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Club Med Bintan Island
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Reviewed May 12, 2013

My partner and I planned a trip to Club Med Bintan based on a recommendation from a friend and I must agree she was spot-on. We had an AMAZING time from arrival to the time we left. It was the first time we left a holiday destination and had to try REALLY hard not to burst into tears. I was rather worried reading mixed reviews prior to leaving but I must say, we really did have the best time.

We arrived around 12plus in the afternoon and were greeted with such enthusiasm I actually had a fright haha! It definitely wasn't something I'm used to but I will admit it was extremely amusing and fun to watch. It put us into an immediate holiday mood. We were ushered to our room by a lovely GO, and despite a slight language barrier, we found him to be very sincere and sweet! I feel horrible for not remembering his name!

We lazed around for a bit in the room (which was LOVELY) while our luggage was promptly delivered to us :) Sure beats having to carry the luggage up 3 flights of stairs ourselves haha. Oh yes, there's a strict NO TIPPING policy over at Club Med. I embarrassingly made the mistake of trying to give the lovely GO a tip :/ Anyway, love the policy hehe.

We made our way for lunch soon after and let me just say, YOU ARE SPOILED FOR CHOICE OVER AT THE RESTAURANT. A buffet at breakfast, lunch AND dinner?! And everything was delicious!!! It was like a living nightmare because you go there hoping that doing a ton of different sports will keep you in shape but you just can't help gorging yourself with all the goodies haha. Maybe they should start making terrible food :P

At most of our meals, we were joined by lovely, chatty and friendly GOs! I was pretty stunned on the first day because I'm generally rather reserved and not a huge talker, but they sure got me out of my shell haha. I soon started making conversation voluntarily and looked forward to seeing all the GOs we met! Some of the lovely GOs we met include:

Bjorn (He taught us golf and I am now in love with the sport!!! He's so encouraging and PATIENT, oh goodness, he's got immense patience, I have no idea how he does it because I would have slapped myself 5 minutes into learning)
Wayan (Another amazing golf instructor who is just HILARIOUS! And a great Indonesian Michael Jackson too ;)
Jono (Super friendly dude who was a permanent fixture at the bar. No I'm just kidding hahaha. I learned so much about South Africa from him!)
Hiro (By far the most relaxed and amusing Japanese man I have ever met! Gave me lovely advice on visiting Japan and lots about the country's culture too!!)
Jay (So down to earth and lovely to talk to! He got my partner -Melvin- and I to be "models" for a night and we had so much fun dressing up and pretending we were top models hahaha)
Haffiz (We had such a good time at lunch -twice! yay!- and laughed SO MUCH talking absolute rubbish!!! Dancing the night away was uber fun too!!)
Ariel (My fiesty buddy whom we also had the pleasure of lunching with twice! She's so much fun to talk to and just annoy haha :P She says she's shy but damnnn she's a good dancer! I learned lots about Mauritius through her!)
Laura (I had no idea Laura worked in reception because I just wondered 'who's that pretty lady walking around all the time??' but anyway she's such a sweetie and we sure had a lot of fun dancing at the nightclub!)
Rosie (We didn't get to talk much but we had a lot of fun dancing together!! she's so sweet and never failed to ask us how we were or what we were up to!)

To the people whose names I can't remember (I AM SO SO SORRY):
Aside from Jay, there are two other LOVELY GOs who work at the Boutique. One whom I had the pleasure of dining and dancing with and the other who put up with my incessant questions and need to try on pretty much every pareo. Thank you to you both as well!!

Also, fantastic job done by Rob (Sports Manager) and Mei (GM). They were definitely the more "serious" ones but I will say, they keep the place running in tip-top order which I'm sure without, we wouldn't have had half the fun we experienced! GREAT JOB GUYS!!!

Anyway, you'll be entertained nightly by shows put up by the GOs (makes you wonder whether they ever sleep haha) and if you're like us, unfortunately may have to end up on stage making a fool of yourselves too hahaha. There are tons of activities, rain or shine (we saw how quick activities were created inside as soon as it rained) and honestly, there's so much to do that there's never a moment for you to be bored. If you're active, enjoy sports, love a good meal and are ready to step out of your comfort zone to meet some amazing people, this is the perfect place for you.

If I could go back tomorrow, I most definitely would. Actually if that were the case I'd just go back right now! Oh yes, forgot to mention. If you decide to go for a massage (you should!!), you'll be granted by such an breathtaking view, you'd never want to leave. We'll be back, FOR SURE!

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Crystle T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 9, 2013

Feel like you're being spoilt rotten every day. Everyone has fun all day no matter what age you are, language you speak and nationality. Food, drinks, activities and entertainment all more than excellent. The staff (GOs) go out of their way to make sure you have great fun. We were a family group of 20 - grandparents,parents and children (8 - 16 years) and we had an absolute ball! can't recommend highly enough.

Room Tip: be careful leaving doors open as sometimes the monkeys like to visit!
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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Thank sarbear8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 9, 2013

Had started the first day with a good welcome and late breakfast at the terrace from 1040 to 1100 but was caught in the rain. Stuck for an hour+ and finally someone brought an umbrella for us. Checked at the reception if able to check in but was answered with a sarcastic tone telling us check in is at 2pm (as if we dunno that!). We hung around and saw 3 groups came in and were BROUGHT into the room immediately. Tried checking 2nd then 3rd time at 1345 and was about to blow our top (as we had to sleep at the L4 bar and wife was not feeling well.) Only then our so called 'GO' was at the reception so we asked her about the room. She checked with the same sarcastic guy then only allow us to check in. They gave us the room key and told us how to get there on our own. We found out from other guest that they were ushered by a GO'!!!! Sucks man!!! So unlucky :(

Every morning between 8-8.45am, the housekeeping will knock on our door waking us up to do housekeeping. It is quite unusual (actually irritating) for any hotel/resort to do this right?
Cleanliness was poor for me too as we told the housekeeper that there were BLOOD STAINS on the bedsheet/comforter and requested to changed it. When we came back to the room, we realised that he only changed the bedsheet but as for the comforter, he just flip to the inner side instead!

Only Happy thing was since we met a warm and genuine GO' named Edward (Edwardo) who is in charge of water sports. He had taught us how to sail and it was a wonderful experience. He even introduced other guest to us which make our stay a little better. Edward is very friendly and professional.

Overall the service is inconsistent. My spouse feels that the imported GO's (ang mohs) are stuck-up compare to the local/Asian GOs.

We may or may not visit club med Bintan again (definitely not so soon with the bad experience) but if we do, we hope to see Edward again. Edward is definitely an asset to Club med Bintan.

Room Tip: Depends on your luck. So GOOD LUCK!!!!
  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank AceZheng
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 9, 2013

After a short ferry hop over to Bintan from Singapore, we were greeted at the ferry terminal by a member of staff from Club Med and shown to a designated desk for the hotel. There we were given our key cards for our room and our luggage was whisked away to our transfer coach and we didn't see it again until it was delivered to our room. After waiting aboard the coach for a stretch, we were finally the last coach to leave upon the white-knuckle journey to the resort. Being a resident of Dubai for the past 2 years, I can cope with a little hair-raising driving (it's good for the heart), but my mother on the other hand doesn't cope so well with overtaking on blind bends. On the hotel's winding driveway we were stopped at a security gate and had to wait again for some reason that only became clear when we arrived at hotel reception. Whilst we waited, I spotted a sign stating visiting hours. Visiting hours? Had we arrived at some kind of institution? It certainly appeared so as our coach approached hotel reception; a mob of brightly coloured t-shirts and waving arms greeted us. It was like a scene out of Hi-De-Hi! They may even have been singing. We were offered iced tea and allowed to enjoy the glorious view over the pool and white-sanded beach for a few minutes before then being split into groups according to language and further welcomed by a GO who imparted a few vital nuggets of information. We were then given a chaperone who frog-marched us over to the reception desk and told us to pay for the coach transfer. I didn't feel this was entirely necessary nor appropriate when we had just arrived. Surely it could have been added to our room bill. After this, the chaperone showed us to our room and smiled and nodded politely at us as we tried to engage her in some simple conversation.

The room seemed fairly basic and a little work needs to be done on cleanliness, but the pretty flowers left on the beds was a nice touch. Then we found a trail of sugar packets leading from the tea and coffee facilities towards the balcony doors. A set of small footprints had left indentations across one of the beds and there were more chewed-open sugar packets beneath. Concerned that there was some kind of rabid wild animal on the loose in our room, we returned to reception with the evidence where we were assured with a smile that it was probably some kind of small fox. Never having visited anywhere as exotic as Indonesia before, we returned to our room slightly panicked until we spotted a squirrel scaling the wooden posts supporting the balconies. Case closed. That night, we found that sugar packets had also been buried within the beds! On a later occasion, said squirrels were caught raiding the cleaner's cart. You couldn't argue that Club Med Bintan was full of characters; right down to the wildlife!

The squirrels were not the only visitors we had in the room. Two of the biggest flying beetles I have ever seen managed to find their way indoors on the first night. Not being a huge insect fan, I didn't sleep much for the remaining nights of our stay. I recommend you leave the insect repellent lamp switched on all night to prevent unwanted visitors.

The buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner presented an array of cuisine, and the GOs would come dine with the guests. On our final night, we had the company of the costume designers who were very easy to chat with. All the GOs we encountered made an effort to speak with you and ensure you were having a good time, as did the new manager who started her post part-way through our stay.

If you're looking for a quiet, spa-like retreat then Club Med Bintan probably isn't for you. It's a big hit with families and there's plenty going on to keep kids and grown ups busy. We would escape to the beach each morning to get away from the noise around the pool, and the beach bar kept us topped up with cocktails. The white sand and crystal clear waters were stunning. It really is paradise.

We ventured out of the resort on our third day and went to the elephant park at Nirwana Gardens for a trek through the jungle. The time we spent interacting with these gentle giants (Barney and Rooney) and getting to know the Mahouts on our ride through Bintan's forest was the highlight of our entire trip. The Mahouts love to practice their English and it was interesting to find out about their lives and also about the elephants.

All-in-all, it was a comfortable stay at Club Med and I recommend it highly to families. And despite my first impressions being likened to an 80s British sitcom about a holiday camp, the staff were a pleasure to be around.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Hayley W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 7, 2013

After having met the hotel manager Mei at a visit to Club Med Yabuli China, we enjoyed her management style so much that we followed her to her next assignment at Club Med Bintan Indonesia. Well, we are very happy that we did as she again provided the same level of service, enthusiasm, care and welcome that we experienced in Club Med China. Her style and warmth make our trips to Club Med extremely enjoyable and with her at the helm, we know that all of the family holiday needs are looked after without fuss or difficulty. She has a great team to support her warm style - Sally running the Childrens Clubs is excellent, our boys loved being in the Petit and Mini Clubs, Stephanie helping Sally was on top of things from the moment we arrived and dropped the boys off. The beach activities were well organised and alot of fun, the boys loved the Bintan beach. Many thanks to Sally, Stephanie, Lindsay and all the children's club team. The restaurant food was of the highest quality and variety, still one of the best aspects of club med. The bar with Ren, Soe, Olivier, Shane and Daphne was always a great place to meet up with chatty, friendly staff waiting for you. Upon our arrival, we were welcomed very very warmly by Zoe and Allison who made a continuous effort throughout our stay to check that we were having a good time and being looked after. It was great to see Zoe again after Yabuli and as always with Club Med, the staff become more like friends than employees of a hotel. Allison was very good to have at reception as she helped expedite and personally look after all requests for the family, nice to have a senior person at the check in desk always focusisng on a visitors. The gym and training facilities were basic but worked well as did the classes at the gym. The poolside and beach were always well looked after, the ocean was beautiful when the sun was out. All in all a great visit, all the family were very happy and rested after we departed - thank you again Mei for a great experience at Club Med!

Room Tip: The ocean view rooms will have beautiful views
  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Hammogar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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