This resort is simply not worth the money. This was a review that was sent to an important person at Banyan Tree, and was completely ignored. My family and I are furious that we were ignored, and normally would not post a review this scathing, unless we were treated this way. We will never be back, and will make sure that our family and friends don't go back.
I would like to start of with the excellent things about Bintan. The villas themselves, location and setting were absolutely stunning. The villa overlooking the ocean was absolutely breathtaking, and the private swimming pool was an absolutely unique and wonderful addition to the villa. After that, came the Spa. The Banyan Tree Spa is possibly the very best spa experience that we have ever had. If I’m not mistaken, we had a total of 7 or 8 extended treatments (We all got the Ayurvedic treatments which were phenomenal.) I have to say, being as objective as possible, these were the only two excellent things that I experienced at this resort. (Everything else was simply awful)
This continues to what I consider to be the flaws in our most recent experience, which far outweighed the positives. The very biggest one that I have to say was all related to service and training. I have managed to take a substantial amount of time to list out the things that were an issue, as I really would like to give you my most objective feedback:
-Timing of Service: Very often, we would call for the buggy, or towels, or very (very) simple things and it would take an extraordinarily long time. Under no circumstance should a 5 star take 30 minutes to deliver towels, or have a buggy pick us up. I would understand if it happened once, but this happened on a daily basis, on every occasion. More often than not, did it take excessively long, as opposed to on time. Towards the end of our time in Bintan it was extraordinarily frustrating, up to the point at which we didn’t even request anything, just because we knew it wouldn’t come on time, if at all.
-Quality of Service: There were several times that we had asked for very simple things, such as aloe vera (even if we had to pay for it) for a sunburn. We made this request 3 times, 2 times of which we were never even called back, and the third time in which we had to actually ask them to deliver it. We ended up getting gauze and a burn kit, for fire burns.
-Communication: Very often in ordering at breakfast we would either never get something, or get 2 sets of everything. There was never a consistent communication system, and it went from being charming, to frustrating as I don’t like waiting excessive amounts of time, but I dislike wasting food even more! There was a point when we had 6 egg dishes at our breakfast table, having only ordered 2 of them.
-Maintenance: This is an enormous issue with me. I am well aware that Banyan Tree Bintan was doing extensive refurbishing, but these were little things that were completely unacceptable, especially when they add up. I have listed out examples:
-Dead insects in netting above the bed: I know this resort is in the middle of the jungle, and I have no problem with insects at all. My biggest problem is if the same dead insects have been sitting in the above netting, since before I got there, and even after I left. They were never once removed! This means they never once looked from the perspective of the “experience” of the guest. In addition to this, there was wear, tear and holes in some of the netting, which really takes away from the whole purpose of it.
-Visible garbage down by the foliage: In a resort like this, one should never visibly see garbage in the privacy of your own villa. This garbage looks as if it had been there for a while, and seems as if nobody ever checked. I have even attached a photo for your reference. (Bintan Litter Attachment)
-Maintenance of lighting: For the entire 5 days we were there, one of the statue lights were out, and the other light was obnoxiously flickering on and off. In both cases, I have videos and photos for your reference. This is another very basic thing that could (or even should have!) have been fixed in a resort of this caliber. It shows a further lack of training and attention to detail. (Flickering Light Attachment)
-The outdoor bathtub: Many people are very fond of bathtubs, and especially outdoor ones. However, during the entire 5 day period, this bathtub was absolutely filthy, filled with leaves, dirt and insects. I would expect that they would at least clean it daily, but this was not the case. It was absolutely unusable, and none of us even stepped foot inside of the bathtub even once, out of fear of hygiene.
-Attention to detail: These things may sound very picky, but attention to detail is what truly distinguishes a five star resort from the rest. These little details make you feel special, welcomed, and leaves a truly memorable experience. I have listed down details:
Turn down service: Every evening when they did the turn down service, they always placed two robes and two slippers on my bed, even though there was only one of me in my room. This shows that they didn’t even know who was staying in what room, or how many total guests there were.
-Set up of amenities: In all cases, although there were 3 of us, there was only two of everything. Meaning that when I opened a bottle of wine, champagne, or any thing else, we always had to request for an extra glass to be sent, almost always which took at least 20-30 minutes, ruining any impromptu experience. In addition to this, especially in the case of the champagne glasses, they were almost never matching, which is another big problem for me. I would have expected the villa to be set up for 3 people, if not at least 4, but this was not the case in any of the amenities which caused daily inconveniences. For the level of this resort, it should not be too much to ask for 4 matching champagne glasses.
-Minibar/Snacks: On several occasions we opened up snacks from the minibar, and in every single case they were stale and unpreserved. Although the items had not expired, I don’t think that they were stored properly, and they were always completely stale. To top this off, they weren’t always even replaced! We couldn’t even try another set, to see if they were stale because of lack of replacement.
-Tipping: This may seem very minute, but as a person living in America, I am a very generous tipper. Because I felt the staff was trying SO hard, I wanted to reward all of them, all the time. However, in the resort it was almost impossible to get any small change. On three occasions, on three different days we went to every outlet on the property (Gallery, Lobby, Spa) and not a single one had change. One day the receptionist claimed they had 9 USD in the resort, which I find shocking, or hard to believe. It went from a weird anomaly to an annoyance as I really wanted to tip the staff. I ended up just handing out $20 USD bills because I still would rather give too much, rather than nothing.
-Food Safety/Hygiene: This is one of the very biggest issues that I had as at least 2-3 experiences we had would violate Food Safety/Health laws in the United States, and any other civilized nation. When we asked for an ice bucket to be delivered, we were given an ice chest that was absolutely filthy on the inside. The ice that I was supposed to put with my drinks was visibly dirty on the inside, and happened more than 3 times. The last experience we had was so bad that I had to take a photo just to show you how truly unacceptable, and potentially dangerous it was. Each time we had to order ice at least twice as it was so dirty that we refused to use it. Contamination sickness is one of the most catastrophic events to happen to any hotel, let alone a 5 star resort. I have seen lawsuits and cases in which people became seriously ill (such as E. Coli and Salmonella) where irreparable damage is done.
I highly recommend against this resort until the necessary things have been done to fix it.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.