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“Great sports and beach, but food and service lacking” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Club Med Bintan Island

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Club Med Bintan Island
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Jl Site A11 | Lagoi, Bintan Utara, Riau Islands Province 12920, Indonesia   |  
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Ranked #3 of 27 hotels in Bintan Island
Hanoi, Vietnam
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“Great sports and beach, but food and service lacking”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2012

We have been to nearly all the club meds in Asia and it is hard not to compare them. I summarize below the strengths and the weaknesses if this resort.

The best aspects of this club med are the sports and activities, beach, and GO team. The beach is gorgeous--hard to believe this is not far from Singapore. White, fine sand and crystal clear water surrounded by picturesque rocks/hills. The water was clean and waves fun enough to surf in but not too big for kids to enjoy. We went sailing most days with the kids, and snorkeling trips are offered twice daily in the dry season. They stopped on the day we wanted to go--November 1--due to rainy season arrival.

There is a nice bar on the ocean front with lounge chairs all along the resort under thatched umbrellas that protect you from sun and rain. Very beautiful and relaxing.... The only shortcoming at the beach is the limited number of chairs. We were not there during high season, yet nonetheless, several days during our stay we were not able to get a chair since guests would put towels on them early in the morning to stake out their places for the day. When we asked for help to find a place, staff were rather indifferent. Finally we dragged chairs from the lawn onto the beach where we were quite comfortable under the many palm trees. Management should make more of an effort to manage the issue more proactively--either remove towels on chairs that no longer appear to be used or add more chairs. (Phuket club med has someone looking after the beach chairs and guests--might be worth adopting in bintan)

Amazing golf!! We spent several days on the neighboring golf courses. Club med arranges transport and t time booking. The GOs in the golf center are fantastic. They offer lessons every morning and organize trips to courses with guests. We participated in an ambrose tournament which was so fun and very well organized. Ria bintan course is simply stunning. The first 9 holes are on the ocean, with jungle and pond OB areas. The other 9 are also beautiful--on the forest side. Don't bother looking for OB balls...there are snakes and monkeys in the jungle which adds to the excitement of the place. We wanted to play other courses in the area but kept coming back here since it was so great.

There is a nice sports center which, despite being in need of an upgrade, has 6 tennis courts, 2 covered badminton courts, basketball, gym, archery and exercise classes ( Pilates, muscle fitness, aerobics, etc). Yoga is also offered two times a day at the spa on a beautiful terrace overlooking the sea! Teachers are top notch. After yoga you are given a lavender scented cold wet towel and a refreshing cold herbal tea. There are daily tennis tournaments organized by the GOs.

Spa is clean, nice and service is professional and worth the 'resort' prices. I had a strong massage but wish I had more time to book other treatments.

Kids club is great--kids loved the outdoor activities and performing in and watching nightly shows. Evening shows and parties were lots of fun for the whole family.

Ok, now the areas where things could use improvement...there are two main shortcomings at the resort. First is the food, second is the administrative and process management.

Food ... Food at this club med is a sizeable notch below other Asian club meds. Maybe it reflects this club med's noticeable absence of French management, or maybe a decision was made to keep food simple--- but dinning was overall disappointing. In the morning the staff begrudgingly cooks eggs to order, pointing to the greasy, over cooked mass omelets set out in the buffet. Dinner menus and choices lack special items like a wider variety of seafood and delicacies. cheese selection was pathetic. We ate at la terrace for diner and found the food better there than in the main dinning hall. This is a beautiful, intimate outdoor area on the beach. To eat there you need to book first at the large restaurant--so don't waste your time tying to book at reception or in the terrace restaurant directly.

Service--aside from the excellent GO team, service in the dinning room, housekeeping and the reception was sub standard. Part of the problem seems to relate to the resort's policies and internal processes, part of it also seems to be a silo mentality problem. Staff doing their own thing somehow in silos rather than working together to offer good service.

Examples abound:
--Tried several times to book golf, but our family's busy schedule meant that we missed morning hours (9-12) and evening hours 5-7 pm when the pro shop was open. Reception would not book it for us directly until I insisted rather emphatically.

--dinning rooms are large, noisy and service for coffee very slow and inefficient. They have one espresso machine where guests queue up for a tiny cup. For families with small kids waiting in line can be stressful. It can take staff over 10 minutes to fetch it for you, if they don't forget (which they often did).

--one afternoon while playing golf we needed to pass on an urgent message to the kids club GO but found that the reception did not do it, which was upsetting to our son and caused confusion.

--bar was often out of ingredients needed to make drinks (tomato juice, mint, olives)

--the hotel has a policy of not providing bottled water in rooms each day. I understand the need to conserve plastic use but, it is very inconvenient with 3 small kids to care for coming back to the room to find no water to brush teeth and have to drink over night and in the morning. We requested that bottles of water be added to our room each day, but staff often forgot. Reception vould not arrange delivery of water during times when house keeping staff were on lunch break or in the evenings. We suggest that the resort put water coolers in each of the room buildings so guests can at least get water at times when needed and the hotel is not able to provide it.

Finally, the resort is in need of refurbishment. Tennis court nets have holes, communal places are worn down and dark, and rooms are dark, a bit dirty and shower doors are clumsy.

  • Stayed November 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (256)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
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  • Any
English first
Melbourne, Australia
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2012

This was our second trip to Club med Bintan and wont be out last,
it was like coming home from the welcoming to the farewelling (?) everything was great.
i cant recommend it highly enough,the GO's were fantastic and seemed to remember all the guests,always had a smile and nothing was too much trouble for them,sorry but i cant name them all but Aaron,Eric,Bjorn and Mike were standouts, especially with our daughter (10).
The accommodation was excellent,room was clean and the " animals that appeared every day on our bed" (made out of towels) was a welcoming surprise when we came back to the room....not that often as there was always things to do outside.
food was fantastic,so much variety and so much of it,there was always something you could come back and get some more of !
the kids club is a great reason for staying here ,they treat kids like royalty,you could wave them goodbye in the morning and not see them until dinner time.
beach was picture postcard stuff,pools were ace
can highly recommend the restaurant by the ocean(cant remember the name sorry)
but needs to be booked(when you go in for breakfast )....with good reason.
And if you play golf ........the course next door is world class,it is worth the trip alone.
To Mike and the Team,
you are doing a fine job and we cant wait to come back
thanks again....

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2012

We spent 3 nights at Club Med, Bintan. From the start till the end we were greeted by smiles, superb service and by staff who were always wiling to stop to say hello.

The facilities and activities are suited to anyone of all ages. Beautiful pool. Great beach. Indoor sports. Outdoor games. Random sun dances. Theatre/entertainment/performances. Quizzes and the list goes on.

Rooms are standard. But they were clean and that's all you need.

Overall, a fantastic trip that exceeded our expectations. Families, couples, groups will undoubtedly have a great time at a place that is focused on the guests and delivering the best they can to give you the best holiday possible. What more can you ask?

Our superstars are:
Shira - Trainer
Sheyra - boutique assistant
Eric - Sports
Ara - Sports
Woo - Sports
Marco -
Rueben -
Rob - sports
Jonathan - Sports
Matt
Abra - Housekeeping Manager
Ari - Restaurant Manager

The list goes on!

We'll be back, for sure!

Room Tip: ask for sea view rooms
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Mulhouse, France
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2012

After having had several Club Med experiences (nice ones & not as good ones), the latest in Bintan Island was definitely the best. Traveling there as a couple with no kids we first thought "OMG... we will never get to meet other GMs and will stay on our own during all stay"... but no. The GOs came to us and were just perfect. Special thanks to Nora who instantly integrated us in the Village's atmosphere, Anne-Julie and Pauline the funny reception ladies with whom we shared so much fun, Bjorn and Jonathan who perfectly taught us how to play golf and Ervin and Syerah, the entertaining boutique team.
The GO Team there was just amazing, very professional, always helpful, smiling and motivated. Special award as well for Mike who is a great Chef de Village.
The evening shows, comedies and crazy signs were excellent. The food was consistent, various and of good quality and the rooms were nice and clean too. A lot of activities to do in this Club Med. We will definitely remember this stay. Thanks again to all the GO-Team!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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windhoek
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2012

The G.O's were terrific and the activities as well. They really went the extra mile. A great experience. It is a great place to take your children of all ages. Lots of stuff to do and to keep them busy with.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2012

It was our first club Med holiday, and both my wife and I love this holiday. As we have a 1 year old baby, having an all-inclusive holiday is a big plus for us because we need not worry too much of the logistics. Club Med Bintan although has a baby welcome arrangement, there are many other things we need to pack for our baby. Namely milk powders, diapers and other expendables. ( as well as floats for swimming) You can buy these in the village but of course you have to pay the tourist price for these item. Take note!, except for the photo souvenir shop, club Med does not accept cash payment in SGD and they want INR or credit card. For our trip, we brought a mini slower cooker to self-prepare most of our baby meals as we find the buffet spread isn't really suitable for our child. If there is anything -ve about Club Med Bintan, I would say its probably their rooms and the stuff provided for the baby to use. The room standard is comparable to the chalets (I.e NTUC) you find in Singapore which are basic but reasonablely comfortable. The stroller and baby cot provided by the resort are the basic type and are very used. During our stay, we engage a babysitter , Nur, who is also a GE In the resort but doing part time babysitting for 2 mornings. She is a pleasant lady and was always attentive to our baby even though we left both of them in the Pettit club room while we are away. For each babysitting session, we pay her SGD $5 per hr for 3hrs each morning. As we were happy with her service , we decided to tip her $2 each day ( I treat this as Singapore equivalent of 10% service charge :p ) . Many had been said about the wonderful activities found in Club Med and I second that. So I won't go into details about the activities we had done in the village . Last but not least, to Mike, the GM for the village as well as your GOs ( namely Craig for sea sports, Eric for the yoga/aqua aerobic, Marlinda for front desk services , Ibra for housekeeping and the folks at the trapeze ) 3 cheers for the job well done.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Top Contributor
93 reviews 93 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
125 helpful votes 125 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2012

This is our first Club Med experience and it comes with its own culture and quirks, which depending on the type of holiday you are looking for, either makes it to the top of your list or makes you feel like it was a waste of money. For those who want to come here, here is a profile of what you or your family should be like if you are going to have fun: 1. Love being active 2. Enjoy trying new sports 3. Have young kids who will enjoy being on their own in the kids club 4. Or if you have no kids, do not mind having lots of kids around the hotel 5. Do not mind what the room looks like so long as you have fun.

Bintan has many hotel choices and this particular one caters to those who like active holidays.

Booking/welcome: Very easy to use website, and efficient customer service who handled our ferry bookings via email without any hassle at all. Upon arriving at Bintan ferry terminal, we were greeted by the Club Med staff who checked us in, managed our luggage and got us to the bus. It takes approx 15 minutes by bus from the ferry terminal. Upon arrival, Mike and his team were there waving at us when the bus arrived and we were given a brief run down and taken to the room by one of the GOs. This was a faultless process as our bags were already at the room and it was quick, smooth and extremely painless.

The room: With all the reviews here, I was prepared that this wasn't going to be a great room but the state of the room is beyond imagination. It is not just old. It is a room filled with water stains all over the walls, wooden cabinets that are dingy and filled with spider webs, curtains which are moth or bug bitten, a toilet which has water stains all over, tiles that have grout and in a severe need for a full renovation. The air smells funny, which isn't a surprise given that there is mold all around the walls surrounding the air conditioner. I do not know if any of the other rooms have been renovated but we were in the H block and it was already a "deluxe" room which is no where close to being "deluxe" in any way.

Do note that there are many blocks of rooms and each block goes up 3 floors without lifts. If accessibility is an issue for you, do note that you should bring this up with the staff when you make a booking as it is quite a distance from the main block (where the restaurants and all facilities are) if you are placed at the end. Having said that, this is Club Med where activities go on till late, and if you mind the noise, do take a block further away from the main area as you are still able to hear them from quite a distance away.

The rest of it: Thankfully everything outside the room is great, which keeps you out of the room for most of the day! The beach - one of the best ones we have seen in this part of the world. Clean, white and soft sand. The sea is a little rough (but we are close to the monsoon season now so it may be calmer during other months) but still clean and clear. Pools - pretty good but surprisingly not that child friendly. Its still approx 1 meter deep at the shallow section but we realized that the Petit and Mini Club had their own pool so that may explain the less "kid friendly" pool at the main building. Most of the activities are fun, with the highlight being the trapeze. Our little one disappeared with the Mini Club from morning till evening and had an awesome time. The activities conducted by the Mini Club (their Kids' Club for the 4 to 7) is one of the most extensive we have seen and very well executed. Kids were well taken care of and they all had a ton of fun. Do note though that the Kids Club here differs from those some of us may have experienced where there is quite a bit of sit down activities such as art/craft etc. The activity list for the Mini Club is like this: Circus School, Tennis, Archery, Swimming, Lunch, Swimming, Games, Snack, Amazing Race or other events.

Food: The all buffet style, with food and drinks at pretty much all times of the day. Yes, there is lots of food, but do remember this is a massive hotel with mass production of food and drinks at any one time. Quality is not top notch - edible without any doubt but not gourmet on most counts. But still, there are some outstanding things on their menu. The Indonesian food, the specials for the day (Especially during dinner), the pizzas were great. Kids will not have a problem here as the staples of the buffet is pretty much for them - pasta, pizza, nuggets, fries, mash potatoes, sausages. Drinks are also included (including most alcohol) but again, of decent quality but not the best.

Staff - other than the GOs themselves, it was rather surprising that the staff quality was also quite average. No one was rude, but definitely not as warm and personable as other Indonesian resorts we have been to.

Why would you come here then? Because after all that is said about the lousy rooms and the mediocre food (but plenty of it mind you), this is a happy place which is an atmosphere that is very difficult to create. At any time, there are noisy but happy people laughing and enjoying themselves - whether its at the poolside doing aqua aerobics, or trying the trapeze for the first time and feeling ridiculously young at heart, or watching the GOs performing at night. There is always something happening and it is a refreshing feeling for us adults to try our hand at something new (and not have to pay for it!) - a sport that we never thought we would ever try - whether its archery, golf or tennis. This experience together with patient GOs who try their best at teaching you a skill in a fun way creates a holiday experience that is special.

I hope that Club Med takes a serious look at the state of the rooms as a hotel simply cannot operate without its hardware and depend solely on their software (their staff) to function. For this place to keep on getting decent ratings speaks volumes for Mike and all the staff at Club Med because it means that the team is working doubly hard or triply to make up for the poor condition of the rooms by keeping the the guests happy outside the room. If this place gets their rooms refurbished, it will be a super duper place. Because no matter what, the room is the first thing and last thing you see each day and no matter how fun your day was, it would have made a huge difference to have a good nights sleep in a room that is not dingy.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Club Med Bintan Island

Address: Jl Site A11 | Lagoi, Bintan Utara, Riau Islands Province 12920, Indonesia
Location: Indonesia > Riau Islands Province > Riau Archipelago > Bintan Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Bintan Island
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Bintan Island
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Bintan Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Club Med Bintan Island 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Island of Bintan to the south of Singapore is full of history, marked by fallen empires. Its tranquil bays were long used by the Orang Laut pirates as a refuge. This is where Club Med Bintan Island, a haven of tranquility and refinement combining modernity with Asian tradition, now nestles. From the terrace of the Bar, feast your eyes on the mass of lapis-lazuli blue, mother of pearl and emerald, from the pool to the lush gardens. Nearby, Ria Bintan Golf Course is also a golfer's heaven. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Club Med Ria Bintan Hotel Bintan
Club Med Bintan Island Riau Islands
Bintan Club Med

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