First of all, it's a rather run-down property - so be warned. It's not 5 star or even 4, maybe 3 and especially if you've chosen the superior option, you may be dismayed (as I was) to find the room bare, faraway, back of the block with totally no view but you may be happy to find out that there's a promotional upgrade to Deluxe rooms with a 20% discount. But anyway, one does not come to Club Med for the rooms. One comes to Club Med for the activities, the fun, the people. Don't stay in the room unless it's raining and storming and you have no choice.
Oh and one more point. The bed is uncomfortable but thankfully you would be so tired out every night you'll have no problems sleeping.
The People make all the difference between a wash-out holiday and a fantastic one. On Day 1, a waiter spilled food on a favourite travel tote and left stains which could not be removed. Leo, our GO, was very helpful and tried to look for a dry cleaner somewhere on the island to try and get the stains removed. The front desk manager also attempted to contact the other hotels to see if they could help but this is Bintan after all, so nope nothing could be done for my bag. What they did instead was to offer to pick up the cleaning bill when I get it done in Singapore. I was impressed with their sincerity and that effort to go the extra mile.
My kids loved Mini Club and could not get enough of it and I can see why. The GOs at Mini Club (Vivi, Sun, Rendi, Yuki, Otto) were all such wonderful people who took great care of the children. My younger daughter (3 yrs) who did not qualify for Mini Club but wanted to tag along with the older girl was able to. Club Med has a list of inhouse baby sitters you could hire for SGD5 per hour and that helped us get some time away to join in the activities we the adults wanted. Look for Yeni. She's good and patient and my daughter took to her.
But I think the information flow could be better managed at Club Med. There were activities round the clock and we were given only a general hardcopy of the activities while the daily updates were posted on the walls. Again, hard copy. What Club Med can do is perhaps push info out to the guests via an App or say let us sync our smart devices with the daily updates. We had to resort to taking photos of the activity sheet with our iPhones because we had to remember the adult activity schedule and the Mini Club's schedule. Imagine you had a kid each in Petit Club, Mini Club and Teens Club!
There was also conflicting information on how old a child needed to be to get on the Trapeze and try out Archery. Some GOs said 5-8 years old for Archery, others said 4-12 years or 5-8 for Trapeze. It was only when we talked to the Mini Club folks that they explained insurance did not cover children under 4 for Trapeze that we understood.
Food. Honestly, I read all the bad reviews about food on Tripadvisor and to my surprise (maybe I was already prepped for bad food!?), the buffet is actually not bad at all. It's not the average buffet fare you may find at the other hotels. Here the chef tries to vary the menus and they also plate the food nicely for you. Always go with what the GOs recommend like Saturdays Korean Ramen is good and Wednesdays Korean Kim Chi stew. The GOs have eaten there week after week so they know what they don't want to miss.
Personally, I enjoyed the yoga classes, water aerobics and archery lessons. My husband was happy with sailing the hobby and we did some kayaking. Having a private beach is nice too and the waters being quite shallow allowed the children to play on the beach safely.
It was hard getting back to reality and missing my daily Mojitos-on-demand. haha but well, that makes us want to go back and try another Club Med holiday! Hope this was useful.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Club Med Ria Bintan Hotel Bintan
- Club Med Bintan Island Riau Islands
- Bintan Club Med