Beautiful island – rooms and swimming pool are just idyllic. However, service was really lacking. The resort desperately needs a good manager/front of house who knows what they're doing and can train the rest of the staff. Every time we asked for something the staff just giggled back as they don't speak English.
First impressions were not great. The booking process was a painful experience. You wait 48 hours for a response over email only to receive an email that doesn't answer the questions you've asked. And then they'll send you a spreadsheet to fill out. For a hotel charging this much there really isn't any excuse for such a poor booking system.
At check-in we were told the room wouldn't be ready until 2pm so they would serve us lunch first. Then we were left waiting around for another 45 mins after lunch until we asked someone if the room was ready. When we were finally taken to the room the previous guests were still vacating it.
Food is very simple Indonesian cooking. Okay fish, meat and rice for mains – not particularly well cooked though – we've eaten much better dishes in Indonesia. Desserts were terrible – either cheap, sugary cakes out of a packet or bizarre concoctions! We were served what can only be described as a glass of Pepto-Bismol with chopped up fruit and avocado floating in it. On another day we were served canned fruit with yoghurt and a sprinkling of cheese on top.
This hotel is charging the same as Cempedak island which is just opposite. However whereas Cempedak is pure luxury with fantastic service, beautifully cooked, home-made food and an impressive wine list, Pulau Joyo does not offer a menu – you eat what you're given – and the limited wine on offer has not been stored properly so it's totally ruined and undrinkable.
On this beautiful island you will be lucky enough to see the wildlife wondering about the grounds – it's a real treat! But the staff really need to be trained to look after the wildlife otherwise it won't be around for long. This is not an eco-friendly resort! The staff cover your plate in cling-wrap before removing it and serving it to you. The cling wrap is then discarded in bins that are on the ground and open. We unfortunately watched a monitor lizard pull the cling wrap out of the bin and eat it. There's no need for having lots of little bins around the resort – just one in the bar area that's raised off the ground perhaps?
On departure we were kindly gifted a snack 6 donuts and 2 bottles of water to take away with us. The donuts came in a plastic box with plastic cutlery in their own plastic wrapper. Really hope the hotel will rethink its choice of packaging to eliminate the amount of disposable plastic it sends guests off with.
Island – fantastic
Rooms – fantastic
Cleanliness – not great
Service – terrible
Food – terrible
Swimming pool – fantastic!
After our original Malaysian holiday was scrapped due to a monsoon, we were so incredibly fortunate that Pulau Joyo was able to slide us in at the last minute. We could not have been happier. We are a family of four with two young children and we were prepared for activities in case they became bored on such a small island. We never even opened that suitcase. There was plenty to do; kayaking, snorkeling, walking on the beach, shell collecting and monitor lizard spotting -the latter from a prudent distance of course ! No request was denied. The staff were incredible. From the initial email contact with Anton to being greeted by Mr. Natale at the Bintan Ferry to William and all his team greeting us and seeing us to our room, we always felt absolute hospitality. The entire staff was incredibly kind and patient with our children. They took a lot of fun selfies together. Be aware of the logistics - hour long ferry from Singapore to Bintan Island, another hour plus air conditioned van ride to the other side of Bintan (provided by resort) and then another smaller boat for about twenty minutes to Pulao Joyo. It is worth every step of the journey. This is a very different vacation - there is no luxury dining or air-conditioned rooms. However, each palace is quite comfortable and unique with beautiful furnishings and amenities. We spent one night in the Java Palace which had a fantastic porch swing bed. The rest of the nights were in Beach Palace 1 which is a neat tree house with two breezy balconies. The kids really liked that! The staff confirmed daily our preferred meal and tea times. It is like going to visit your Indonesian grandmother and getting fed with homestyle comfort food in huge quantities. Prior to each meal, the staff introduced each dish. We had identified a seafood allergy on our preference sheet and one night received a seafood dish. When we explained the allergy they were immediately apologetic and brought out a new dish in no time at all. The children were able to watch a movie in the main house while we enjoyed Christmas Day massages. The seaside massage is worth every penny. We asked what, if any, Christmas activities were prepared and were told none were initially planned. The on Christmas morning the staff gave each child a candy bag on which was a really sweet and kind gesture. We were all presently surprised with a Christmas night bonfire and marshmallow roast, fireworks, and beach dinner. It was obvious the entire staff worked so hard to pull that off. This was the best! We are sure to return and stay for even longer time.
Visited for a short weekend trip and did not regret much. The beautiful island and accommodating hosts made the stay wonderful. Even though it was only two of us with many other families with their children, the property did not feel crowded or noisy.
Room was clean, though the long weekend had limited us to the Driftwood Palace, which had its toilet downstairs and having to clean sand off our feet after every visit was not convenient. Would suggest the other rooms as they are sea-facing and airier.
Food was delicious, and even after asking for smaller portions, we struggled to finish the food. Not that it wasn't good, portions were just generous.
The serenity of the waters around, the welcoming smiles of the staff and just being in nature really elevated our moods. Dinner on the beach and fireworks definitely made for great memories. A big thanks to the management and staff for making this stay special.
My husband and I were lucky enough to be invited on a weekend wedding getaway to Pulau Joyo with some good friends of ours. From the moment we stepped off the boat it was delightful. We were greeted with a lovely cold drink and our group was shown a brief tour of the island and where everyone was staying. I was actually very surprised about how big the island was.
Upon arrival the staff had set up an afternoon snack of satays, spring rolls and a selection of fruit, all of which was very good. In fact the food we had all weekend was very lovely and fresh. The table was always set up and looked lovely at dinner as well as for lunch, and the food was always plentiful and fresh. Our group did bring champagne and wine for the weekend and I did hear later that this was not served in the way that was originally requested but I think that is just a matter of clarifying with the staff on the day.
The room I was in did not have AC. At 1st I was worried that we would be very hot at night, but was pleasantly surprised that we were not. The room had a lovely gentle breeze and with the addition of the fans we had a very good night sleep. Another person commented that if you were sharing room there may not be that much privacy, we did not find this to be the cases as both beds had the mosquito net around them so you could not see the other couple when you were asleep, or when walking around the room.
If I was to have one criticism, the mosquito net in my room did not close all the way so it had were little gaps, it was fine for privacy but a bit useless for keeping the mosquitoes away. It just meant that I had to spray myself with bug spray before going to sleep.
It’s the little things that made the weekend enjoyable:
Around the whole island they had complementary bottles of bug spray (not that I noticed any major issues with bugs / Mosquitoes) which was a lovely touch. They also had a fresh supply of beach / pool towels in both the main beach area and by the pool. We never had to ask for another towel as they always just appeared. I also liked how they had a few eskies full of water, soft drinks and some beer located at the main beach.
Impromptu booking for a short getaway...
Being first time, we werent really aware what to expect. The car pickup from Bintan Ferry Terminal which took about an hour to a private jetty located in a rural and secluded area. Yeah. I thought we got into the wrong car and got "kidnapped"... lol
We are really impressed by the personal touch provided by the staff. From the time we boarded into the car, till the time we left with a warm farewell at the jetty... every experience is indeed exclusive. The flexibility to allow us to have our meals any time, any where, and how we would like the dishes to be cook (lol... only know upon our check out). Meals are tasty, light and not oily. Really awesome!
Mosquito repellents spray is provided everywhere you can find, but not helpful. Guess the flies and the mosquitoes are immune to it already. Best bring own insect repellent.
Javanese massage was rejuvenating and fantastic! Only thing is they have only 1 masseur coz not many groups at the time when we were there. So no couple massage.
Probably one of the best beach resorts! I would love to give it a full 5 stars... but I guess... I will give it 4.8 stars instead... coz the oscillate function of the standing fans in the room is not working despite of change. WIFI is slow and water pressure is low. No TV in the room. Guess is just a small island. That's ok :)
Overall it make us feel at home and special! Looking forward to next time when we could chill again by the beach with your beach bar!
Thanks again Anis and all for the wonderful experience!