As its name means ‘the collection’ in Sanskrit, it’s perhaps no surprise that luxury hotel The Sanchaya draws on a range of 10 Southeast Asian countries as the inspiration for its colonnade-fronted buildings, sprawling grounds and dramatic, dark wood-accented decor. Traditional Singapore style (it's only 50 minutes away, after all) gets a contemporary update in the staff’s batik-print uniforms, the Thai street food-influenced restaurants and Balinese-themed spa. Relax in your gable-roofed villa – make sure you practise your asanas on your in-room yoga mat – before exploring the grounds: there’s a croquet lawn, an Olympic-sized infinity pool, an underwater lounge area (yes, really) and a high-tech gym with private personal trainers. Don’t mind if we do…
Get this when you book through us:
Pre-dinner canapés for two and a table-side cocktail each, shaken up at your bar or dinner table (once a stay)
Noon. Earliest check-in, 2pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from $403.40 (IDR5,662,797), excluding tax at 21 per cent.
Rates usually include à la carte breakfast; express immigration; ferry terminal shuttle transfers.
The bath products in your room are made using michelia alba, also known as ‘the temple flower’, a type of magnolia that has long been used in Indonesia for its skin-calming properties.
At the hotel
Private beach, pool, spa, gym, yoga pavilion, croquet lawn, laundry service, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: Bang & Olufsen TV (with Apple TV), iPad loaded with free films and music, iPod dock, air-conditioning, minibar, tea- and coffee-making kit, free bottled water, walk-in wardrobe, yoga mat, personalised stationery, natural bath products, beach bag, wine fridge and welcome chocolates.
Our favourite rooms
We love the super-spacious Sanchaya Suite, decorated in chic shades of cream and caramel. Each room has an enormous private veranda with padded sunloungers and a guaranteed view of the sea. The bamboo-clad, one-bedroom villas in the Lawan Village are ideal for privacy-seeking couples: looking out over a man-made lagoon, each one has a king-size bed draped in romantic, white-linen hangings.
The 50-metre-long, salt-chlorinated infinity pool – known as the ‘Tasanee Pool’, which translates as ‘beautiful view’ in Thai – is aptly named: it’s situated in front of the main building and overlooks the South China Sea. Waiters will bring you snacks served tempo doeloe – in a hanging basket suspended from a pole, as is typical in Asia – while you laze in the sunshine. The pool even has submerged chaises longues in its shallow wading section, so you can cool off without the exertion of actually swimming…
The Sanchaya Spa has a choice of indoor and outdoor treatment rooms (in case you can’t bear to miss a minute of the sunshine). Try the herbal massage – which uses locally-grown fresh ginger – while sipping on a steaming cup of the hotel’s own-blend, chakra-balancing tea, or opt for the invigorating Kawasaki Massage to boost the complexion and reduce crows feet. There’s also a high-tech gym open round the clock, with personal trainers on hand to help hone your technique
Silk pyjamas for in-room lounging are a must; pack your best sarongs and beachwear labels for posing by the infinity pool.
The hotel’s public areas and the villas are wheelchair-accessible, but the suites aren’t suitable for guests with mobility issues.
Little Smiths of all ages are welcome at the Sanchaya and there’s plenty for them to do. Extra beds can be added to the Sanchaya Suite and Two-Bedroom Villa; under-12s stay free if sharing with their parents, but breakfast is $35USD for over-6s.
Although at first glance it may seem like a couples’ retreat, the Sanchaya is very accommodating of children of any age and there’s plenty for them to do.
If you’ve a larger brood, book Leelawadee, which has three bedrooms (each one in a separate villa) and a semi-private pool. Or, some of the Junior Suites in the main house can accommodate extra beds and have direct access to the beach.
Once you’ve exhausted pool-splashing and lawn-exploring, borrow bikes and helmets from the hotel (over-15s only) and pedal your way around the grounds (there’s some child-seat availability for little ones). The sky’s the limit in terms of organised activities, so just ask for what you’d like: the hotel can arrange treasure hunts, and so on. There’s also a small sandpit for tiny tots and a croquet lawn for older children.
Both restaurants have a children’s menu and are happy to heat up baby food for guests. The bar serves child-friendly food, from burgers and chips to hot dogs and spaghetti.
Babysitters are available for US$20 an hour, for a minimum of one hour. One babysitter can look after up to two children or one infant. Booking requires at least 24 hours’ notice; charges increase by 50 per cent after midnight.
No need to pack
The hotel can supply iPads, arts and crafts materials, board games, puzzles, baby cots and highchairs.
Ask for a table by the pool at the Tasanee Grill; sit beside the French doors in the Dining Room and you’ll get a spectacular view of the sea.
Go for chilled-out holiday style (think jeans, flowing kaftans and flat sandals for girls; chinos and loose-collared shirts for guys). Bring a shawl if you’re dining at the Tasanee Grill, as evenings alfresco can feel cool.
The Sanchaya has two restaurants: the Dining Room (which is open all day) and the Tasanee Grill, which serves moonlit dinners beside the pool. The former has a beamed ceiling and antique wooden cabinets lining the walls; rattan chairs, linen curtains and French windows create a light and airy atmosphere. Giacomo Turzo whips up a menu of dukkah-seared tuna, unagi (eel) and veal saltimbocca, but the real star is the Wagyu beef carpaccio. Don’t forget to order dessert: the liquid-nitrogen ice-cream, prepared at your table, can’t fail to induce gasps. At the Tasanee Grill, the Thai street food-style menu has all the usual suspects, including som tam and tom yum goong. If you’re into seafood, try the pla pao (sea bass), lobster, or one of the signature barbecue dishes.
With its hooded leather chairs, assorted antiques (spot the binoculars, trumpets, clocks and telescopes) and high-gloss finish, the bar at the Sanchaya is as slick as the cocktails. There’s a ‘no menu’ philosophy, so tell the barman your preferred flavours and he’ll mix you up an individually-tailored tipple. Of course, there are also a few house favourites to choose from: we’d go for the honey and passion fruit-laced sidecar, or the Sanchaya island julep. Oenophiles will delight at the long-as-your-arm wine list; cigar-lovers’ jaws will drop at the selection of finest Cubans. There’s also a snack menu of smoked chorizo, mezze platters and crisp grissini to keep tummy-rumbles at bay. The bar is also open for afternoon tea – bag a spot on the veranda for sea-views with a tray of home-baked pastries. The Salon and Library next door has shelves stacked with books: curl up on one of the cherry-red chesterfields with a drink and novel in hand.
The Dining Room is open from 7am–10pm (breakfast is served until 10.30am) and the Tasanee Grill opens for dinner from 6pm–10pm. The bar pours its last drink at 2am. The Salon and Library is open from 10am–2am.
The room service menu is available 24 hours (though it’s more limited between 11pm and 7am). Options include burgers, salads, smoked salmon, spaghetti carbonara and beef carpaccio, as well as several dishes for kids.
Jalan Gurindam Duabelas, Plot 5 Lagoi Bay P. Bintan, Kep Riau
Set in verdant, beachfront gardens, the Sanchaya is situated on the northern coast of Bintan, a short ferry ride from Singapore.
Fly to Changi Airport in Singapore (British Airways operates regular flights; www.britishairways.com), then take the ferry to Bintan. Alternatively, go to Raja Haji Fisabilillah International Airport in Tanjung Pinang, Bintan’s largest town. Singapore Airlines (www.singaporeair.com), Garuda Indonesia (www.garuda-indonesia.com) and KLM (www.klm.com) are the most reliable carriers, offering flights from Europe and North America. Sanchaya is just over an hour’s drive from the airport; transfers can be arranged on request (for an extra charge).
You can hire a car from the airport if you’re determined, but we recommend you rely on Sanchaya’s top-notch transfer service. Valet parking is free at the hotel.
Three ferry routes operated by various companies (Bintan Resort Ferries (www.brf.com.sg), Sindo Ferry (www.sindoferry.com.sg) and Mozaic Ferry Lines) run between Singapore and Bintan. Book via www.directferries.com for up-to-date prices. The hotel operates a free shuttle service to and from the ferry terminal, a 15-minute drive away; transfers in a private car can be arranged from US$50 each way for up to two guests.
Worth getting out of bed for
By day, lounge beside the pool or on the private beach, get involved in the free outdoor yoga classes, play croquet or channel your inner Katniss Everdeen with archery lessons. You can book mangrove tours and sightseeing through the hotel. By night, schedule a wine- and cheese-tasting session in the estate's cellar, where you’ll sample manchego, raclette and gorgonzola with an extensive collection of wine and champagne (US$145 a person). If you fancy testing your credit limit, the Sanchaya’s on-site boutique sells under-the-radar brands such as August Society (for sexy swimwear), and MAH MadAboutHue (beachy kaftans and silk scarves). Beyond the estate, the activities concierge can organise almost anything: get a bird’s-eye view of the bay by taking to the skies in an open-cockpit seaplane ride; tee off at the island’s various golf clubs; or take advantage of the deep blue briny sea with snorkelling and scuba diving. Don’t miss a cruise along the Sebung River, where you’ll have an excellent view of the mangrove forests, home to macaques and silvered leaf monkeys. After an exhilarating day of exploring request the signature bath ritual: sink into a claw-foot bath tub imbibed with salts and select from a menu of accompanying morsels that includes chocolate, cheese, single malt and champagne.
The Kelong Seafood Restaurant at the Nirwana Gardens hotel serves… well, you’ve probably guessed it: seriously fresh seafood. You’ll dine on lobster and crab (with a multi-coloured cocktail to hand) on a bale-covered deck over the sea, accessed by a long jetty, as the waves lap beneath. Baan Aarya is a smaller, quieter restaurant, surrounded by a botanical garden that provides the herbs and spices for the classic Indonesian dishes. For a modern, Thai-inspired menu, head to Saffron at the Banyan Tree hotel: dark wood, moody lighting and red-chiffon drapes make for a sensual atmosphere.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this luxe, family-friendly hotel a skip from Singapore and unpacked their designer bikinis and magnolia-scented bath goodies, a full account of their beachside break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside the Sanchaya in brilliant Bintan…
It’s a special sort of hotel that starts the five-star treatment before you even arrive, but that’s just what you’ll get at the Sanchaya – an exercise in tailored-to-you flawlessness. Everything has been thought of, from the private, VIP lounge in the ferry terminal, to the honey-and-ginger candy to ease seasickness on the boat ride over. The attention to detail doesn’t stop there: when you settle into your room, you’ll notice the personalised stationery ready and waiting on the desk; when you take a trip to the spa, a therapist will study your chakras and give you an aromatherapy oil to suit. There’s no menu at the bar, so the expert mixologist will whip up a customised tipple depending on your tastes. Fancy getting out and about? Bintan is your oyster when you’re in the hands of the Sanchaya’s dedicated activities concierge, who can organise private seaplane rides, cruises along the Sebung River or trips to the island’s famous golf courses. Here, pretty much anything is possible: all you have to do is ask.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in The Sanchaya’s Guestbook below.
Received a free upgrade to a Sanchaya Suite during our stay which was a pleasant surprise. Service was faultless: all staff were very welcoming and friendly with a ready smile. Nightly turndown service with little treats left in the room was a nice touch. We opted for a bath experience to be prepared while we were having dinner and the coordination between hotel staff to ensure that the bath water and food would still be warm on our return was evident. Everything was made effortless for us; from our arrival at the Bintan ferry terminal where we were immediately greeted upon disembarkation, to our departure, where we could relax in the Sanchaya's VIP lounge until we were allowed to board. The Sanchaya is a convenient, luxurious and peaceful getaway from Singapore - would definitely recommend to our friends and family!
To lift a finger for anything - the hotel's staff are that attentive and helpful!