My extended family stayed 2 nights over a weekend, taking 2 back-to-back villas. Overall, I would say we enjoyed the stay and below are my comments.
Villas - I've seen mixed reviews in this website and was prepared for the worst. Perhaps we managed to draw the long straw as our unit was not bad for a resort that's been around for a few years. There are signs of wear and tear and patched up repair work here and there but overall it was ok. Utensils are available and well maintained except I'm not sure why they want to provide toasters as I wouldn't want to use something that I cannot wash myself before using it. Also, will probably need some forensic tests, but there might be some blood stains on one of the blankets.
Food - Not cheap. Conservatively, you will probably need to budget around $15 per meal per person. Probably need to budget more if you intend to go for better stuff on the menu. You can also save by bringing your own food. But it will be a challenge carrying food from your home to Tanah Mareh, lug them up and down the ferry and transfer to the hotel by bus.
Staff - Friendly and helpful. Different from the lively bunch at Club Med, but good enough.
Activities - Have to pay for many of the sports activities and many are unavailable until 10am local time which is already 11am in Singapore.
Things to consider bringing - Torchlight (especially if there are small kids as some places can be quite dim. Even if they are not afraid of the dark, how often do they get to use a torchlight nowadays? Let them have some fun!), umbrella (for going between places as you can't possibly keep calling for the buggy everywhere you go), some bread or instant noodles for supper as room service is expensive. Another way to save money is to have a heavy breakfast and then save by having instant noodle or sandwiches for lunch in your villa.
Comparing with Club Med - I would say both has pros and cons. Club Med has it's free flowing drinks, very friendly staff and more activities are covered in the package, but I'm not sure if I'd want to pay so much upfront or to pay less and then decide what I want or don't want to do or eat and then pay accordingly.
Overall, Banyu Biru or Nirwana Resort is considered a good option for a short vacation from Singapore. But as a car owner, I personally prefer driving up to one of the resorts along the Malaysian coast.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Banyu Biru Villas is located on the north western coast of Bintan Island, less than 10 minutes from the ferry terminal and a mere 55 minutes ferry ride from Singapore's Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal. Banyu Biru Villas is surrounded by landscaped gardens and set within Nirwana Gardens. For cosy family reunions or group gatherings, stay at one of the Banyu Biru Villas which are fully furnished for a comfortable homestay away from home. Designed in four contemporary styles, 36 lovely villas are available for your short-term stay. *Banyu Biru Villa guests have access to all facilities and restaurants within Nirwana Gardens ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Nirwana Gardens - Banyu Biru Villas Hotel Lagoi
- Nirwana Gardens - Banyu Biru Villa Bintan Island/Lagoi