The latest travel trends with SLH’s hoteliers

We caught up with General Manager of The Sanchaya on Bintan Island, Indonesia to give us an insight into his travel bucket list, what’s so special about Bintan Island and what makes a truly unforgettable hotel experience.

1. Where’s your favourite place to travel?

I was born in Stockholm so my homesickness does drive me back at times, especially in late spring and summer! I enjoy wandering through Gamla Stan with its narrow cobblestone streets, stopping for coffee. Otherwise I love retreating to quiet, small beach paradises. 

2. What’s special about Bintan Island?

Bintan Island is incredibly unexploited and not even plantations are common. This leaves the countryside green and lush and the authentic culture relatively untouched. The 50 minutes proximity to Singapore by ferry is of course a plus and many say it will be a second Bali. 2017 looks to be an active year as famous sporting events such as Ironman, Spartan and Tour de Bintan descend on the island.

3. How should guests avoid the crowds to get a truly Independently Minded experience?

There are no crowds! Well, possibly on weekends when our Singaporean friends need to escape! If you are making the journey from Singapore make sure to use The Sanchaya’s private VIP lounge at the ferry port, with express clearance and speedy 8 minute transfer. Once you arrive at The Sanchaya crowds are unheard of and it is the perfect place to relax. 

4. Are there any local dishes the island is famous for?

The Riau Islands, a collection of islands in Eastern Indonesia, are abound in rich seafood experiences including the famous gong-gong.

Enjoy the flesh of the snail-like shellfish, popular in most restaurants and street food stalls on the island.

Guests must also try black grouper fish freshly grilled with Indonesian spices.

5. What makes you Independently Minded?

10 years ago I made a choice. I decided to devote my career to independently beautiful, small properties. I’ve worked as an owner, partner and General Manager in Cambodia for five years which truly expanded my vision on the true ownership of guest experience, responsibility for my colleagues and not to mention my vision of community work. Small is big, really.

6. most popular destination in 2017?

In Southeast Asia, today's truly discerning travellers will tend to avoid crowds and favour secluded destinations offering exceptional service and preferably ease of access.

Bintan Island is certainly one of those, as we're easy to get to and away from the crowds. You can even enjoy a spot of Blokart sailing on our mile-long deserted beach.

7. What do you think makes an unforgettable hotel experience?

It’s definitely the personal touches. Outstanding architecture, decoration and location must only be a background for the human service you receive. In today’s bustling world we seem to have forgotten the simple, old-fashioned meaning of the word ‘hospitality'. Hotels in the time of our grandparents were almost always family owned and family run. Guests were introduced, life-long friendships were made and life-long hosts greeted returning guests. Human bonds should be stronger than online rankings. 

8. What’s your best hotel experience ever?

Definitely Château de Gilly in France, because of its exceptional historical character and how we were made to feel like valued guests in a friend’s house.

It was reminiscent of the collection of experiences we have on offer at The Sanchaya.

I loved the unique spirit of old-fashioned hosting and caring for each and every soul, walking through their doors.

9. Which country do you most want to visit and why?

My wife and I have yet to discover most of Indonesia and are dreaming of a discovery journey through Japan, one SLH hotel after another!