I just returned from a weekend trip to Bintan Lagoon Resort with 3 of my girl friends and had a nice relaxing and enjoyable holiday. There were quite a number of downsides though but on the whole, we had a great time.
1. In-house ferry was a great convenience. We opted to check our bags in for both trips and the resort made everything smooth and effortless. Our bags were sent straight up to our rooms upon arrival and they were sent straight to the ferry from the hotel lobby on our way back. The ferry terminal was just next to the beach so we were able to lounge around in Rice and enjoy some drinks and finger food just before we had to check in, which was a lovely luxury.
2. Rooms were spacious, clean and comfortable. The rooms were just as pictured and everything was clean. The bathroom was sparkling and spacious and even had a sizable tub. The bed was gorgeously cozy and all of us enjoyed a wonderful rest. One thing to note is that the rooms are not sound-proof at all, and the door to the balcony has a tendency to bump at night because of the wind. On the whole, the rooms were worth the price that we paid for them.
3. Awesome pool is awesome. We spent most of our first day lounging in the pool and although it was a busy weekend, it was big enough that we always had a private corner to ourselves. The location was perfect and the pool bar and Jacuzzi were lovely places to while away the time.
4. Private beach was extremely clean and well-maintained. Having visited Trikora beach (the quieter, more rustic side of Bintan), I was very impressed by Bintan Lagoon's beach. I expected Lagoi's beaches to be dirtier considering the great number of tourists and proximity to Singapore but the water was crystal clear and the sand was lovely, white and powdery. It was gorgeous to behold. I just wish the beach activities could be priced more reasonably, especially kayaking. The sea was mostly empty other than families wading in the shallow waters and I'm guessing it's because few people were willing to pay the exorbitant prices.
5. Buffet breakfast was excellent. The breakfast spread was vast and the food was awesomely yummy. My advice is to go down early and sit at the Japanese restaurant if possible. I noticed that there was house flies hovering around the food at the main buffet area, but there is a private buffet spread within the Jap restaurant and the aircon area kept the bugs out. Plus, the view of the pool is beautiful.
6. Very few mozzies and insects. Other than a couple of houseflies (and I really mean just one or two) I saw at the beach and the open air buffet area at Kopi-O, the insect problem at BLR was mostly non-existent - which is very impressive for a beach location. I saw the staff fumigating the area while we were walking around the resort and I really applaud them for their efforts to keep the resort bug-free. We didn't use any repellent at all, and none of us got bit. There are lizards a-plenty though, both the little geckos and a baby monitor lizard near the slope leading down to the pool.
1. Everything sold on-site was expensive. There are about 12 restaurants / cafes and the food in every single one is the same price as a Singapore restaurant - or more! The food at Orzo is yummy though, but it really burns a hole in your pocket after a while. Food / snacks / souvenirs can all be bought for cheaper prices at Pasar Oleh Oleh (although those are pricey as well). And don't even get me started on the Water Sports / Land Activities. i suppose this could be more of a Lagoi thing since prices at other resorts seem to be around that price range though. Since we've all experienced these at other beach destinations, we gave them a miss.
2. Additional charges apply to (almost) everything. There was no free wifi, not even in the lobby. There are limited time slots for the shuttle to Pasar Oleh and it's either $4 or $5 per person per trip (I can't remember the exact price because we ended up using the free transfer service from the spa). And if you don't opt for Mozaic Ferries, it costs $5 per person per trip for transfer to the hotel. These little extra charges (which are often offered for free or for lower prices at other resorts) made a pricey vacation that much pricier.
3. Service was inconsistent. On one hand, the staff are eager to please, but there were two separate occasions which peeved us a little. First, we were advised to take a buggy down to the beach because we were told that it was "very far from our rooms - at least a 10 minutes walk". We decided to opt for that since we hadn't really explored the resort yet, and requested for a return buggy to be sent an hour later since we were going to Pasar Oleh Oleh for our spa session. The buggy never arrived, so we asked the staff at Rice to call reception for us. We were told that a buggy would be sent, but it only arrived a good 15 minutes later. We later learned that the distance from the beach to the lobby was much shorter than expected so we traveled by foot from then on.
The second and more annoying occasion happened when we ordered room service on the second night. Since we returned late from the spa, most of the restaurants were closed. We ordered our food at approximately 10pm and it took about 35 minutes to arrive, which was a little on the long side. The crux happened when we discovered that my friend's poached snapper steak was uncooked in the middle and was totally inedible. She called Room Service and was asked to wait while the staff checked things out with the kitchen, promising to call her back in 10 minutes. 25 minutes came and went, so we called again and a different staff answered the phone. We had to explain the whole incident all over again and he too said he would check with the kitchen. Thankfully, he called back in 5 minutes this time but offered the rather disgusting option of us returning the fish to the kitchen so that same fish could be recooked. Of course we rejected only to be informed that the kitchen preparing the western dishes was closed since after all the delay, it was after 11pm. So my friend had to choose a different dish (a triple decker sandwich which cost $18, $5 less than the snapper steak) and only managed to begin her dinner at 11.20pm which was really quite ridiculous.
When we checked out the next day, we noticed that the cost of our room service was surprisingly higher than we expected and asked to see the actual receipt. It turned out that the hotel still charged us for the Poached Snapper Steak instead of the Triple Decker Sandwich. A call to Room Service did fix this and we were refunded $5 but you would have expected that the hotel would have taken the initiative to amend the charges without us asking since it was their error that caused us all that trouble over dinner in the first place.
3. Night life was lackluster. To be fair, Bintan Lagoon does try to offer a decent nightlife with their in-house club Silk and a Full Moon Beach Party as part of Oktoberfest. However, I'm guessing that Bintan Lagoon appeals more to families so the crowd at both Silk and the Beach Party was pretty much... non-existent. This wasn't the resort's fault, especially since the Beach Party venue was beautifully set up and designed, but it was a little downer on our vacation plans.
4. Water pressure was terrible. I can't imagine soaking in the tub because it was take an eternity for the tub to fill.
5. Both the power plugs by the bed were not working so we couldn't use the bedside lamps at all. This was only a problem in one room though, but it was a little annoying because we ended up having to charge our phones over the mini bar by unplugging the water kettle. It also made the room pretty dark at night.
I don't think I'll be returning to Bintan, but it's really due to the location of Lagoi in general rather than the resort's short-comings. It really is a barely veiled tourist trap with everything being sold at premium prices. I'd rather go to Bali, Krabi or Phuket on my next trip. Having said that, BLR is a nice resort and we were all generally happy with our stay there.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Bintan Lagoon Resort an Indonesian style resort with 470 rooms, villas and suites. A tropical paradise, only 75 minutes by our own private high speed ferry from Singapore direct to the resort. The resort has its own immigration terminal and fast track service. Sitting on the magnificent Pasir Panjang Beach, overlooking the South China Sea the 1.5Km beach is tranquil and unspoilt. Bintan Lagoon Resort is a tropical haven with over 300 hectares (766 acres)and includes 2 stunning championship golf course designed by Jack Nicholas, and Ian Baker Finch. The resort provides excellent meeting, incentive and team building facilities catering to groups from 10 to 1,000 people. Whether it is a family holiday, weekend break, romantic spa indulged getaway, a golfing break, or a company event in Paradise we are waiting to assist you. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Bintan Lagoon Hotel Lagoi
- Bintan Lagoon Resort Bintan Island/Lagoi