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“Perfect” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Nikoi Island

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Nikoi Island
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Private Island, Riau Islands Province, Indonesia   |  
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Ranked #2 of 30 Hotels in Bintan Island
York, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Perfect”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2013

There is nothing we didn't like about this Island! It has amazing suites, lovely food, very very relaxing and picturesque, the staff and lovely and cannot help you enough, they light a fire on the beach every night, it was absolute heaven, cannot recommend it highly enough!

If you want nightlife and lots of things going on then this island is not for you. If you want a beautiful paradise island where you can leave your stuff around without fear of it being stolen, where you can relax and just appreciate the loveliness of it all then nowhere else comes close!

It is expensive, but it is so totally worth it! I will definiately go back and very much recommend it as the nicest place I have ever stayed.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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.
relaxedby, Owner at Nikoi Island, responded to this review, February 13, 2013
Thanks for your very kind review. Great to read it was one of the nicest places you have stayed in. We look forward to welcoming you back some day.
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498 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (94)
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Singapore, Singapore
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
61 hotel reviews
Reviews in 51 cities Reviews in 51 cities
88 helpful votes 88 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2013

Not sure what all the fuss is about..
but the travel from Singapore is in total 4 hrs, which is not the shortest way.
And I dont question the beauty of the Island, it is without a question an amazing place.
But I don't think it is luxury and worth the price.
Understand that they have this rustic charm and natural concept, but then why that price?

The food is average and there is no choice in the set menu, and every single drink is charged extra.
There is not even a mini bar or a kettle for tea or coffee in the villa, nor a phone, so you have to walk back to the main hut for every single drink (and we stayed at the far end)
The two storey villa is def nice but it is a open concept, so with def plenty of mosquitos and I was eaten alive (even with plenty of spray every hour).
And due to the open concept, you can hear your neighbours all the time, and we had on both sides families with small kids who were awake at 6am. This was not really my dream of a relaxed weekend away (and I have nothing against kids at all), but maybe they should learn to place the families at one side or at least next to each other and couples somewhere else!
And then there was no direct beach access in front of the villas, you always have to walk to the main beach in front of the main hut and its always full.
For the Spa, they come to your villa and massage you, but we had to remind them three times as they forgot us and always walking back to the main hut..;-(
So in all not the best place for our relaxed weekend away

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
relaxedby, Owner at Nikoi Island, responded to this review, February 13, 2013
Thanks for the feedback. I am sorry to hear you thought Nikoi was expensive for what it offers. The reason it is expensive is that we have only have 15 houses on the island and operating on remote island is not cheap. A stay on Nikoi will always seem more expensive because it will also include all of your activities, drinks and transfers which makes it difficult to compare to other destinations where you might eat sleep and drink at separate venues. We are the first to admit that this will not appeal to all and have no interest in selling at anything other than what it is. What we try to offer is a private island experience that is unlike anything else in the area. Free of traffic, rubbish, touts and crass overdevelopment.

On the subject of the concept we did not want to copy other resorts with their chandeliers and marbled lobbies and if this is what you consider luxurious then Nikoi will not suit you. We wanted to create a relaxed atmosphere which makes a stay on Nikoi like staying at a friends private island. We do try and make this clear in our literature and my apologies if you felt this was not the case.

Our food is simple and based on what is available in the markets. It takes a huge amount of planning and organisation to get it there and make sure it is fresh and for this reason we have a set menu. This will not suit fussy eaters or those with specific dietary requirements which is why we are always happy to cater for individual requirements. In this respect we wanted to make it much more akin to staying at a friends place than a resort where you would allow your host to chose the menu for you.

Nikoi was designed to cater for both families and couples. We provide separate dining rooms and have clustered the rooms to separate families and couples. Unfortunately some guests do not always let us know they are travelling with children. If you come midweek and out of school holidays then there are rarely many kids on the island.

Since you stayed with us in October we have made some progress with our mosquito program and I think you would notice a difference if you were to return. Unfortunately the mosquito is ubiquitous in the tropics. The sandy soils and sea breezes do generally keep them at bay but the winds are typically mild in October when you visited.

We also will shortly be offering tea and coffee making facilities in the rooms.

I would also like to correct you on a few factual inaccuracies in your review. Firstly I don't understand your comment about not having direct access to the beach as all of our accommodation is directly on the beach. The beach moves around a lot during the year so some times it is narrow and other times quite wide. With never more than 50 guests we many more sun loungers to guests. Thirdly I can assure you that the route we take to the island is the shortest and there is a map on our website to show you. It takes 2 1/2 hours from the ferry terminal at Tanah Merah in Singapore not 4 hours as you suggest but if you live on the west side of Singapore and include the check in time it will take you 4 hours. The only way to shorten the route would be to fly by seaplane or to take a helicopter neither of which are available. Fourthly we will stock a cool box of drinks in the room and this is explained in our literature and should have been explained to you when you checked in.

I apologise for your experience with the spa and have passed on your comments to our staff.

Thanks again for the feedback and I am sorry for it not being the experience you were expecting and breakdowns that appear to have occurred.
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Singapore, Singapore
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2013

Was at Nikoi last weekend, and I must say it's an awesome 3D2N trip. The journey started with staff greeting us at the ferry terminal, assisting us with the VIP transfers. Extremely friendly driver who make a stop for us to take pictures as we were much ahead of others.
The island is beautiful and the food is good. The place looks exactly like the pictures on the Nikoi webpage. The room is unexpectedly clean, especially it's not enclosed and we were expecting crawlies, and probably sand. The only concern we had was the crawlies droppings on the floor after we return from dinner (but I guess this is unavoidable, since the hut is surrounded by nature).
We like the fact there there is no TV, phone or air-con or even some amenities. It's a great place to just relax and zonk out and of cause spend quality time with your loved ones.

We had a great time and we will definitely return.

To add on, all the staff were extremely helpful, and the service level was outstanding (from check in to meal time to ferry transfer) !

  • Stayed February 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
relaxedby, Owner at Nikoi Island, responded to this review, February 4, 2013
Thanks for your kind review. Great to hear you enjoyed your stay so much. Also very pleasing to read your comments about the food and the service. We look forward to hopefully welcoming you back some day.
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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

I have been living in Asia since 1992 when I moved to Beijing. Since then, I have lived in Hong Kong, Seoul and Kuala Lumpur and travelled a fair bit in the region, staying at all kinds of upmarket and downmarket beach resorts in my time. I can safely say that Nikoi Island is absolutely the best resort I have ever stayed in. It is truly relaxing, wonderfully designed, environmentally sensitive and staffed by helpful and delightfully low-key staff. My kids, my parents and I were thoroughly relaxed after just three nights there.
Reading through all these reviews, I also understand why some people really don't like it - because it is proper island life, and you can get splinters and the food is not five-star haute cuisine. Also, the island is really far away (that is part of the charm for me....) and the Internet access is not brilliant (also a plus for me).
For me, Nikoi fits in that wonderful space between the glitzy upmarket Four Seasons resorts of this region and the backpacker beaches ridden by sand flies (not a sand fly or mosquito to be found on Nikoi, just wonderful beaches and mangrove swamps to explore on the far side of the island). For me, the price is totally justified on account of the total peace and relaxation of the place and I dont mind in the slightest that I don't have a minibar or a shower cap. I will be back as soon as I can.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
relaxedby, Owner at Nikoi Island, responded to this review, February 13, 2013
Thanks for your very kind review. It is always wonderful to read someone who values the concept. As you say Nikoi will not suit everyone's taste and that is fine by us we did not want to compromise on what we wanted to create. We look forward to welcoming you back some day. Thanks again.
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Singapore, Singapore
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2013

My wife & I came to Nikoi in mid December 2012 and spent 6 wonderful days of pure rest and relaxation. It was like finding heaven on earth.
The cottages are superb. Built of wood, they are very open and nicely decorated with very nice cross ventilation. The cottages are very spacious, well maintained and clean with sleeping area on the first floor (very comfortable bed), and a deck with chair and hammock on the ground floor. There is a fan above the bed which kept us cool at night. The lack of TV and radio and not having any connection to email or phone (by choice, I turned off my cell phone) was fantastic. It is incredible how much one feels reinvigorated after such a break from the world. We had a nice view of the sea and it was very quiet and peaceful at all times. In fact the only noise we heard apart from the waves and the birds were the occasional local fishing boats that came by in the morning to check their nets.

We were initially worried that we would be bothered by mosquitos, and brought along some mosquito-repellant lotion, as Nikoi rightly does not fog nor spread chemicals to reduce the mosquitos population. However, we were pleasantly surprised to never have any issues with mosquitos. The natural mosquito repellant method used at Nikoi is really very efficient and we went back to Singapore without once using our mosquito repellant cream!

The staff are really very nice, warm and genuinely helpful. The service and attentiveness of the staff is exceptional. They cannot be praised enough. My wife and I loved the experience of talking to them and their patience in trying to teach us some phrases in Indonesian.

Despite being vegetarian, the food was good and we did have choices and the cook and serving staff always made an effort to modify the daily offering to offer us vegetarian food. We also could choose vegetarian dishes from the menu card which had a decent choice, though after 6 days, the choice did become a bit repetitive.

For those who want to do activities, Nikoi offers small sail boats, canoes, diving and of course swimming. There is also a tennis court and games etc. for children. If you want to do nothing, then you can walk on the beach, relax and read, and when thirsty get a nice drink from the bar!

We would definitely recommend Nikoi to anyone who is looking for a relaxing holiday near Singapore, away from the crowds on a beautiful secluded island. For us it was like paradise and we will definitely be coming back as soon as we can!!

Couple of suggestions that would make our stay even better :-)
1. Provide a small broom in the room for use by the guests if the want to. When we came back from the beach in the evening, we sometimes tracked sand into the cottage, and it would have been nice to broom it out. I know we could have called the staff to do this, but it seemed trivial to call the staff just for this, especially since we knew they would be coming in the morning to clean the cottage. I realize that not all guests would want to sweep their room, but having a broom on hand would give at least a choice.

2. Provide a clothes line or similar in the bathroom. When one comes back from swimming, it would be nice to have somewhere to easily hang the swimsuit, towel etc. Not having a clothes line meant we were forced to use the balcony balustrade or chairs in the room, which is not very nice.

3. For vegetarian guests, offering choice of yoghurt, lentils and maybe some cheese would be nice to complement the current choice of food. Having jam at breakfast would also be nice.

4. Having a small soap dispenser next to sink in addition to the one next to the shower would be great.
It is really nice that Nikoi provides eco-friendly soap, shampoo and conditioner in the bathroom. However there is unfortunately no soap dispenser next to the sink so one has to reach over to the shower every time one wants to wash ones hands.

5. It would be nice if a skin cream/ body lotion could be provided in the bathroom to help moisturize one’s skin.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
relaxedby, Owner at Nikoi Island, responded to this review, February 2, 2013
Thank you for your very kind review. Great to hear you relished the opportunity to disconnect whilst you were away.

We are very pleased with a biological mosquito control program that we are trialing and seeing some great results in reducing the mosquito population without using any sprays.

Nice to hear you tried to learn some bahasa - I always think this is a wonderful way to gain the respect of the locals.

Thank you for your suggestions. We previously had brooms in the room but I think they were too attractive and kept disappearing! We will look into how we can reinstate this.

Unfortunately we are able to source yoghurt locally - dairy products are not part of the typical diet in Indonesia and whilst you could buy them in the larger cities where there are more westerners it is difficult to find them in Bintan. For the same reason we can only buy long life milk and not fresh milk.

We have also taken note of your other helpful suggestions and see how we can implement these.

Thanks again for the review and your suggestions.
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Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

I went to Nikoi as a side trip while in Singapore on business. I didnt know what to expect but I knew it was going to be relaxing and the pictures looked amazing. In the months before, I had been emailing Nikoi trying to get a villa as they were all booked up. After a number of email exchanges, when one came up last minute, a 3 bedroom villa, they offered it to me at the 1 bedroom price as we were only 2 people which was a very nice gesture and a great start to what turned out to be a magical experience.

It was a short high speed ferry south to Bintan, Indonesia, then a 1hr or so across the island in a taxi to small dock and a 40ft boat across to the island. The journey was an adventure through villages and away from the tourist traps I was looking to escape from. It was perfect.

As we approached the island, I realized I had made the right decision. It was like what I imagined Gilligan's Island in size, white sandy beaches, villas lining the shore and turquoise blue waters just like the pictures. It was exactly what I was looking for.

The staff welcomed us as we arrived, we did the paperwork and was shown around. At one end a beautiful rock outcropping with a pool built into it and poolside bar, on the other end white sandy beaches, volleyball nets and the grand open air dining rooms with the most amazing dining room table made out of one giant naturally fallen tree that I understand was found islands away and dragged back to the island. It was like nothing I had seen. Our villa was also open air and amazing, like Robinson Crusoe but in style. Of course this is supposed to be rustic so open air, natural setting, no telephones or tvs, just breathtaking views and relaxing surroundings. Upstairs was the master bedroom which was very cool. The villas were all made with wood found fallen in the surrounding islands and were very well designed with lots of cool places to relax and soak it all in.

The toughest part about being at Nikoi was deciding when to eat next. They gave us a few hour window and that was the only decision of the day, when to eat next. Fresh coconut, not problem, let us climb a tree and knock one down for you. A massage tomorrow at 2, no problem, wait shouldnt you write that down? But as planned, at 1:45 two ladies walked up to the villa and set up on the beach front shelter for side by side massages. At Nikoi, there is nothing but time, relaxation and reflection. Imagine that perfect marketing shot with all the beach chairs and umbrellas lining the white sandy beach with the perfect waters in the distant. Now imagine it with no crowds, and barely anyone around. I swear there were more staff than guests.

I would recommend and I often do, Nikoi to anyone seeking to escape from the tourist traps and crowded resorts. For those seeking to escape all the gadgets, commercialization and bombardment of communications. This is a true escape but without giving up the comforts and great food. Oh and the food. Many traditional Indonesian dishes combined with some more western likes. Imagine sitting in an open dining room, with beauty all around you, your feet cooled in the white sand floor and a long what seemed to be like 40+ foot natural table made out of one piece of wood and friendly staff who only wanted to see you happy. Paradise for sure. I would be shipwrecked here any day.

I still think of Nikoi and cant wait to return. If you go, dont expect tvs, high tech gadgets and same old same old buffets and crowded beaches. This is an escape like no other, and one never to forget.

Thank you Nikoi. I will be back!

P.S I traveled to Nikoi in April 2009 not 2012

Room Tip: They are all good as there are only Villas along the shoreline
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
relaxedby, Owner at Nikoi Island, responded to this review, January 29, 2013
Thanks for your very kind and detailed review. You have provided a very neat summary of what Nikoi is about. It is nice to know it was a magical experience for you. With usually no more than 50 guests on the island our staff outnumber guests 2:1. It is that sense of space and privacy that we wanted to achieve so great to read that you recognised this for what is was - a true escape from the maddening crowds and overdeveloped resorts. We look forward to hopefully welcoming you back some day. Thanks again.
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Singapore, Singapore
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

We went in Oct when my in-laws were visiting from Australia for my wife's birthday and the service to make the days special is so far above my expectations, I think I have been spoilt for life. We have visited Nikoi before with our family and friends, and always had the most amazing time, but the extra effort the staff put in for the birthday was just wonderful. You will not find a better escape with out flying from Singapore.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
relaxedby, Owner at Nikoi Island, responded to this review, January 29, 2013
Thank you for your very kind review. Great to hear you had an enjoyable birthday. Our staff always enjoy helping celebrate a birthday. Thanks again.
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Additional Information about Nikoi Island

Address: Private Island, Riau Islands Province, Indonesia
Phone Number:
Location: Indonesia > Riau Islands Province > Riau Archipelago > Bintan Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Spa Hotel in Bintan Island
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Bintan Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 28
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nikoi Island is a 15 hectare private island just 85kms from Singapore and has long been regarded as one of the most stunning islands on this unspoiled coast. Ringed with white sandy beaches and coral reefs of spectacular color and diversity, Nikoi is for those seeking a true private island experience and the comfort of a destination dedicated to responsible tourism practices. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Nikoi Island Bintan Island, Riau Islands
Nikoi Island Hotel Bintan

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