We're basking in the afterglow of our first club med experience as a family and the glow is not only coming from our suntans. Despite the five full days of on and off rain showers, we still managed to get in some sun, snorkeling, kayaking, beach games, chillaxing by the pool/beach.
The multinational GOs & local GEs work very hard to keep us GMs partying happily day and night. They do it with such a light-hearted, fun-loving spirit, we couldn't help but fall in love with them all. At the end of five days, they made fans (& more so friends) out of some of us. We knew many of them by name and some of them knew us by name and nature. Daud (always so kind and happy), Edward (for that wonderful turtle find on our kayak excursion and being so sooo good with our daughter, Mandy!... You're such a fun croupier, too... "Winner! Winner! Chicken dinner!"), Haffiz (for being the only one to step up and meet our bedroom arrangements, making it wonderfully fuss free for us), Eric (the yoga instructor - my new motto: 'Bend it like Eric, not Beckham!' Loved his breakdancing moves!), Ravi (good job on keeping the restaurant wheels running throughout the day - full house and guests still looking happy! That's a great sign) Dani (our first server who instinctively knew it was our first meal and offered to get us our wine and beer because we looked kinda lost), Josh (life of the party! He's so good at leading games & your kids will get attached to him!), Michael & David (while we were there, they both had some minor but serious mishaps. Like heroes, they sucked it up and continued running around doing their thing - taking my hat off to you!), Danny & team (thank you for keeping the adults and kids safe on the trapeze. Also, we fully appreciate the acrobatic performances), Jemmi, Zoe, & team from boutique - so friendly, patient, helpful. I'm glad you guys won the rocket competition & I won a beautiful hat!).
Marco Marco Marco, the event manager (you double touched our hearts with your persona, magic tricks, antics, and talents. My daughter will always be a number one fan! So talented and versatile!). We didn't get to know him personally but there's a Michael Jackson in the house - a must watch.
Mei, the chef de village, is always around speaking to GMs and very concerned that everyone is happy with their stay. So genuine and warm. She makes a wonderful Chef de village for Club Med Bintan.
Our check in was a little rough at the beginning. There was some misunderstanding because we thought that coach transfer was part of the inclusion of our stay since no mention of cost was made throughout my emails with the reservation side. Anyway, upon arrival, we were taken aside and told that we had to pay (rp100,000/person which was not exorbitant but we thought was unfair). We paid and wrote an email to our reservation contact person. We'll see what they have to say.
Another thing we felt uncomfortable about was that upon arrival at around 1pm (sg time would be 2pm), we were told that if we wanted to dine at anytime before 2pm (that would be check-in time) please pay for that meal. Otherwise, wait till 2pm. We went to check out our room which was ready. By 1.45, my daughter was starving, so we decided to head to the restaurant. No fuss at all from the restaurant... Was that kind of calculative first impression neccessary?
The rooms are well cared for. Not 5-star amenities but good enough and linen clean. Floors sufficiently clean. Twice, the shower did not have any hot water on. Water pressure was ok. Two single beds were joined together to make up a king size. Due to the uncomfortable joining in the centre, my husband stayed on his side of the bed and I stayed on mine. Our 9 year old loved her day bed, in her own corner, she created her own world for all her stuff. I appreciate their eco-friendly concept of not cleaning towels on a daily basis. I was also told that water was recycled to water plants. Another environment friendly gesture is the "ask if you need a straw" policy. Big shampoo and shower gel bottles are a fantastic idea to conserve the use of plastic. Having lived in Indonesia for 3 years, we have come to appreciate how clean their floors tend to be kept and this was evident throughout the resort (except for the toilet/shower room for late check-out guests by the bar/pool).
The beach is so clean and we saw lots of fish in the sea (even from knee depth). This time of the year, parents can sit back and watch the kids play on the beach safely without too much worry about strong currents. There are jelly fish, though. Few and far apart but they exist.
We liked that generally, guests (GMs) were nice and sophisticated enough not to scramble for food. We especially liked that even if we missed the breakfast and lunch buffets, there was la terrasse for other times of the day (which we liked better because of the setting and the lovely sea view).
I loved doing yoga at the spa! So relaxing and Eric, the instructor was helpful and not very pushy. After all, we're on a holiday!
Wherever and whatever it is within the resort, kids are always thought about. They even have their own drink order counter at the bar with a cute step ladder and all... A wide array of mini mocktails. Kids' favorite I'm guessing in "Don't tell mama!"
The awesome thing about this place (& other repeaters are saying the same thing after having moved around themselves) is that this resort property layout is so contained therefore safe for children to move around autonomously without parents worrying too much about safety. We feel that it is a controlled gated resort area where the main entrance gate is too far for wandering children to get out of or strangers to get in. The beach (if I understand correctly) is not a private beach but due to nature, is closed off to non Club Med Bintan guests.
I wonder if we do return on a less festive period, would we receive similar surprise treats (freshly squeezed OJ on Singapore's National Day), fireworks, champagne, BBQ at the beach bar... We're so spoiled.
My husband and I are quiet people and we just enjoyed sitting / standing back and watching people party and having fun. This is our ideal family vacation. No need to worry about where to go for our next meal or how much is a particular sport or fun activity (most of them are included).
Our daughter cried on the coach after the particularly touching send-off. We had not yet left and she had already requested for a return trip and even 'demanded' that we stay for a whole month the next time we return... I wish! We need Mei's help on that with a big discount! Lol
- Also Known As:
- Club Med Ria Bintan Hotel
- Club Med Ria Bintan Hotel Bintan
- Club Med Bintan
- Bintan Club Med
- Club Med Bintan Island Riau Islands
- 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