Hotels Reviews

Review: The Sanchaya Bintan

We don't often visit the same hotel twice in 3 months. For The Sanchaya, we made an exception.

Great House Sunset 1

Situated on a stretch of Bintan’s most impressive beach with a north facing aspect over the South China Sea, The Sanchaya is the brainchild of Russian entrepreneur Natalya Pavchinskaya.

Pavchinskaya, who lives in Singapore, discovered a secluded 10-hectare beachfront plot on Lagoi Bay back in 2008 and dreamed of building a luxury hotel there. Six years later, with the support of renowned design company p49 who have also been responsible for projects like the W Koh Samui, the Sofitel Hanoi, Six Senses Laamau in the Maldives and the Ritz-Carlton Reserve Muscat, The Sanchaya was born.

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Hotel facts

  • Opened: December 2014
  • Rooms: 30 (17 Suites and 13 Villas)
  • Staff: 200
  • Check-in: 2pm
  • Check-out: 12pm
  • General Manager: Magnus Olovson
  • Sommelier: Jeroen L’abée
  • Spa Manager: Ria Cantle

Location

The Sanchaya is located in the Lagoi Bay area of Bintan Island, Indonesia, around a 10-minute drive from Bandar Bentan Telani, the island’s main ferry terminal.

The ferry crossing from Singapore’s Tanah Merah ferry terminal takes 50 minutes. If you are arriving by air, Tanah Merah ferry terminal is a 15-minute bus ride from Singapore Changi Airport, slightly less in a taxi.

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(Image: The Sanchaya)

There are limited domestic flights at Tanjung Pinang airport on Bintan itself, a 1 hour 15 minute drive from the Sanchaya.

Flights there are primarily to and from Jakarta with Garuda Indonesia, Sriwijaya Air and Lion Air. Wings Air also flies to Batam and Pekanbaru, and Xpress Air flies to Matak and Natuna. Contact the hotel directly to arrange transfers to and from Tanjung Pinang airport.

A new airport in Bintan is due to open in 2020, with international flights promised. The location, near the west of the island, will make it an approximate 40-minute drive from the Sanchaya.

Bintan arrival

Most guests arrive from Singapore by ferry and The Sanchaya experience begins shortly after you arrive in Bintan. The hotel has its own team at the ferry terminal to greet you, escorting you through the immigration channel then leading you to the hotel’s own private lounge facility.

Arrival Lounge 2
The Sanchaya lounge at Bintan ferry terminal. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Here you are offered cold towels and a drink while any checked luggage is collected on your behalf and brought across to the car in preparation for your transfer to the resort. The check-in formalities for your room at The Sanchaya are also taken care of here.

Arrival Lounge
Furnishings and decor are very closely linked with the hotel itself. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The Sanchaya is apparently the only hotel on the island offering this ‘seamless arrival experience’. It was certainly a very civilised arrival experience and we enjoyed a nice cup of coffee prior to the resort transfer.

Transfer
The private car transfer to the Sanchaya takes about 10 minutes. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

 

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The Sanchaya site plan (click to enlarge)

Our stays

We first visited The Sanchaya in June 2018 for a 4-night stay in a Junior Suite. Our visit was so enjoyable we asked to see a 2-bedroom villa as an option for an upcoming family celebration. Needless to say we were suitably impressed and we returned to The Sanchaya for just that occasion in mid-September 2018.

This review is therefore a collective of our two Sanchaya experiences.

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Hotel arrival

On our first visit we were personally welcomed by the hotel manager Magnus, who advised us we were one of only three couples staying at the hotel that night. Later in the week it would become busier, however with a significant staff on hand it was sure to be very personal service at least for the early part of our stay.

Our return in September was no exception, Magnus was on hand to welcome us once again and during the midweek portion of our stay the hotel was expected to remain quiet.

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The ‘Arrival Court’ is the grand entrance to the hotel. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Formal check-in procedures aren’t necessary and on both visits we were first invited to take an escorted tour of the resort while our luggage was taken to our suite / villa.

Design

Despite being less than 4 years old, the hotel is carefully styled to resemble an old and beautifully restored colonial mansion house. The quality of the finish is superb and you’ll want to have your camera at the ready from the moment you arrive here.

Great House Lobby 2
The lobby of The Grand House. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

There’s a clear design concept at the Sanchaya and it strikes you almost immediately upon arrival.

Junior Suite

We booked a Junior Suite for our initial 4-night stay using the Citi Prestige concierge 4th night free offer. We use this perk several times a year and when you’re paying top end for a hotel like this one the saving really comes into its own – 25% off the basic room rate in this case (taxes still need to be paid for all 4 nights). If you aren’t familiar with the 4th night free offer we’d recommend reading our review of the Citi Prestige card in Singapore.

Bed
Junior Suite bed. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Remarkably this is the entry-level room type at The Sanchaya, alongside the Lawan Thai Villas. Room sizes vary from 70 m2 to 84 m2 and inside there’s thoughtful placement of almost every item with the continued colonial theme evident.

Bedroom
Junior Suite. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

A total of nine of these Junior Suites and larger Sanchaya Suites are located on the second floor of the main building – known as The Great House. Eight additional Sanchaya Suites are located across 4 villa-style buildings in the grounds of the estate each with a private entrance and located either on the ground or upper floor of the building.

Bedside Square
Junior Suite. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

A range of in-room snacks and beverages are available in what The Sanchaya refers to as your own “maxi-bar”. This is re-stocked daily with beer, soft drinks and chocolate.

Freshly baked snacks such as cookies are also brought to the room during each evening turn down service.

A wine fridge is also stocked with some bottles (chargeable) and each room has wine glasses, a decanter and an espresso machine. If like us you prefer milk in your coffee you just have to ask and they will stock fresh milk in your fridge each day.

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View from The Great House rooms. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

A grand Chinese style cabinet contains a Bang & Olufsen TV with Apple TV and an iPad equipped with hundreds of movies and a wide music selection. A pillow menu is also provided, though we found the standard offering excellent on the large comfy bed.

Drinking water, both still and sparkling, is filtered in-house and delivered to the room twice daily in recycled glass bottles in line with the hotel’s eco-credentials.

Junior Suite bathroom

The bathroom is large, well appointed and stocked with Aesop toiletries, a favourite of ours.

There’s a dedicated full-size shower cubicle and a separate free standing bathtub.

Bath
Bathtub in the Junior Suite. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Staff

The staff at The Sanchaya are referred to as ‘Artisans’, and from start to finish they were incredible during our stay. All our needs were quickly catered for and every staff member addressed us by name from the outset, a nice personal touch.

The Sanchaya management makes efforts to recruit and train locals as staff to support the surrounding communities.

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Swimming pool

The centrepiece of the resort is an Olympic-length (50m) salt-chlorinated infinity pool, with views over a fantastic expanse of beach.

Staff bring a hamper to your deck chairs when you arrive, with still and sparkling water, cold towels, sun cream and after sun. There’s also a food and drinks menu provided inside.

Throughout the day the staff also bring round small frozen fruit skewers to poolside guests.

On most weekdays we sat by the pool with only perhaps 4 to 6 other guests. At the weekend it was busier, however, the staff had already provided additional sun loungers to cope with the ‘demand’ (if you can call it that in a hotel with 30 rooms) and there was never an issue securing a poolside spot throughout both our stays here.

Pool Side
A 50m infinity pool is the stunning centrepiece of The Sanchaya. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Beach

It’s not hard to see why Natalya Pavchinskaya was inspired to build a hotel here when she first saw this stretch of beautiful beach 10 years ago.

The vista is stunning and far more reminiscent of the Maldives or Mauritius than Bintan.

Beach Loungers
A perfect spot on the beach for the day. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The beach stretches for well over a kilometre in each direction, perfect for a walk especially around sunset as the temperature becomes much more bearable.

A number of sun loungers with umbrellas and day beds are located on the beach, these are also within a short walk of the main swimming pool and other hotel facilities. Service from the staff is on hand as you’d expect with food and drink options never far away.

Beach Sunset
Sunset on the beach. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

A great deal of effort goes into keeping the beach in this pristine condition as the Singapore Strait is notoriously polluted by the passing ships waiting outside of the Singapore ports. We have visited many other resorts along this coastline and their beaches have been dotted with tar spots and rubbish. We walked extensively in both directions from the Sanchaya and it was immaculate.

Gym

A fully equipped air-conditioned gym is set in its own dedicated building and is open to guests 24 hours a day.

Gym 1
No excuses for falling behind on your gym routine during a stay at The Sanchaya. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

A good selection of machines and free weights is sufficient for a thorough workout. Towels and water are provided, including a fridge with chilled towels and water if you prefer. As you’d imagine everything is kept spotlessly clean.

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Spa

A fully equipped spa is located adjacent to the gym in a fully enclosed private garden. A small but diverse menu offers all the usual treatments you would expect plus some more bespoke items like the ‘Kawasaki Lift’. Ria, the spa manager, is very knowledgeable and will quickly guide you to the right treatment.

Spa Entrance
The entrance to The Sanchaya Spa. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Both single and couple rooms are available. All the treatments we tried were excellent, above the standard of other hotels we have tried in the region. Whilst expensive, in-line with what you would pay in a premium spa in Singapore – the quality is worth it.

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The enclosed garden at The Sanchaya Spa. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Library

At the far end of The Great House is an elaborately decorated library that’s fully equipped with every conceivable variety of reading material. The high end, leather, cowhide and wood furniture certainly continues the colonial theme.

Library
The Library. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Selected board games are also provided, making this the perfec