I went to nikoi with my wife for a peaceful experience and solitude, and I am happy to say we were able to achieve it. Below is a short summary of our experience during the three days that we stayed there.
We traveled to the island from Singapore. The travel was close to 3-4hrs but it was worth the ride for the seclusiveness the island provides. A fair advice to people taking the ferry from Singapore, take sea sickness pills because the ferry from Singapore to Bintan was quite rough. Once we reached the Bintan ferry terminal there was a Nikoi representative waiting for us. He took care of the the visa processing and helped us with the travel arrangements offered by the hotel, a taxi to Kawai, where a boat was waiting to take us to the island. As soon as we got to the island the island staff greeted us and explained all the usual stuff and showed us to our villas. The luggages where transported to our villas before us :). The taxi and the boat service are in sync with about two or three of the ferries reaching Bintan from Singapore. We had to inform the hotel in advance the ferry we were taking so they could arrange the trip for us from Bintan to Nikoi. The pick ups and drops to Bintan island were charged separately and not included in the stay.
This is NOT a typical 5 star luxury hotel/resort experience at all, a heads up to those who are misguided by the cost thinking it would be. It is a setup that offers the closest natural living experience one can expect without compromising on any of the basic amenities.
The villa was a two floor hut with natural ventilation, and mostly open. But we did not have any problems with insects, because the bed was draped with a mosquito net and there was an anti-insect room spray in the room. There was also a room service in the evening where someone came to place a mosquito coil which also helped. But nonetheless be prepared with some repellents.
The ground floor was more like an open living room. There was a couch, a porch swing, a toilet and bathroom, and a gazebo. The huts were well spaced and there were trees on either side so you don't see your neighbor and neither can they see you. There were also bamboo drapes that we could unfold to get some more privacy in the ground floor. The rear of the house faced the ocean which was good for taking, sunbaths, long walks and swimming.
The first floor is the room with an attached toilet and bathroom. We could lock it only from inside, so we had to leave the room open when leaving. There was a digital safe to store our valuables though. The room faced the ocean too, and the side facing the ocean extends to a balcony which is also open. There where two chairs set out in the balcony to sit out and relax. There is a huge sliding door separating the room from the balcony, using it gives adequate privacy.
Other than that the room had a radio and ipod speaker, charging points, led lights and a rechargeable torch light for moving about at night. The charging point was more Singaporean style, but there was an adapter in the room. The invasion of technology was kept to a bare minimum. You will need the torch while going for dinner through the dimly lit pathway to the main hut so don't forget to charge it. The villa was quite clean and it was maintained that way through out our stay.
The breakfast was close to a typical continental style with different choices of eggs, bacon, fruits, cereal, toast etc. The dinner ranged from pastas, steaks and tended to be more European. The lunch was a set of traditional Indonesian dishes changing every day. The lunch was the one thing that was a little difficult getting used to if you have not had typical Asian food before. We could specify the quantity we wanted before each meal and our preference among the dishes listed by them for that meal. This is a private island so there were no other options for food other than what they provide. There were two bars near the main hut and one near the swimming pool, so drinks where not a problem. They usually ask if you need drinks during the meals, if you take any then the drinks are charged separately apart from the standard daily meal cost.
There where a wide range of activities we could do but we ended up doing snorkeling and swimming most of the time. The coral reefs near the island gave quite the nice experience. The corals got more interesting as we moved further away from the docking bay and to the shallower waters near the shore. We managed to do some kayaking too to have a closer look at the mangroves, but I would advice against it during hot periods, it was damn hot and it felt like we where gonna be barbecued. There is a separate swimming pool that we could use apart from swimming in the ocean. We also did a small trek around the island, it is a small one but it took us through the forest areas of the island. The trek was quite safe, we did not face any problems with insects or animals. The only animal they have there is the monitor lizard. We noticed two or three of them but they kept to themselves so no harm done.
There are professionals there to help you in the activities that you would like to do, you can take their help or do the stuff all by your self. The renting of equipments for kayaking, or snorkeling etc, where included in the stay so we did not have to pay separately for using them.
There were not much issues that bothered us much, but here are few that are worth noting,
1. The one ting that bothered me was the droppings from the home lizard on the room floor. It comes with staying in a hut I guess :) . I did see a centipede strolling across the room one night, so in short its not the best place to be if you are freaked out by insects. But thankfully nothing came onto the bed.
2. They have a solar panel for the hot water, but the panel in our hut (number 13) was kind of shaded so there wasn't any hot water just warm water.
3. This did not bother me much but just a heads up, the hotel claims to have a wifi but the coverage is generally poor and it is not free. You can buy packages of hrs or days if you need it.
4. You will also not find a refrigerator in the room. But they do have a cool box in the living room, you will have to inform them in advance if you need some ice to keep something cool.
To sum up the island is an amazing place to relax and have a secluded experience, most of the time we felt we were the only people on the island. It would be a place best suited for people who need a break from the ever fast moving city life and share a peaceful experience with a loved one.
And of course not to mention all the employees there were quite accommodating and helpful. They approach you only when you need any help, no pestering or pampering :) Cheers to you guys, you are doing a fine job.
Things to take:
1. Sunscreen, the most important in the list
2. Less number of clothes, you would be using your swim wear most of the time,
3. Flip flops,
4. Insect repellents,
5. Toothpaste and Brush, they do not provide any. Shower-gel, shampoo and conditioner are the only things provided.
6. Some snacks just in case the lunch wasn't that good.
Other than that pack as light as possible. The best way to spend the holiday at nikoi would be to plan at least a 6 day holiday with the first day arriving at Singapore, taking some rest and leaving to the island the same day or the next. Then 3-5 days in nikoi and back to Singapore for another day or two before you takeoff home. We had a wonderful experience and would love to return there.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.