Lap up luxury in a bygone era at Bintan's The Sanchaya

The most expensive hotel on the Indonesian island rolls out impeccable service amid opulent surroundings

(THE NEW PAPER) - The word luxury is often overused by hotels and resorts.

But for the discerning traveller, a luxury hotel has to come with high levels of hospitality - in terms of accommodation, service, dining and everything else that makes the experience hard to forget.

At The Sanchaya, the priciest property on Bintan, Indonesia, you will feel more than valued.

Every guest is pampered and treated like a VIP.

The experience starts when you check in at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, where you are given a welcome pack of ginger sweets for your journey.

As soon as you arrive in Bintan, the staff escort you to The Sanchaya's exclusive private VIP lounge. This is where you wait for your ride to the resort.


Enjoy spectacular sea views at the pool or on the beach at The Sanchaya. PHOTO: ASNAH AHMAD

The lounge gives you a glimpse of the tasteful decor that you will quickly discover to be The Sanchaya's signature.

As the vehicle pulls over after a five-minute ride, your attention goes to the welcome party and grand fountain in the courtyard. Just as swiftly, you will be ushered to the lobby where a refreshing concoction awaits.

At this point, The Sanchaya's Swedish-born general manager, Mr Magnus Olovson, takes energetic strides towards us, extending a warm hand to greet every guest, something he makes a point to do.

He seems to know what each guest has booked, as he updates each person on his request - an impressive gesture.

Clearly at The Sanchaya, committed and personalised service starts at the top, setting the tone for the establishment.


The Sanchaya's Swedish-born general manager, Mr Magnus Olovson,  extends a personal touch to every guest. PHOTO: ASNAH AHMAD

Indeed, service is what makes the difference between a very nice hotel and a memorable one.

Built on about 10ha of land in 2014, The Sanchaya is designed to reflect colonial grandeur and transport visitors to a bygone era.

It features gorgeous outdoor spaces and elegantly furnished common areas, such as the estate's centrepiece and main building The Great House and the opulent Library.

There could not be a better backdrop for a wedding when such stylish romanticism abound.


The decor of The Sanchaya's Library is designed to reflect colonial grandeur.  PHOTO: ASNAH AHMAD

It is hard not to feel invigorated by the surroundings.

At The Sanchaya, there is no need to check-in.

You will be whisked straight to your room - the rates start at US$500 (S$680) a night - and your luggage may be there before you open the door.

What lies behind it is a space so immaculate and remarkable that you will spend the next few minutes exploring every corner.

It boasts a consistent luxurious feel and high-quality furnishings, and every aesthetic detail is well thought out.


Colonial romanticism abounds, even in the bathroom. PHOTO: ASNAH AHMAD

The bathrooms have classic features and the artisanal toiletries smell great. Every amenity is refined and tasteful - from the coffee to the snacks, all complimentary.

There are handpicked artefacts in each of the 21 private villas and nine suites, showcasing the various cultures of South-east Asia.

There is also a special group of seven villas in the Lawan Village, designed to reflect Thai influences.

With a man-made lagoon as its focal point, the canopied beds and high-vaulted ceilings make these villas the perfect escape.


The Great House Verandah Suite Sea Bedroom. PHOTO: THE SANCHAYA

Alternatively, stay at The Great House, a beachfront manor that overlooks the hypnotic myriad blues of the water. Housing nine suites on its upper floor, the view from the Veranda Suite is unsurpassed.

Lush foliage and long stretches of white sandy beaches make this getaway's location one of the best in Bintan.

The Sanchaya managed to keep the sense of luxury even in its all-day dining. I quickly understood what Mr Olovson meant when he said "they take their food very seriously".

The meals not only taste exceptional, but the artistic plating of every dish also makes each meal a gastronomic and visual treat.

Truly, The Sanchaya offers everything you need and more to get away from it all