What is it? A luxury beachfront resort on Bintan, an Indonesian island reachable by ferry from Singapore. After a 45-minute boat ride you're greeted at the Bintan terminal by Sanchaya's staff and whisked into the hotel's VIP lounge. Here you can sip a refreshing drink while that pesky business of immigration and bag pick-up is taken care of. Then it's a comfortable 15 minutes by road to the hotel.
What's the resort like? It's British colonial meets the Hamptons with a smattering of Asian influences. The Great House (above) is all white columns, shutters and verandahs with black and white awnings and rattan terrace furniture. The main building opens onto a reflecting pool and a white sandy beach flanked by palm trees. The interiors are tasteful neutrals mixed with Asian antiques and artefacts, collected by the owner, Singapore-based Russian entrepreneur Natalya Pavchinskaya.
And the guest rooms? There are suites in the Great House with large verandahs and stunning sea views. One- and two-bedroom villas, with an upscale beach-house feel, dot the verdant grounds. Less expensive options are the Thai-style villas set away from the sea and surrounding a man-made lagoon. The Leelawadee compound - three one-bedroom villas arranged around a private pool - and the four-bedroom presidential villa, Vanda (above and below), which is inspired by Singapore's black and white colonial mansions and comes with its own pool, have been designed with groups in mind.
What is there to do? Lounge in cabanas on the white sandy beach, laze in the shade on the verandahs, swim in the impressive beach-side infinity pool or head for the dinky but spanking new gym. There's also a compact spa (below) set in a herb garden.
What if there's a downpour? There are some fabulously decadent lounges to mooch about in. The chandeliered Salon and Library has leather sofas and rare books as well as a fine wine cellar (tastings can be arranged). The Bar is also inviting; with leather seats and colonial antiques, it's like a British gentleman's club transported to the tropics.
Will we be fed? Absolutely; the pool-side, al-fresco Tasanee Grill serves Thai food in the evening and then there is the airy Dining Room, with its ceiling fans, French doors and wraparound terrace. The all-day dining menu is mainly modern European but features some excellent Indonesian specialities.
Anything else? The Sanchaya has its own yacht, which is not only available for the obligatory sunset cruise but for transfers to and from Singapore. Even if you choose the ferry, you'll have access to the VIP lounge again on departure, so you don't have to do the check-in yourself.
What's the damage? Room rates start at US$560, plus taxes. For more information and reservations, visit www.thesanchaya.com.