THE SANCHAYA, rising from the white sands of Bintan island in Indonesia’s Riau archipelago, is a genteel adventure into an old-world setting fitted out with contemporary luxuries. With its colonial style architecture and sun-kissed suites and villas, it submits to the romance of seclusion afforded by small tropical islands; Bintan lies 1,127 nautical miles away from Singapore.
The Sanchaya opened in 2014; its latest accolade is its listing among the Top Resorts of Asia under Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards 2017.
With the resort’s emphasis on travel wellness, there’s been great attention paid to its Indonesian-influenced spa, which offers two treatment rooms and outdoor cabanas.
A further enhancement has been the newly-appointed spa manager, Ria Cantle, who brings her vast international experience, acquired in some of the world’s leading hotels and resorts, to bear upon the spa’s wellness programmes.
Her specializations include Deep Tissue Massage, Reiki and Crystal Healing. She leads an expert team that offers massages — among these, the Sanchaya Signature, which uses various massage techniques and Javanese volcanic warm stones in promoting deep relaxation. Also on the menu are Oxygen facials and The Kawasaki Way Treatment.
Ria has chosen to work closely with the onsite chef, creating a fresh range of organic scrubs made from ingredients unique to the region, and which are known for their beauty-promoting and curative properties.
GETTING TO KNOW RIA CANTLE
A personal tragedy spurred her to explore wellness and holistic therapies. Working as an auxiliary nurse in the United Kingdom, Ria had already realised that she liked caring for people. But a family emergency led to a greater discovery about herself.
“It was the devastating news of my father’s terminal cancer which prompted me to give up my role in auxiliary nursing to help care for him at home. During this time, we talked about what inspired me and I knew that I wanted a role in which I could in some way use my caring nature.”
She decided to enrol in an intensive Beauty and Massage Therapy course in the city of Bath Spa, United Kingdom.
“Having graduated, I bombarded the spa director of the award-winning Ananda in the Himalayas in Northern India with reasons why he should give me a job …Thank you, Colin Gray Hall, for having given me that opportunity!
“It was under his guidance there that I learnt from some of the best wellness practitioners in the world. And the setting of the spa resort Ananda, in the foothills overlooking the pilgrimage town of Rishikesh and the River Ganges, was the most peaceful and spiritual place I have ever experienced. It was these events which set me on the wellness path.”
Ria had always had rather special hands. As a child, she would tell her mother she could see a yellow light around them. And her hands were always warm.
“Sounds silly, I know, but over the years I realised that it was not enough to heal the body, it was necessary to heal the mind. My interest in Reiki was ignited several years ago when I was working through my own life issues and I was attuned to Reiki. Everything seemed to fall into place –my experience of seeing colours and my hands transmitting heat without touching. It is not something I can explain in words, it is something I feel.”
“In the Spa, it is often the case that my guest will cry during a treatment. She (or he) cannot explain why, it seems to be an outpouring of emotions, not in a sad way but in a rejuvenating way.”
Civilisations have long used the innate healing properties of crystals to balance energy flow and clear negativity. Ria too works with crystals.
“This was a natural progression from the Reiki experience and is a key component of holistic healing. There is a crystal that can be used to enhance any mood, so I consult with my guests before their session so I can give the appropriate personal care. I listen. I discover how my guest is feeling…
Many come through the door feeling tired or stressed. My aim is to remedy those feelings and if I have been successful, even in a small way, then I myself feel good.”
Having worked on, and taken on (to a degree), the stresses of the client, how does the healer and therapist herself unwind?
“I like to engage with nature, whether walking on the beach or through a forest, just taking in the sounds and scents.
I like to listen to music and, where possible, I like to be with animals. At home we have a menagerie of horses, dogs, and cats. When I am working, I usually end up with one stray animal. It seems to arrive on my doorstep!
I am indebted to so many people who have encouraged me over the years: my father, my family, and others. Without their help I would not be doing the job that I love.”
The Sanchaya Estate
Lagoi Bay, Bintan
Riau Islands, Indonesia
50 minutes from Singapore
Tel: +62 770 692200
Toll free number (in Singapore): 3156 3661