CHECK IT OUT THE SAN­CHAYA BIN­TAN, IN­DONE­SIA

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - CHRIS­TINE McCABE

Sin­ga­pore res­i­dents and ex­pats are mak­ing a bee­line for a new colo­nial-chic beach­front re­treat on In­done­sia’s Bin­tan Is­land, 45 min­utes by wa­ter from the Lion City.

Opened 10 months ago and oc­cu­py­ing an es­tate of about 10ha over­look­ing Lagoi Bay, the ho­tel has its own VIP lounge at the ferry ter­mi­nal to ex­pe­dite immigration and Cus­toms, mak­ing this a has­sle-free stopover for trav­ellers from Aus­tralia.

The San­chaya is the first ho­tel from Sin­ga­pore-based Rus­sian en­tre­pre­neur Natalya Pavchin­skaya, who plans a global net­work of prop­er­ties. Her back­ground in the arts and a pas­sion for Asian an­tiq­ui­ties in­forms the smart in­te­ri­ors of the 21 vil­las and nine suites, where the mood is of a grand colo­nial ho­tel com­plete with a team of “com­pan­ions” trained by the Bri­tish But­ler In­sti­tute.

The suites and one and two-bed­room vil­las have bal­conies and ve­ran­das over­look­ing the ocean, la­goon or gar­dens, and the chic in­te­ri­ors by P49 Deesign & As­so­ci­ates com­bine South­east Asian art and an­tiques with the latest tech­nol­ogy, such as Bang & Olufsen Tvs and in-room iPads loaded with hun­dreds of movies. The up­scale, in­room ex­tras in­clude a “maxi bar”, wine fridge, su­per-king bed dressed in linen by Sin­ga­pore­based Ploh, per­son­alised sta­tionery and be­spoke bath ameni­ties and choco­lates.

Fam­i­lies and groups of friends can choose from the Vanda beach­front villa with pri­vate in­fin­ity pool and four bed­rooms or a trio of one-bed­room Leelawadee Vil­las grouped around a pri­vate pool com­pound.

The re­sort cen­tre­piece is the gleam­ing white, colo­nial-style Great House with its sa­lon and li­brary, wine cel­lar and gen­tle­man’s club-style bar with tra­di­tional 19th-cen­tury ser­vice. A bar­tender will set up a fold­ing jack tray next to your leather arm­chair and mix cock­tails to or­der. Other ho­tel fa­cil­i­ties in­clude a 50m in­fin­ity pool, day spa, beach­side yoga pav­il­ion, cro­quet lawn and fit­ness cen­tre.

DON’T MISS: Af­ter­noon tea on the ve­randa, with clas­sic English or dainty Asian snacks and a se­lec­tion of Ron­nefeldt teas, in­clud­ing a blend made ex­clu­sively for The San­chaya.

DIN­ING IN: Ex­ec­u­tive chef Gi­a­como Turzo over­sees The Din­ing Room, where guests can dine any time they wish. Try the caramelised Berk­shire pork belly in ori­en­tal spices or the chateaubriand Rossini with foie gras and truf­fle caviar. The pool­side Tasa­nee Grill serves seafood and Thai street food.

DIN­ING OUT: Bin­tan Is­land’s Ke­long Seafood Res­tau­rant.

ASK THE CONCIERGE: The San­chaya’s lux­ury yacht is avail­able for hire for pri­vate trans­fers from Sin­ga­pore or for half or full-day cruises plus sunset out­ings.

CHECK­ING IN: From $US560 ($785). More: the­san­chaya.com.

ALSO TRY: Bri­tish Colo­nial Hil­ton Nas­sau; Aman­galla, Sri Lanka; The Ma­jes­tic Ho­tel Kuala Lumpur.

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