bathroom had gorgeous views of the city and mountains that we enjoyed staring at every night before falling asleep and every morning when waking up. It was truly heavenly - I've never experienced an infinity bath before this trip!
We booked a mountain view room through booking.com and loved every minute of it. The views from the infinity bath in the mountain view rooms are just incredible.
There are even more incredible views to enjoy from the pool and the smaller, warmer pool next to it.
The floor to ceiling windows of the pool.
The pool day beds are stunning too and a wonderful spot to sit back and relax.
The romantic dining options of Conrad Xiamen Hotel also feature breathtaking views.
While splurging on this beautiful accommodation, we saved money by eating cheaper in the mall next door and the little street cafes in the roads surrounding the hotel. If you don't mind splurging on food, we recommend the high tea experience that the hotel offers - we admired the other couples that were enjoying it!
I can't recommend a romantic stay in this hotel enough - it's by far one of the most incredible hotels we've stayed in throughout all of our travels and we find ourselves comparing any luxury hotels we are thinking of booking to what we experienced here!
3. A scenic walkway ideal for a romantic stroll at sunset
Close to Conrad Xiamen Hotel, is a romantic walkway that has been built just under the ocean road in Xiamen. This is what the walking path looks like from one of the many floor to ceiling views of Conrad Xiamen Hotel. It's the white path that extends the furthest into the ocean.
Just across the road from the Conrad Xiamen Hotel, in the direction of the ocean, is a path that leads to a romantic walkway that was built overhanging the beach and ocean. It's absolutely stunning during sunset.
The start of the path just under the ocean road.
The highways built above it and the water views beneath it makes it seem surreal and gives it that feeling of stepping into another world.
Sunset view of Gulangyu Island from the walking path.
4. Romantic accommodation Swiss Grand Xiamen
$$ = Mid Range Accommodation
Image credit: Booking.com
I fell in love with this hotel when I saw the unique dining areas that they have on top of a man-made waterfall with stunning views of the ocean. The rooftop pool also looked absolutely stunning. Unfortunately Xiamen was struck by a typhoon before we arrived which severely damaged these unique hotel features and it wasn't fixed yet when we stayed there. We would book this hotel again in a heartbeat but recommend that you call them before booking to check that the hotel features you are hoping to enjoy most, are available and repaired after the typhoon.
We shared a kiss next to the man made waterfall outside of Swiss Grand Xiamen.
Travel tip for staying here: The hotel has an executive lounge with breathtaking ocean and island views - it's absolutely worth splurging a little extra to get access to it.
The executive lounge is worth well the investment! The view from the windows will be more crisp once the hotel recovers from being struck by the typhoon that struck just before we were there in December 2016.
6. Hotel Indigo Xiamen Harbour $$ = Mid Range Accommodation
Sunset view from the outdoor terrace of Hotel Indigo Xiamen Harbour.
We picked this hotel for the beautiful views we could enjoy from the open air terrace, the rooms and restaurant! It was just as wonderful as we had hoped.
Views from the restaurant of Hotel Indigo Xiamen Harbour during breakfast.
We planned to go on an excursion to nearby Gulangyu Island which was recommended to us as a great day trip for couple travelers. Being only fluent in speaking English and Afrikaans, we experienced difficulties in communicating with people during our trip which made figuring out how to the island a little tricky. The staff at the hotel were very friendly and patient in helping us to organise a trip to the island but unfortunately one of us became sick and we couldn't go through with the booking. We could see that the island was packed with tourists but we'd still like to try and go one day. Travel tips for Xiamen:
If you think the language barrier will be a problem for you too, download the mobile app Google Translate. It helped us heaps.
It helps to ask hotel staff or airport staff to write hotel names or destinations you plan on visiting in Chinese for the taxi drivers to read. We don't recommend self-driving in China.
6. Strolling and dining
We enjoyed these interesting looking ice-creams from McDonalds while walking the streets.
It's fun to stroll through the shopping streets of Xiamen where you can buy each other little souvenirs and try the tasty variety of local street food. The shopping street we recommend is Zhongshan Pedestrian Street (中山路步行街) which is open until late at night. Zhongshan Pedestrian Street crosses Lujiang Road in Siming which has wonderful scenic views of the harbour. There's plenty of touristy restaurants along the road. One of our favorites is a rooftop Japanese restaurant located next to the upper level of Starbucks in Lujiang street. These roads are a short walk from Hotel Indigo and Swiss Grand Xiamen.
Look for the rooftop Japanese restaurant next to Starbucks in Lujiang Road. The night time city views are beautiful.
The food is some of the best Japanese cuisine we've had! I couldn't get enough of the Pork Udon and the hot pots looked to be a popular and tasty choice among other patrons. Most of the hotels we've listed in this blog offers both Western cuisine and Chinese cuisine restaurants on site and there's plenty of opportunities to try out dishes that are unique to China. Some dishes I've never tried before coming to Xiamen include duck feet, large clams, raw hering (which is now a favorite of mine!) and turtle. Hubby wasn't so keen on any of those options so he stuck to more of the Western dishes such as spaghetti bolognaise!
We found that exploring the streets together is a wonderful way to discover a culture of a destination you aren't familiar with. We loved seeing many things together for the first time that we've never seen before. Here's a few of my favorite snaps from exploring the streets:
6. C&D Hotel $ = Budget to Mid Range Accommodation
View from our hotel room. The hotel has beautiful gardens to explore which was one of the reasons I booked it but as I got sick during the trip I was too weak to fully explore it.
This was such a wonderful budget to mid range hotel to stay in! Wonderful service, beautiful rooms, stunning views and great food. Xiamen is famous for its abundance of seafood and the seafood buffet at this hotel (or any of their buffets for that matter!) was just wow! My mouth is watering just thinking of it! You can enjoy eating your meal indoors or outside next to the pretty water features.
One of the on-site restaurants features stained glass patterns on the roof and roses on the table - it has a beautiful, romantic ambience about it.
------- A personal note: Unfortunately I ended up in the hospital during our trip but I feel extremely lucky that we were staying at this hotel at the time - they have a doctor on site and the hotel staff went out of their way to ensure I got the proper care. This was significant to me as I was in a foreign country where few speak English. Due to the language barrier, I wouldn't have been able to get treated as fast and well as I did was it not for them. One of the hotel staff members named Echo even kindly accompanied us to the hospital to translate my symptoms to the doctors. I will always remember her kindness and compassion during my time of need and can't thank her enough. Surprisingly, Echo spent hours into the night (even after her work shift had ended) sitting with me as if I she had known me and cared for me for years. I was fortunate to get to know her gentle and respectful nature during that time and also learnt so much about her fascinating culture from our lovely conversations. Ending up in a hospital in China became one of my best travel experiences when one would expect it would have been the worst!
You might be wondering why I got sick - it's a bit embarrassing but if you are awesome enough to have read my blog this far, I'm happy to disclose it to you haha. Basically - I enjoyed the food in Xiamen so much that I literally ate myself sick :D I tried all sorts of exotic dishes that I've never tried before and something either didn't gel with my body or I just overate so word of warning - it will be HARD, but pace your eating - the food there really is to die for :D
-------- Here's wishing you a wonderful (and healthy!) time in beautiful Xiamen!
Which hotels or activities that we've recommended here are you most excited about? Let me know by commenting below, I'd love to hear your feedback and appreciate it :)
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