Living in Singapore is great. One of the main perks is the ability to take a weekend away to other countries. A pain-free alternative to jumping on a plane is a ferry to Indonesia where there are a number of islands waiting to welcome you. One weekend, pushed for time, my husband and I opted for a weekend getaway to Bintan Lagoon Resort.
They have a private ferry service direct to the resort from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal. The price of the ferry was included in the all-inclusive package we purchased direct from the resort. Bintan Lagoon Resort is the largest integrated resort on the island of Bintan.
It has a long stretch of groomed beach and two championship golf courses – perfect for a South East Asia golfing trip.
This was actually our second trip to this resort. We went with our two teenagers for a weekend back in 2012. My recollections from 2012 included a very busy arrival terminal at Bintan Island, followed by a bus trip to get to the tired looking resort. Our kids loved the pools, but I recall feeling like we were held hostage to the high prices at the resort restaurants. There was nowhere else within walking distance; and the kids wanted to just swim, eat and sleep.
Bearing that in mind, we returned with just the two of us, knowing the same issue with restaurant options would exist. But since we only had two nights, we prepared to relax and enjoy the resort amenities and restaurants to the fullest.
The arrival by private ferry, run by Mozaic Ferries, was effortless and a good start to our weekend. Six years earlier, as New Zealanders, we had needed to purchase Visa-on-Arrival, but the times they are a changing, and no visa was required this time round.
Upon arrival at the foreshore of Bintan Lagoon, we walked up to the resort to see how much we remembered from our previous visit years ago. Alternatively, there is a shuttle bus to take you up the hill to the main reception area. The welcome drink and local dance troupe at the reception area was a nice touch.
We could feel the recent stress melting away.
Straight away I suspected the resort had had a refresh. This was confirmed when we got our room key. The resort was not looking tired anymore! Hallelujah!
In the time between unpacking and our evening meal we booked spa treatments and tee-off times at the golf course for the couple of days. Then we walked around the resort to orientate ourselves.
We had selected an all-inclusive package. This covered the cost of the breakfast buffet (good selection of different cuisines), gave us credits toward a lunch meal, a dinner meal and entitled us to free ‘taster’ sessions on activities that would normally cost extra such as jet ski for 15 mins, archery with 20 arrows, driving range with 20 balls, etc.
Excluding the jet-ski and ninebot (like a segway) experiences which we declined, we took advantage of all the free activities over the weekend, and enjoyed them all.
Bintan Lagoon Resort has two 18 hole golf courses on site. One designed by Jack Nicklaus, and the other named after the Australian golfer Ian Baker-Finch. We played each course. Unlike some golf courses in South East Asia, it is not compulsory to pay extra for a golf caddy accompany you at Bintan Lagoon. But it is always nice to have someone who can give you the lowdown on the lay of the land, etc.
About halfway round each course there were locals selling bags of recovered golf balls. We wished we’d stocked up when we saw them; we quickly ran out of balls, and didn’t see any other secondhand ball sellers for the rest of the course.
After hours on the golf course, a massage is bliss.
There is a good selection of massages and treatments available at Bintan Lagoon and the staff were attentive and knowledgeable. To save time and money, we took our massages at the same time, but one of us took our massage in-room (significantly cheaper) while the other went to the spa.
Food and Entertainment
We enjoyed all our meals at the resort, though one day, we had to wait a very long time for an unexplained reason in the sports bar for a late afternoon snack.
We only had two evenings at the resort. The first we enjoyed at Nelayan restaurant taking our time over the Rijsttafel feast. We considered the resort nightclub for a bit of dancing afterwards but turned in at a sensible hour ready for our early tee-off time the next morning.
The second night we tried the Karaoke Lounge. If you want to sing in private, book a karaoke room in advance.
While my husband can actually sing, I only think I can.
An impressive range of English songs from all decades, including recent songs, were duly mashed amidst gales of laughter. We enjoyed it so much that we stayed on and joined other guests in the main lounge area who were also having a great time.
Last, but certainly not least, we have to mention the resort pools. Thick, soft towels are complimentary and are yours for the taking (well, once you’ve signed for them at the towel counters). One of the pools is geared more for kids and has a slide and pool toys for rent. The other pool is larger, has stunning ocean views, and with a swim up pool bar, it caters more for the older guests. Both pools had comfortable loungers and umbrellas.
We never made it to the ocean for a swim; let’s face it, with the Singapore Straits right there, chances of oil in the water are high. But with the clean pools complete with drinks and snacks available, we didn’t feel like we were missing out.
After only two nights, our goal to relax and recharge was accomplished. A package at a resort might not be the most adventurous weekend, but for us, the weekend getaway to Bintan was the stress-free break we needed. Our golf game may even have improved too!
Trip taken April 2018