Bintan may make you think only of golf courses and simple, casual weekends away, but once you’ve experienced The Sanchaya on Bintan Island, where the luxury flows as freely as the champagne, you’ll discover hospitality which would be far more at home in the pages of a novel: Think F. Scott Fitzgerald-meets-the-tropics.
The Sanchaya is a project born from what can only be described as a very romantic imagination. The word, which is Sanskrit for ‘the collection’, describes a place more like a work of art than a hotel. Every piece of furniture in this resort was hand-crafted in Indonesia by artisans, and the designs throughout reflect a mosaic of South-East Asian countries.
The founder of The Sanchaya is Natalya Pavchinskaya, who on discovering Bintan Island, immediately saw its potential as a retreat. In collaboration with renowned Thai P49 Deesign firm, she assembled a team of artists, artisans, and designers to create an experience which recalls both the experience of the Russian dacha and the European salons of the nineteenth century.
The Great House Junior Suite
Upon check-in at the majestic and imposing black and white Great House, follow your way to your room for the night—the Great House Junior Suite. You’ll see the glint of a blue sea beyond the balcony, with characteristic black and white furnishings offset with teak. These rooms come with elegant, high-end televisions, and all the tech-savvy entertainment you need. Watching TV, however, is going to be the very last thing on your mind once you see the gastronomy on offer here.
It’s always five o’clock somewhere in the world, and a cocktail at the Sanchaya’s Bar is the perfect way to ease yourself into the good life. The scent of rich leather and the soft flicker of candles greet you as you enter. No cocktail menu here, and this is quite deliberate. Describe the flavours you’d like to try, and the master resident mixologists will blend a custom cocktail for you on the spot. Expect, and demand, anything: You can try accords of tropical fruits, coffee, orange or lavender—anything your heart desires, a unique beverage creation will be made just for you!
The Dining Room
Retreat next to the Dining Room, where dinner is served à la carte. No need to check your watch, as dining is available all day. And here there are very exacting standards: Meats and vegetables are meticulously prepared sous vide at a constant 55 degrees Celsius to preserve the nutritional value. There’s a special eye for quality in the details, too. These gastric delights are presented on fine white Luzern bone china, which allow the showstopping presentation of each dish to really pop. This contrast even carries over to the restaurant’s decor—the crisp white walls and airy curtains allow simple niceties like dark hardwoods and fine linens to shine.
The Salon and Library
After dinner, you move on to the comforting atmosphere of The Salon. Impressively large, dark brown leather buttoned armchairs dominate the room, with cabinets of vintage wine and cigar humidors circling around like stately watchmen. Take your time to browse the library of rare books and literary classics, and lose yourself in tales of villains and heroes, of love and loss. This might be a good time to re-read The Great Gatsby and draw your own comparisons. Order a snifter of Armagnac and compliment it, if you wish, with a handmade Cuban cigar. Long pipes of fine Indonesian tobacco are also available on the terrace for your enjoyment.
Wine Tasting at Decanter
Inspired by the prose and poetry of the day, you’ll feel the desire to delve deeper into the pleasure of this striking venue, and Decanter, the wine cellar, offers a solution. After allowing the tasting of a stringent Saint-Estèphe to round off your evening in these spectacular surroundings, you might reflect on the happy realisation that, sometimes, life does imitate art.