We've just returned from a 3 night stay at Nikoi. While there is lots to love there is also plenty to avoid. We stayed in number 7 is on the south side of the island next to a jetty that is currently being constructed and a large patch of vegetation.
What is to avoid?
I've got about 50-100 mosquito bites (you name it, I've been bitten there), my kids less but their bites are bigger and more intimidating looking. This is despite using mosquito net and two sets of coils when sleeping (and yes we did use them correctly - but the coils go out during the night and the flies can go through the gaps in the floor boards). We must have killed more than a hundred of them with our bare hands in the last few days.
Hut 7 is right next to various night staff hang outs which meant having to beg a bunch of men sitting smoking in the dark 2 to 3 meters away to be quiet after midnight, only to be woken at 6am to the clatter of motor starting up and subsequently by the sounds of hammers and construction..
The health and safety is an afterthought - we left on an overloaded boat with small kids, transfered to a bit of a bigger boat, in a rocking sea, for the transfer - only when we were 5 minutes on the big boat did the life jackets come out and then for kids only.
Despite arming ourselves with motion sickness drugs 2 of the party of 7 were sick during the 5-6 hour journey from central Singapore (door to door).
The fishermen and other boats gather in their 5-6 boats close in to the south side of the building until very late at night. This means that unless you don't want to flash at them you have to be careful with your modesty as you move around your house. It also begs the question where these 30-50 men go to the lavatory... something you don't want to think about when snorkeling.
The management are unempowered and although nice aren't really in a position to fix things. (although one, after a few visits to beg for a non-blighted hut, did arrange a "fogging" which reduced the mosquitos for about 12 hours).
We didn't actually experience any hot water in all the time we were there, neither did our friends in a nearby hut.
What is to love?
The huts are architectural marvels.
The staff are friendly and they care. I saw two dash out to pick up a child who'd fallen over in the most natural caring way.
The snorkeling and sailing are great.
The swimming pool is probably the nicest situated in the world.
They mean it about the wildlife, there are eages, 2m lizards, bats and the waters teem with fish.
The views and geology would be worth it alone for a lot of people.
The ambience at night is exceptional.
The food, despite the lack of choice, is very nice.
The eating experience generally is something very special.
If we ever go back it would only be for one of the huts 1-6 (where I understand that most of the problems here aren't). Despite having a nice break I don't think that running the risks of dengue/malaria etc are worth it.
- 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