The Sanchaya

Bintan, Riau Islands, Indonesia Book from Book from £379 per night

Luxury plantation-style estate on a white-sand beach, just 50 minutes from Singapore
Less than an hour by ferry from Singapore lies this stunning colonial-chic estate, billed as Bintan Island’s leading luxury resort. Gable roofed, with white plantation shutters and dramatic dark-wood floors, it’s a tropical fantasy of a boutique hotel, complete with a 50m infinity pool overlooking palm-fringed white sands. If you’re looking for a special-occasion stay, there is simply no better. Inside, you’ll find layer upon layer of breathtaking design, blended from the influence of several Southeast Asian countries. A Balinese spa offers Reiki and Japanese facials, staff wear batik prints and waiters deliver pool snacks in hanging baskets suspended from a pole, as is the Vietnamese tradition. The extravagant detail throughout is incredible – especially where guests are concerned. From the moment we boarded the ferry, we were treated like VIPs.

All 29 suites and villas (with butler service, of course) combine space with flawless style and comfort: claw-foot tubs and herbal bath salts, sarongs for the beach, personalised stationary for missives home. And in the airy-light Dining Room and cosy-dark Bar, even the food and drink is creative. Start your day with truffle-scented eggs and a visit by the jamu-wallah for a shot of traditional Indonesian tonic; end it with pink margharitas and Thai street food under the stars, followed by liquid-nitrogen ice cream. Mind-blowing all round.

Highs

  • Sunrise yoga in an open-sided garden pavilion
  • Immaculate bedrooms with complimentary minibars and an iPad of movies
  • Staff are a delight; as friendly or unobtrusive as you need
  • Thrilling activities include blokarting on the beach, private seaplane rides and night mangrove tours to watch iridescent fireflies
  • Hugely romantic, but surprisingly family friendly too, with lots of space for everyone

Lows

  • Hardly a low, but this is such a haven it’s hard not to just ferry-and-flop and miss the island’s activities and culture
  • Mosquitos and sand flies – bring repellent with DEET

Best time to go

If you want a beautifully quiet escape, stay during the week; weekends tend to bring an influx of guests from Singapore. Being so close to the equator, the weather tends to be warm year-round, and relatively humid with plenty of sunshine and occasional tropical rains.

Our top tips

Owner Natalya Pavchinskaya brings her stylish influence to every corner of The Sanchaya; check out her eclectic fashion and collectables in the boutique, and her personal art collection, peppered through the hotel.

Every third Sunday of the month, the estate opens up to non-residents for a 'House Party' - a fabulous day of Bloody Marys and Pimms, with amazing food prepared by Chef Giacomo Turzo.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Foodie
Honeymoon
Spa
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 29
  • Restaurants & bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Junior Suite

Rooms

Of the estate’s 29 villas and suites, the Junior and Sanchaya Suites were our favourite, with fabulous ocean views from their first-floor verandas in the main house. The bamboo-roofed Lawan Thai Villas circle a pretty inland lagoon, while Two-Bedroom Villas open to direct beach access, their shared dining and living area at the heart of the space.

Decor is divine throughout, colonial chic (whirling fans, shutters, dark-wood planter chairs) and loaded with luxury: that free minibar, Aesop toiletries, super-comfy beds with pillow menus, filmy curtains wafting in the breeze. Technology is present yet correct with Apple TV and B&O sound systems.

Top choice for groups is the beautiful Leelawadee Residence. Just 3 one-bedroom villas and a private dining area set around your own private 17m pool. Total indulgence.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Apple TV
  • Bathrobes
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • IPad
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Mosquito net
  • Phone
  • Pillow menu
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Wake up to a breakfast buffet of Continental treats served in The Dining Room, jazzed up by an innovative menu of eggs, pancakes and Indonesian early-morning fare. Verandah tables soak up the stunning beach view, and jamu tonics are served table-to-table by the jamu-wallah: healthy turmeric, ginger and kaffir lime shots.

Lunch can be ordered wherever, whenever, while afternoon tea happens in the quiet calm of The Bar. We loved its gentlemen's club styling, with Chesterfield sofas and hooded leather chairs; later it's a great place for nightcaps and cigars.

In the evening, The Dining Room serves exquisite Indonesian and European flavours: lobster bisque with aero champagne; kurobeta pork belly with Oriental five spices, slow-braised beef. For something more casual, head to Tasanee Grill, where Bangkok street food-inspired dishes are shared with the stars and the breeze.

If you're here for romance, request a candlelit beach BBQ, or in-villa dining. Or book a private dinner in The Decanter, the glass-walled wine cellar, where you can taste wines from lesser-known boutique vineyards. We love the sound of their 'wine and cheese' pairings tutorial.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children's meals
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Head beachwards to soak up the sun or read in a hammock
  • Then cool down on a semi-submerged lounger in the Olympic-sized pool
  • There are SUP boards for carving over the waves, and you can book snorkelling, scuba diving and sailing trips
  • Take a Southeast Asian Flavours cookery class, with hands-on help from the estate’s chef. Or ask the mixologist at The Bar to teach you cocktails and mocktails with tropical flavours
  • Do alfresco yoga and meditation as the sun comes up, and play lawn croquet and pétanque or try your hand at archery as the sun goes down
  • Have a go at blokarting (land yachting) across the sand
  • Enjoy absolute indulgence at the spa - perhaps an innovative Japanese facial, signature scrubs using warm oils and fresh herbs, or a Javanese volcanic stone massage. Choose from indoor or garden cabana treatments
  • There's an activities concierge who can arrange night mangrove tours, boat trips and private seaplane rides. Or cruise along the Sebung River, home to macaques and silvered leaf monkeys
  • Borrow a bike to explore or join the mountain-bike trips up to the summit of Gunung Bintan mountain
  • Bintan is a golfer's paradise

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Archery
  • Boat trips
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Mountain biking
  • Petanque
  • Private guided tours
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Stand Up Paddleboarding
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Wildlife
  • Yoga

Kids

While The Sanchaya is an adult’s playground, children are welcome and stay for free up to 11 years of age. There are baby cots and staff can arrange babysitting; in-room iPads have kid-friendly movies; both restaurants have a kids' menu, and imaginative activities delight children of all ages.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Junior Suites and Thai Lawan Villas can each fit a baby cot. Sanchaya Suites can fit an extra bed. Two-Bedroom Villas are ideal for families, with a double and twin bedroom apiece. If you're a bigger group, book Leelawadee, which is 3 one-bedroom villas set around a private pool (2 doubles, 1 twin).

Children's meals:

Kids' menu in both restaurants

Kids Activities on site:

  • The pool and beach
  • Treasure hunts
  • Fancy dress
  • Sandpit
  • Archery
  • Croquet
  • Bikes to borrow (child sized, and adult sized with child seats)
  • Games and toys
  • Art and craft materials

Families Should Know:

The pool and lagoon are unfenced

Distances:

  • Airport: 50 minutes by boat then a 15-minute taxi (Singapore)
  • Hospital: 35km
  • Shops: 0.5km
Kid Friendly:

Location

The Sanchaya is set on Bintan Island in Indonesia, a 50-minute boat ride from Singapore.

By Air:
Changi Airport in Singapore (8km away) is the nearest airport, served by a huge range of international airlines.

From Singapore:
It's a 50-minute high-speed catamaran ferry ride from Singapore’s Tanah Merah ferry terminal to Bintan. Ferries operate up to 5 times a day. It's essential to book the ferry in advance if travelling at weekends or holidays. The hotel offers free transfers from the ferry port.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.




Airports:

  • Singapore Changi 8.0 km SIN

Other:

  • Beach 0.1 km
  • Shops 2.0 km
  • Restaurant 2.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
8/10
Value
10/10
Overall

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