This was my first time to Pulau Ubin and to Celestial resort. Before I review, I should probably say that Pulau Ubin is lovely, well worth the visit and that I cannot wait to go back in a few months time when the tides are more better timed to Wetland Guided tours.
I really enjoyed my two days on Ubin. Myself and my girlfriend spent the first day strolling and taking in some of the roads and paths on foot. The second was spent cycling to the Chek Jawa wetlands, the sensory trail, the north of the island, etc..
However, the "resort" was a letdown.
At SGD $138 per night it is quite expensive for what is, effectively, an average hostel.
The rack rate $138 included a standard room (bathroom, double bed, TV, noisy aircon, and no fan) and, to be fair, a surprisingly good breakfast.
However, that was it.
There is a deal that includes 1 hour kayaking, unlimited snorkeling and unlimited fish spa for SGD $25. The kayaking and snorkeling are in the on-site lagoon. The promotional pictures imply a crystal clear tropical experience. In effect it it is not quite so: It’s more like a murky pond. We skipped the snorkeling and kayaking, the snorkeling because it didn't look entirely welcoming, the kayaking because the lagoon is pretty small. One thing to note, you still have to pay for the snorkeling if you have your own gear.
We enquired about going for a swim and were told that we would have to pay. For the 'resort' pool where we were staying! I cannot believe that $138 a night doesn't even let you have a swim in the lagoon. (I use the word lagoon lightly). In fact, even to sit at the edge of the lagoon in an aging deck chair incurs a fee.
We did opt for the $10 for 1 hour fish spa, which we really enjoyed it must be said. There are two pools with different varieties of fish in each that will gladly eat away and dead skin on you feet, legs or indeed whole body if you so desire. We left it at feet and legs :-) At $10 per hour, this is actually a good deal. Saying that, you can stroll in and get the same rate off the street – there is no guest rate.
The other good point about celestial is the restaurant, as I have already mentioned, the breakfast is quite good - eggs, sausages, beans, toast, tea, coffee, juice. The veggie offering for my girlfriend was very good too. We also had dinner and I can personally recommend the barbequed stingray. We did move tables a couple of times though so we could here each other over the blaring music. This is not the place for a romantic dining experience.
There's no real 'nightlife' at celestial either. I was left wondering where everyone was at 8:30 at night. Luckily, the restaurant sells beer but there is no bar area as such. I quite enjoyed my dinner and a few beers though.
Bicycle hire is $10 per day but, to be honest, the bikes are newer and cheaper at any of the places nearer the jetty. However, we noticed on the rules it is not permitted to have non-resort bicycles on the resort site. We were glad we didn’t go with our original plan to bring our own bicycles with us. We hired a couple and they did the job though - and cycling the island is a very nice way to get around.
One more note: I took a stroll around the resort a couple of times and couldn't help but notice the litter, especially around the coastal areas. I am sure that quite a lot of the rubbish was just deposited on the shore by the tide, but a few minutes a day by a couple of members of staff could have cleared it. Nobody likes to see litter, especially when it is so easy to clear. Also, we didn’t see anything to support their claim to be “practicing Conservation” at the resort.
Speaking as a very experienced traveler who is happy to stay at the bottom end of the scale when required, this place was more of a very overpriced average hostel than a resort. A fairer price would be about $15, rather than $138. When I go to Ubin again, and I will, it will be for day trips though and I will most probably not stay at celestial again, I am sorry to say.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Celestial Resort ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Celestial Resort Pulau Ubin Hotel Pulau Ubin