A member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH), The Sanchaya – a collection of 21 villas and nine suites – is a sophisticated retreat along Bintan’s Lagoi Bay. Ensconced within 9.6 hectares of tropical gardens, the property in Indonesia’s Riau Islands is steps away from a secluded beach.
A 45-minute ferry ride from Singapore’s Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, The Sanchaya is a tranquil paradise framed by towering palms. The Sanchaya was conceptualised by Singapore-based Russian businesswoman Natalya Pavchinskaya as a luxurious estate to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
The Sanchaya’s cosy, intimate spaces – inspired by the warmth and hospitality of European salons – encourage contemplation and conversation in a lavish but welcoming setting.
At the heart of the estate is its main building – dubbed The Great House. Built in the style of a colonial mansion, The Great House comprises nine extravagantly kitted out suites, while the more private villas are sprinkled around the expansive grounds.
Perched on the upper floor of The Great House, my home away from home was the 73sqm Junior Suite Garden View – a cosy room with an ample terrace overlooking the 50m-long saltwater infinity pool and the sparkling waters of the South China Sea beyond.
Impeccably furnished, my suite featured a plush super king sized bed that showcased a rattan-weave headboard, handcrafted furniture, contemporary grey walls and upholstery, and framed sepia-toned prints of old maps. Each suite features a carefully curated collection of art and collectibles.
Adding to the luxe appeal, the spacious and elegant bathroom showed off a Lefroy Brooks clawfoot tub designed for carefree soaks enhanced by exclusively customised bath salts.
The luxurious amenities continued with an in-room mini wine cellar stocked with premium wines handpicked by the estate’s sommelier, a Malongo espresso coffee machine to keep coffee addicts fuelled, and a complimentary ‘maxi-bar’ with beers, organic juices, soft drinks and handcrafted chocolate!
With these extravagant conveniences, and an Apple TV preloaded with movies, leaving my private sanctuary proved quite the challenge. But with the lovely grounds to explore, lounging in the suite all day just wouldn’t do.
I discovered that The Great House was also home to the Dining Room – the property’s main eatery; The Bar – a gentleman’s club-inspired cigar and shisha-lounge; and The Decanter – a glass-walled wine cellar with an ocean view.
The Dining Room serves healthy breakfasts (no buffets here!), as well as lunch and dinner selections that span Asian and Western cuisines. Here, guests can indulge their culinary cravings with everything from sate lilit – spiced minced chicken wrapped around lemongrass skewers – to wagyu steak au poivre – black pepper-crusted rib eye flambéed with cognac.
At breakfast, I looked forward to sampling jamu – a traditional tonic made from herbs and spices. The daily jamu selection includes immunity-boosting turmeric and tamarind, beautifying galangal and rice starch, and deliciously restorative ginger and palm sugar.
Meanwhile, the poolside Tasanee Grill – the property’s other restaurant – dished up tantalising Thai standards such as spicy tom yam goong (hot and sour soup with shrimp), gai phad kapro (stir-fried minced chicken with Thai basil and bird’s eye chillies), and kao niaw dam sida (black sticky rice with coconut milk) in a casual setting.
For a boutique property with just two eateries, The Sanchaya’s culinary offerings are a class above – you will be spoilt for choice! Fortunately, the resort offers myriad activities to burn calories accumulated from the constant wining and dining, and its seafront location provides the perfect setting in which to work those muscles.
Choose from private yoga sessions, stand up paddle boarding, or Blokart land sailing, which involves manoeuvring a wind-powered cart with sails on the beach. To experience local village life, bicycle rides to a kampong (village) can also be arranged. For those who prefer working out without breaking into a sweat, The Sanchaya offers petanque, croquet and archery.
After all that activity, there are few things more luxurious than a good massage to soothe sore muscles. At The Sanchaya Spa, guests can enjoy a range of treatments within blissful environs. For my 90-minute traditional aromatherapy massage, I picked a treatment oil from a selection of seven custom-blended essential oils associated with each of the body’s chakras (energy centres). My blend of bergamot, geranium and spearmint was designed to balance the emotions. The calming scent of the oils coupled with the gentle kneading of my therapist was just what I needed to relax. I emerged from the treatment rejuvenated and ready to return to the daily grind – though I was sad to bid goodbye to all that pampering.
Whether for a quick getaway or a leisurely vacation, a sojourn at The Sanchaya is recommended to refresh mind, body and spirit.
Feel free to raid the ‘maxi bar’, The Sanchaya’s luxe version of the standard minibar, which is stocked with free treats that are replenished daily! Nibbles include an exclusively handcrafted range of European chocolates that make delicious souvenirs.
Address: Lagoi Bay, Bintan, Riau Islands, Indonesia