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“Indonesia Light”

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Nirwana Gardens - Banyu Biru Villa
Ranked #8 of 8 Hotels in Lagoi
Reviewed April 7, 2008

Nirwana Resorts is just like most large resorts. Tons of choices of room styles for more than they are worth but with all the things required for a quiet relaxing stay. At over $400 Singapore dollars a night for 2 adults and 2 children I felt it was high. But it caters to Singapore and that is the reason for the price. It is very nice and clean and has beautiful landscape and such but I am a bit more adventurous than this resort and was looking for some local flare. It is not available here. However if you are looking for a quiet break from Singapore and are ok with an Indonesia light feel then it will be great for you. My kids loved the beach (which was clean and safe) and had a great time in the pool and riding the elephant. The food was expensive but pretty good with many options.
All in all for a weekend it was good but I would not want to stay longer.

  • Stayed: August 2007, traveled with family
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4  Thank clelandclan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 19, 2007

We arrived at the Ferry Terminal in Bintan, resigned to the LONG wait through and as we entered the terminal, there was an employee from the Nirwana Gardens with a placard with our names on and we were whisked straight through customs and the Nirwana employee bought our Indonesia Visas as we waited for our luggage (we gave him the money, obviously!!) he then took our luggage, put it in a car and within 30 minutes from stepping off the ferry we were at the NIrwana Gardens!! (We have visited Bintan before and not had this treatment - we booked through a travel agency in Singapore and can only thank them for this as we certainly didn't arrange it ourselves!) On arrival we were given our Villa and taken there within 10 minutes.

The villa was FANTASTIC. It was a 3 bedroom/3 bathroom Buana villa and we could not fault it for cleanliness and space. We travelled with our 3 daughters (ages 4, 9 and 11) and it was perfect. The kitchen was fully equiped with a giant sized kettle! (pans could have done with being replaced as some were burned on the bottom, but this was the only minus point). Housekeeping were fantastic, the rooms and bathrooms were cleaned every day and the laundry service was prompt. All the staff we came across were polite, happy and smiley - exactly what you want to see.

The Banyu Biru pool was great - much quieter than the Nirwana Gardens pool - just a shame that they don't have a drinks/snack bar there as it would have been perfect. The kids loved the water slide. Lizards were plenty - a cause of great fascination and the pool staff were really friendly.

We ate at the Nirwana Gardens - tried all of the restaurants and our favourite was the Japanese, though it was very costly. the BBQ/pool restaurant was good and the main buffet restaurant was equally as good - my eldest daughter and husband were over the moon with the fact they could have CURRY FOR BREAKFAST! (I'll stick to the eggs thanks!). We tried the Kelong restaurant (fantastic), Thai restaurant (equally fantastic) and took a day trip round the island (not recommended with younger kids as some roads not so straight therefore many 'stops' required for the car sick kids - so take changes of clothes!) but really recommended if you can do it.

but the BEST part of our trip was the elephant visit. We decided against the show and 5 minute ride and booked a 20 minute elephant ride. We were taken via Taxi from the Nirwana Gardens and on arrival found out that we were the only visitors - we each had an elephant to ourselves to ride and had a fantastic trip though the jungle. On return, they let the kids ride around for ages on the elephants, feed them bananas and the best part was that these were working elephants (in the jungle) not just there for a tourist attraction and the keepers LOVED them - it was a pleasure to have the honour to interact with these wonderful creatures.

We did take a visit to Pasar Oleh Oleh - good for touristy things to buy and much cheaper than the hotel (bikini's/batiks etc) and we went to a restaurant (not the Helo Helo but the other one, and I can't remember the name, something like Kintermala....) and it was excellent - deep fried squid was superb. Also, much cheaper than the hotel and the dry noodles were a great hit for fhe 4 and 9 year old.

So, to sum it all up, we could not fault the Banyu Biru Villas at all, our visit was fantastic (we came from England and with a husband who see's complaining as a 'sport'! so if there was anything to complain about, he would have done!) and we really recommend staying there.

Oh, and for the information fo the previous poster who had a bad trip - we did point this out to the management of Nirwana - told them of your problems and they are going to look into it.

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled with family
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4  Thank LollipopGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 7, 2007

My review echoes those of a previous reviewer who wrote that this is just not worth the effort. How true that is!!

We have lived in Singapore for over 18mths and during this time have been told many times that we should do ourselves a favour and go to Bintan. Many spoke of the pristine beaches and the many wonderful, family-friendly accommodation options. Nirwana Gardens was recommended so 3 nights were booked in a 2 bedroom Banyu Biru villa as this was a cheaper option than 2 adjoining hotel rooms (we are a family of 3 adults and 2 children).

The ferry left Singapore late (don't bother getting to the ferry terminal too early as there is nothing to do) and was a fairly good trip. Once we arrived, the line through immigration was long! Luckily, we were whisked through by an immigration officer as we had 2 children under 5yrs. He took our passports, got them stamped and bought them back while we were waiting for our luggage. Be warned though, after handing our passports back, he kept his hand out waiting for a tip!

We got through Customs and found the resort people greeting us at the other side. They ticked our names off the list, took our luggage and ushered us to a waiting bus. And there we sat. And sat and sat. We had to wait for everyone else staying at Nirwana Gardens to get through immigration before the bus could leave. Finally we were on our way. Checking in was a complete disaster. Of course all the people on the bus were checking in at the same time so another nice long line at Reception. The staff had no idea what to do. We thought that they would be used to this as the buses arrive several times a day full of guests. They were bumbling around, getting in each others way. It was ridiculous. The booking ended up not being in my name and they had to speak with the Manager in order for us to get an extra room key because they told us they couldn't do it. What a start!

Anyway the Banyu Biru Villas although part of the Nirwana Gardens complex are a 5min golf buggy ride away from reception. The buggy service was quite good and we used it if we wanted to go to where all the facilities were. We just called for a buggy and the longest we ever waited was 15mins which we thought was quite good.

The villas look nice enough from the outside but it is a different story inside. They are old, smelly and not suitable for small children due to the very steep spiral staircase and the face/head level of the sharp-edged coffee table. The kitchen has a medium-sized fridge/freezer, microwave oven, gas cooktop and kettle. There are cutlery, plates and glasses. Beware of the plates and bowls though as we found several that had not been washed and had mouldy food caked on them which was disgusting. There are 2 bedrooms upstairs and 1 bathroom. The bedrooms are nice with excellent air conditioners which we had running all the time. Bathroom was tiny with no handtowels or bathmats provided.

The lounge area had a very dated sofa that was stained and smelly. TV reception was pretty bad and (I hate to sound precious) there was no DVD player which is a godsend when you have small children and the tropical thunderstorms roll in. The villa had not been cleaned properly as there was an army of ants on the coffee table as something had been spilled and not cleaned up and rubbish had been left in the TV cabinet from the previous guests. Again, beware of the staircase. We ended up putting the ironing board in front of the bottom step as my 1yr old just couldn't resist climbing it.

Lets move to the service. It appears that Basil Fawlty trained the staff! They were clueless. They moped around looking dazed and confused most of the time. Drink orders arrived after our food, orders went missing and dirty plates just stayed on our table right up until we had left the restaurant. The best service we got was from the staff at the towel counter (although when I asked for 5 towels he wouldn't give them to me until I showed him there were 5 of us!). Everything was in "Bintan time" so you got what you ordered when they could work it out and were ready to get it for you.

The food is very average and very overpriced for what you get. Everything is priced in Singapore dollars and we paid a lot for food that was not that good. Breakfast buffet was OK but not a lot of healthy options apart from fruit. We had a dinner buffet one night which was a Mexican theme and it was terrible. The food was overcooked and because no-one was eating it, it sat in the bain maries for too long so it dried out. We found that the food at the poolside bar was good. It has burgers, pizzas, etc and if you can put up with the terrible service you will do OK. One dining highlight was a Thai restaurant at one of the other Nirwana Gardens properties (Mayang Sari I think) which had outstanding service and food.

The main pool is nice and has a shallow area for kids with seating so that you can watch them without having to be in the water. The adult pool has a jucuzzi section and is quite deep in places. There is a bar in the pool but we didn't use it.

On our second day we stumbled across a pool within the Banyu Biru villas area which we were not told about. It has a slippery dip into a shallow pool which is perfect for kids. Our 4 and a half yr old loved it and we struggled to get him out when it was time to go for dinner.There were plenty of loungechairs on the edge and there was also a towel counter so you didn't have to trek up to the main pool to get towels. It seemed that a lot of other people were also not told about the pool as it was only us and 2 other families there. This was the highlight of the holiday!

Forget about the beach. We didn't know that it was monsoon season (north-east) when we were there so there were warnings not to swim. The bottles of kerosene/turps (?) were everywhere. Those that risked it and went swimming, came back with oil all over them so had to use it to get it off them. Pretty grose!

Anyway checking out was not so bad. They confirmed our ferry tickets for us which was good and we confirmed what time we needed to get the bus back to the ferry terminal. We arrived on time and waited in line to get on the bus. Up the steps we went to get a seat and found that there were no seats left. We got off the bus and spoke to the driver who didn't believe us so went to check himself. He got off and muttered something and then headed towards Reception. He bought someone back with him who advised us that we must have made a mistake with our ferry time and asked to see our tickets. When we showed them our tickets and told them that perhaps they were the ones who had made the mistake the colour drained from their faces. It turns out that they had miscalculated the numbers and there were quite a few of us whose luggage had gone on the first bus without us. Lets just say that we had not seen them move so fast the whole time we had been there!! To their credit, they managed to organise another bus to pick us all up and get us to the ferry on time. A piece of advice, check your luggage in yourself at the ferry terminal as it is much faster than letting the Nirwana people do it.

As I read over this review, it sounds really negative. But the problem we had was that we work hard and when you are spending $S500+ a night, we expected a whole lot more than what we got. We hate the feeling of thinking that we got ripped off and on this occasion, we did. So do Bintan if you must but stay elsewhere.

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13  Thank SingaporeFling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 24, 2006

We live in Singapore and decided to go to Bintan for the weekend. We stayed in a 2 bedroom villa. The resort was okay, but the rooms and the service were terrible!

The effort it takes to get on the boat to Bintan, to go through immigration, to travel across the island on a tourist bus, and then to have terrible rooms and even worse service is just not worth it! Time would be better spent getting on a plane and going to Thailand, Bali, or Vietnam.

The beach is okay and the pools are good. But, the food was and is terrible. They are conveniently "out of stock" of most everything. It became kind of a joke, really. I think they put things on the menu to make you think that it is really usually great, but that you" just happened to come on a bad weekend". The rooms are very utilitarian. The bathrooms smell and the shower drain doesn't really drain, so you end up in room full of ankle deep slight odiferous water??? (What was that smell?) It was one of those places where I wasn't sure if the next shower I planned to take was worth it or not. I could never stay there more than 2 nights as I would starve and be totally grossed out by the rooms!

  • Stayed: September 2006, traveled with family
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8  Thank LaBoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 11, 2006

We had booked a five night stay in one of the smaller two bedroom villas.
The villa complex is part of the very big Nirvana Gardens resort.

We liked
The banyu biru villa swimming pool that was empty - really empty, three quarters of the time
The view from the beach and pool.
The weather which was sunny apart from your usual 1/2 hour lunch time tropical downpour.

We disliked
The five or so restaurants spread across the resort which tended to be expensive - Singapore prices but without the quality.
We ended up having lunch and dinner at the Dino Bistro on a regular basis.
The main swimming pool.
The fact that you had to pay for every activity - which meant that we avoided them like the plague.

Now would we go back - not sure as we found the resort lacking personality.

  • Stayed: May 2006
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10  Thank travelator
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 2, 2016
Google Translation

  • Stayed: May 2016, traveled with friends
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Thank 慶文 張
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 19, 2016
Google Translation

Room Tip: dapatkan villa yang lebih dekat ke pantai
  • Stayed: April 2016, traveled with friends
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Thank sariza_watson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Nirwana Gardens - Banyu Biru Villa

Address: Jl. Panglima Pantar | Bintan Resorts, Lagoi, Bintan Regency, Riau Islands Province 29155, Indonesia
Location: Indonesia > Riau Islands Province > Riau Archipelago > Bintan Regency > Bintan Island > Lagoi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#7 Luxury Hotel in Lagoi
#7 Spa Hotel in Lagoi
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Lagoi
Price Range: $321 - $722 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Nirwana Gardens - Banyu Biru Villa 4*
Number of rooms: 36
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

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