Try and keep this one short and sweet! We went to Club Med, Bintan, for a family holiday. Actually, we went as a group with two families, each with parents and child around 5 years old.
The resort itself is convenient to reach, with Club Med buses waiting regularly at the pier to take guests to the hotel itself. The bus trip is around 15 to 20 minutes, so fairly harmless.
The resort itself is located on the seaside with a splendid private beach. There is lift access to every floor of the main building and there are ramps to all the individual blocks housing the rooms; that said, once you get to those blocks, you will have to negotiate fairly steep walkways or stairs; so those that have mobility issues should bear this in mind. The entire complex is well-maintained, all but for the actual rooms themselves. In short, the Club Med style of having a vacation is very much alive and well, and is fantastic for a family holiday with superb management, atmosphere and range of events to participate in. The only let-down was the conditions of the room (details below). Here are the pros and cons:
- Superb management and staff, both in terms of quality and quantity. Club Med Bintan has quite an army of staff and there is always somewhere nearby to help. Moreover, the staff are extremely well trained and passionate; always prepared to take the extra step to help. I thought the staff joining in at all the dinners and sitting with the guests is a very nice touch;
- Good value. On paper Club Med holidays are perhaps more pricey than your standard package tour, but when you consider all food and beverage (yes, including most alcohol!) and activities are all-inclusive, then you definitely get your money's worth!;
- Fantastic array of events to participate in - young and old! The list of activities which guests may participate in, are, literally, endless. We stayed there for 3 days and don't think we managed to get through 5% of the activities on offer! Moreover, they have a mini club and petit club, which cater for children as young as three, through to their teens, so you can drop your kids off for a day of fun, while you can go and do your own activities - yes, time alone! We chose to participate in the snorkeling, sailing and visiting the spa. The sailing was very fun and again, very safe given the calm waters, and the instructor was very good. The team running the snorkeling were not so professional and a bit more laid back, so newbies should take note of this. The spa is, of course, paid for by yourself and not included in the booking fee, but well worth it!
- Safety. We found the resort very safe in most respects. Security at the resort was no problem at all. Safes are provided in the rooms and even when we were out at the pool or the beach, we did not worry about leaving things unattended. The water temperature in both the pool and the sea was almost perfect - the pool is not too deep, which is great for kids, but deep enough for a good swim and the beach is also fair shallow close to shore, so again, it was quite safe to let the kids play near the shore despite there not being lifeguards manning the beaches.
- Only one major gripe: The Rooms! We know the Club Med philosophy is to encourage guests to 'get out there' and enjoy what nature has to offer, and stay out of the rooms. But in this modern day and age, and given the money that is being charged for the holidays, I genuinely think the rooms can be better looked after and perhaps modernized. Gripes include: (a) poor extraction system in the toilets, which makes it rather embarrassing when someone wants to use the loo after you take a wee poo!; (b) very dated fixtures and fitting and a good few cracks in the wall; (c) no bath tub; and (d) given that our room was in the region of 700 square foot, I thought a 17 inch TV was a little stingy! Also very limited choice of channels (you can't kayak, sail or swim 24 hours a day!). At the end of the day, we all pay good money to be there, and I think the only part of the package which is not commensurate with the price, are the rooms.
- Telephone reception: To be fair to Club Med, they make this known on their website, but the fact is telephone reception at the Bintan resort is non-existent. You can arrange to tell nearest and dearest about your room number and Club Med's front desk will be more than happy to take messages or forward calls to your room, but again, in this day and age, a lot of travelers will be quite business minded irrespective of whether they are there to take a break and recharge in the first place - so, if you are expecting calls from the office or looking after a business, you might want to bear this in mind.
All-in-all though, enjoy the beautiful beach and surroundings with the family! Highly recommended!
- 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