The Sanchaya, BIntan, IndonesIa

The Sanchaya
Bintan, Indonesia


We pulled up to a giant white pineapple, a sculpture marking the grand entrance to the Sanchaya. A sense of humour is clearly not lost on this place. We cast our approving eye over the history-inspired white buildings and caught a view of the crystal-clear waters and coconut palms stretching out to the horizon.

The resort is rather compact, meaning all the facilities are within easy reach. The whimsical design touches recur throughout the property. Owing a not insignificant debt to the design school of Bill Bensley, black-and-white geometric patterns feature heavily and an ecelectic sensibility is ever-present. But the overall effect is understated and elegant, with just a touch of the sun-drenched Malibu-beach-house vibe. The monochrome scheme even extends to the resort’s plush-toy mascot cat, Mr Morris, who greets guests in every room on their arrival. It’s an amusing touch and anyone who’d like to take him home can do so by donating to a good cause. The quirky features continue into the main pond, which has giant, scarlet seeds from the saga tree floating on it, their heart shape and red colour signifying love.

Revelling in the fact that we had managed to get away from it all, we spent the afternoon lounging by the pool with a cocktail, accompanied by our fellow escapees. The attentive staff, dressed in local farmers’ gear (complete with shoulder poles to carry their ‘wares’ in), were on hand to dish out chilled fruit, refresh our ice water and fetch us sunblock. It was bliss to have everything brought to us without needing to ask.

The Sanchaya very much represents the nation-state from which it attracts its guests: tastefully done, lavish in just the right amounts, ultimately braggable and ’grammable, contemporary and clean. Everything about it works and runs smoothly and its guests’ wishes and needs are pre-empted, meaning people with high-stress lives can enjoy thinking about, well, nothing if they so desire.

On paper, the Sanchaya is flawless. If we were hotel inspectors, it would sail right through to earning its full fleet of coveted stars. But in our opinion, the property could become truly iconic if it were much more confident in its frivolity.

This Basecamp review is an extract from a longer feature article, first published in print. To read the full article, click here.

Perfect forFly intoRight on time
The HedonistSINGMT +8
While you’re Out There
For reef-seekers, ask your concierge to arrange a sailing and snorkeling trip to White Sands Islands, a short boat ride away. It’s remote enough to keep crowds away and it offers better sand and sea than at the Sanchaya. You can stay on the island if a low-key overnighter (glamping) is what you’re after, but our tip is to return to the luxury of Sanchaya after sunset.

Photography courtesy of The Sanchaya

At OutThere, we believe in boundless travel. But we understand that some destinations can pose challenges to travellers that complicate visiting them. We advise all visitors to inform themselves about local legislation and customs, and to work with a trusted travel provider in order to ensure a safe and pleasant holiday.

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