Bintan Island, Indonesia — A QUICK GETAWAY from the busy Singapore by ferry early this March led us to Bintan Lagoon Resort in this side of Southeast Asia, proving to us once more that the Earth is indeed blessed with a lot of paradise-like islands waiting to be explored.
But before I share satisfaction about this particular escapade, a personal confession first.
Growing up in Palawan, a Southwestern Philippines’ province touted as the last frontier and famous for its being an island paradise, has a lot of setbacks actually, and they’re taking toll on me as I explore the world further. My appreciation of places similar to ours have become very hard. For in reality, nothing compares to what we have back home, and with such an act of loyalty, and patriotism, I ask for your understanding.
It is in visiting various places that I have learned not comparing every destination with my home province. Each is unique, to say the least.
In Southeast Asia alone, paradise-like places are scattered all around neighboring countries Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. They offer great places worthy of attention. Each boasts a beauty to behold, a culture to discover, great food selections to feast on, and a distinct kind of hospitality to experience.
In Indonesia, Bintan Island is one. It is home to Bintan Lagoon Resort, which clearly separates itself from the rest of its kind.
Being the largest integrated resort in this island’s tourism hub known as Bintan Resorts, Bintan Lagoon Resort caters to every visitor’s needs. May it be for recreation, family escapades, getaway with friends, or a special time to bond with special someone.
Honestly, I’ve been eyeing Bintan Lagoon for years now. Its proximity to Singapore made me more interested to visit the resort, which boasts a 310-hectare land area complete with Golf course, Archery range, long white-sand beach, two large pools, gym, recreation center, and a lot more amenities for its guests.
The resort has 470 hotel rooms and villas of different styles to choose from. No wonder why it has become a magnet for visitors from across the globe, mostly Europeans, Americans, and Chinese. Guests from the nearby island state of Singapore also flock to the resort during holidays, and long weekends.
A number of Filipinos working or visiting Singapore also do a two or three-day stay at the resort, yours truly included.
So, after three long years, and after a few returns to Singapore, our plan to visit Bintan Lagoon pushed through earlier this month. Together with Kim, to whom I owe the photos used for this story he beautifully captured, we gave in to its invitation to taste its own flavor of paradise.
Service de Luxe
Bintan Lagoon Resort’s service is above the cut. It has its own private ferry that brings guests from Tenah Merry Ferry Terminal in Singapore directly at the resort’s doorstep. But due to the bad weather during our visit, we didn’t get to experience this. We rode the public ferry instead.
We didn’t feel less special though as a private vehicle was waiting for Kim and I, holding a placard with our names written on it as we exit the immigration. After a few minute-drive, we arrived at the resort with a warm welcome: a dance and music performance of the resort’s performers, and a great tasting iced tea in a beautiful tall glass as we’re amazed by its beautiful lobby. Immediately, I fell in love with the place.
The Rooms and Villas
Depending on one’s budget and preference, there are a lot of room types to choose from. Beautiful villas are available for those who are traveling in large groups as well.
But from among the rooms that could accommodate two persons, I particularly liked the Floral Suite. It is perfect for couples, especially honeymooners. The floral suite are in the more private portion of the resort with easy access to the restaurants, and resort amenities. The area is facing the beach so a minute or two at the balcony would refresh one’s mind. It has a nice bed, a bath tub, and a huge space that I really like.
But even the most basic of the rooms, De Luxe room and De Luxe Plus room are already exceptional as they are very spacious, with option for either a twin-sharing or a king sized bed. You would love any of them for sure.
Of Pools, and Beaches
Being a water person that I am, taking a dip in the pool or go beach’n is necessary, whether at daytime or at night.
One of the two swimming pools here is facing the sea, and offers a good view of the hotel as the backdrop. Tired after touring Bintan Island the whole day on our second day here came with an irresistible offer: go for a night dip.
Who would have thought that our night swimming was one for the book? It was refreshing that my soul escaped for a few minutes to reach the clouds. Add to it the fact that we owned the pool that night as no one bothered to brave the cold night breeze, we were in heaven.
Did I say I am a water person? On the next day, we saw ourselves by the beach, enjoying the morning walk after breakfast, and just listening to the lullabies the wind and the waves weave. After a quick dip, and taking a lot of photos, we headed back to the pool area for a pool dip again.
The scenic pool is more than just a place for swimming. It has two basketball rings, so the kids in us gave in to the inviting water basketball tournament, errr, shooting. It was tiring but whole lotta fun.
Great Food Choices
The saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” proves true to how BLR treats its guests — they offer great tasting food choices that one would easily forget about diet.
The resort features various restaurants but we only managed to try three of them — The TERRACE, Nelayan, and Haskell’s — each with different specialties.
I particularly liked the food at The TERRACE, the resort’s sports bar. Needless to say, I am a sucker for steaks and burgers.
Kim on the other hand liked the breakfast food choices offer at Haskell’s. He is more of a buffet breakfast guy. Dining at Haskell’s provide a good view of the Golf Course’s green scenery, a very refreshing view in the morning.
Food choices at Nelayan are equally tasty but it’s more of a seafood restaurant, fine dining. It offers a great view of the beach in the morning, and a cool breezy night in the evening, depending on the month of your visit.
A separate review about these restaurants will be posted in a separate post but just to give you an idea, here are some of our photos showing how happy we were devouring sumptuous foods. [*Devilish grin*]
The resort’s Golf course is what actually lures most business people to come here. It makes the resort the best destination near Singapore as it provides more option to visitors.
Businessmen could easily schedule a time with his amigos, and tag along his family at the same time.
But for someone whose golf course is a reminder of a sport being taken for granted, it is a new way of saying, “allocate some of your time to know the sports, darling.”
I’ve been asked to try Golf several times by my friends back in Manila. Not that I don’t have a heart for Golf but mine is more on the fact that the Sports seems intimidating, and caters to the upper 10 percent of the society. Maybe I am wrong, but even then, “it’s time consuming,” I told myself.
Okay, okay. I am giving it a try the soonest.
Why not? Golf Club Members of Bintan Lagoon get a special room rates plus a lot of perks. Click here to know about the membership.
While Golf is a sport I am yet to love, Archery on the other hand is the sport I’ve been wanting to try since I was in High School but to no avail. If only I was physically fit back then, I would have made it my sports of choice, and not Badminton, of which I was a varsity player. You don’t have any idea how I envied my classmates who were fit enough for Archery, which training was more challenging. Thanks to this Bintan trip for I’ll surely become an archer any moment from now. [*Grin*]
Unknown to many, a two to three nights’ stay at Bintan Lagoon Resort isn’t that much expensive. Total expenses would only range from SGD$400 to SGD$600 (roughly around P13,000-P20,000) inclusive of accommodation, ferry ride, and foods during your stay.
As the resort is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, great deals are definitely in for your takings. Their current all-inclusive promo is only at SGD$280 (P9,500) as of this posting. Click the banner below to see the deals. Day tour or sightseeing tours are also available. Check out this link for details.
Travel More TIP: When visiting Singapore, it is only wise to cross borders to its two neighboring countries. Southwest of Singapore is Bintan Island, Indonesia which is just an hour away by ferry while up north is Johor Baru, Malaysia, also just an hour away but by bus. Go get a few more stamps for your passport.
Photos courtesy of Kim, BLR, and asiawebdirect.com.