Weekend getaway: The Sanchaya
Dr Iroshini Chua discovers the charm and allure of this luxurious beachfront property in Bintan.
Finally, some good news from Bintan! After a decade long hiatus devoid of any new luxury resort developments, The Sanchaya has opened its doors to provide a charming retreat away from the city.
Indonesia has announced that Bintan is the next best tourist destination after Bali, and I have to admit I was skeptical as I boarded my ferry at the Tanah Merah terminal in Singapore for a weekend stay with my family.
The check-in process was painless thanks to the team at The Sanchaya who had thoughtfully pre-filled our arrival cards, prepared our luggage tags and had even sent gourmet sweets to accompany our 45 minute ferry ride. On arrival, we were met by the staff from The Sanchaya who swiftly escorted us to Sanchaya’s dedicated VIP lounge at the Bintan Terminal. The staff handled the immigration procedures while we relaxed at the comfort of the exquisitely furnished lounge.
The Resort is located a mere 15 minutes from the ferry terminal, which makes the entire journey - from door to door - slightly over 2 hours. Given its proximity to Singapore, I was already dreaming of substituting my staycations with escapes to Bintan.
The Sanchaya, a luxurious beachfront property, is idyllically located on the northern shores of Bintan - an island blessed with palm-fringed beaches, forests and pristine lakes.
The architecture, with its black and white façade is reminiscent of the romantic colonial elegance of a by-gone era. Plush leather armchairs, pony hair rugs, enormous wrought iron chandeliers and a curated collection of antiques and art embellish The Library and Bar. A grand decanter room boasts a list of selected wines, cheese and charcuterie. There is a resident sommelier at hand to assist with wine pairings. The intimacy of a private home and opulent décor where it seemed no expense was spared, harked to the European salons of yesteryear.
The Sanchaya has a unique collection of 21 villas and 9 suites. We settled into the Veranda suite located on the upper floor of the Great House that encompass a wrap-around veranda overlooking the stunning views of the Ocean. The living room and bedroom is fitted with Bang and Olufsen television sets and sound systems. We also found a mini iPad thoughtfully stocked with 300 movies.
Prior to my arrival, I was emailed a detailed questionnaire on my preference of food and drink. I was nonetheless surprised to find that in addition to the complimentary mini bar stocked with organic drinks and snacks, there was a cocktail making kit with my favourite flavours in the room.
Culinary offerings at The Sanchaya covered a wide spectrum of taste and textures. We had local delights like beef rendang as well as such molecular creations as cherry spheres garnished with basil leaf and green bean jelly.
The languid Saturday beckoned rejuvenation and renewal and I gleefully headed to the Sanchaya spa. I opted for the Sanchaya signature massage, where hot Java volcanic stones were used to warm the body, followed by relaxing long strokes in combination with firm forearm pressure. Thanks to the essential oils, I was enveloped in the delightful scent of bergamot and lavender all day.
The resort offers a wide range of activities, which include visits to the Mangrove forests and biking excursions. In-house activities include the traditional colonial game of croquet and archery. My daughter and I opted for the latter on a manicured lawn overlooking the sparkling ocean. The skilled instructors were knowledgeable and we saw ourselves quickly improving and eventually hitting the target’s center.
“The guest experience at the Estate is totally personalised, with every detail handpicked and authentically customised”, shared Murli Rao the estate manager.
He passionately oversaw our entire experience from making sure that every staff knew us by name, to ice tea filled with frozen “tea-cubes” lest it gets diluted. He arranged for mini massages and picnic baskets full of amenities while we lounged on the day beds overlooking the ocean.
His love for the hotel is infectious. We are smitten and we can’t wait to share the good news.
For reservations and more information, please visit www.thesanchaya.com. The Sanchaya is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World and Destination Elite.
About Dr Iroshini Chua
Dr Iroshini Chua is a Medical Director at Drs Chua and Partners (AV) Pte Ltd and a jewellery designer. She is the immediate past president of the Association of Women Doctors Singapore and a mother of two. A travel writer with a keen eye for aesthetics, she has embarked on a passion project with her husband Kevin to donate their travel photographic prints toward charitable causes. Her love of fashion, food and friendship sees her traversing the globe. Follow her on instagram at @iroshinichua.
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