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“Superb hospitality, rustic getaway, gem in the rough”

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Mutiara Beach Guesthouse
Ranked #1 of 18 Bintan Island B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Singapore
Level Contributor
18 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Superb hospitality, rustic getaway, gem in the rough”
Reviewed November 13, 2012

I enjoyed my trip overall because of several things:
1. Hospitality. The staff are sincere, patient and obliging. We loved them! They truly made our stay so much better.
2. The river spa. Awesome experience having your massage out in a mangrove setting. This is a must-try and the top highlight of the trip for me.
3. Privacy. This place is truly away from the hustle and bustle of the other parts of Bintan.

Being a city person through and through, I knew there were going to be some getting used to going for a rustic getaway. Heed everything on the website about electricity, lack of water heating, lack of aircons, and abundant insects. I knew what I was going for and since these were all stated or informed to me beforehand, I'm ok with it all.

However, I did not enjoy the outhouse toilet (Pondok plus at $50 per night). It smelt bad (think there was a dead lizard), and the water pressure left much to be desired. We brushed and washed our face with the showers as the tap water supply was a mere trickle. There was a cockroach in my room when we got there (understand it is part of nature but still creeped me out a bit). Went for a night fishing trip and got back at 11.30pm when electricity is off, so we had to bathe in semi-darkness with the solar-powered lamp provided. Quite unsettling cos the creepies were out in full force all around us in the outhouse toilet. The room was neat and relatively clean (aside from the visitors of nature), but the pillows smelt stale and dirty. The beach was very private but it wasn't exactly clean. Waters were inviting but the lack of deck chairs and not-so-pristine sand didn't motivate us.

Nevertheless, I will return to this place as the owner, Marc, is very friendly and constantly improving the facilities. I know it's hard trying to balance rustic and comfort while keeping the Eco-friendliness of the place. Hopefully, Marc and his wonderful team of staff have some ideas to resolve that.

This place serves its purpose of keeping your mind off the stresses of city life and the distractions of technology (no tv, no electricity in the day, no wifi until 6-11 in the evening). The Aroma River Spa is truly a delight and must-try. The hospitality of the staff is amazing, my boyfriend and I were very taken with those guys (Doan and Vitalis) and their service.

Mutiara Beach Guesthouse is truly a gem in the making and I believe with the improvements Marc is working on, it will be a much-desired getaway destination especially for city-stressed people who just want to unload and be closer to nature.

Stayed November 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Isabel W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Service
  • Value
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Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
69 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
Reviewed November 1, 2012

If you're looking to get away from it all, this is the place. Literally. No TV, limited internet access, barely any mobile service, and electricity for only a few hours a day. It was perfect. We were in a standard pondok (S$40), the bathroom was a short walk away. It can be a pain in the middle of the night, but we didn't mind.
After reading a bunch of reviews about mosquitoes and sand flies, we were nervous. But if you bring a strong bug repellent, you'll be fine. I was able to get 100% Deet and only got 2 bites over our 3 night stay. If you're coming from Singapore, you can get the spray at Campers Corner off Waterloo Street (S$15). The staff also provides you with mosquito coils that you can burn in your room to help. And on one day I saw someone spraying to help with the bug problem.
The beach and grounds are really the highpoint here. Absolutely beautiful. The beach need a bit of work though. High tide tends to bring in the rubbish -- water bottles, food wrappers, cans, pipes...basically anything you can think of. It was never cleaned while we were there, but the owner, Marc, says they're going to start tackling the cleanup in the next few months. It's really too bad they are straddled with the cleanup of slobs throwing their trash into the ocean, but that's another story.
The best time to hit up the beach is at low-tide. It gets so low you can walk for about .25miles and it's only up to your shin! And it's worth renting a snorkel set (S$8/2hr) and checking out the reef. The water is clear and beautiful, but you will get tar on your feet. There's baby oil in the bathrooms to remove it.
The owner Marc is great. I flooded him with emails before we got there and he was quick in his responses. He's really upgrading the place -- and I say "upgrade" with the kindest intentions since I don't think it needs any! He's having a club house built right on the water, where they'll have a bar and lounge area and a big screen to watch movies or football. Should be done soon. At the same time, they'll start tilling the beach to help temper the sand fly problem (again, we didn't' have a problem with them). And they're going to have full time electricity soon too.
And the food. Oh my gosh, the food! It was AMAZING! Incredibly fresh and simple and delicious. The breakfast coconut pancakes are incredible. And it's worth doing the beach BBQ one night (S$15). Fish, chicken, coconut rice, french fries, veggies...so good! It's the most expensive thing on the menu, but everything is very reasonably priced.
Also make sure to get to the spa. We went twice! The massages are great (S$26 incl 20% discount for staying there, tip and GST).
A few comments...there could be some more comfortable lounging furniture. The hammocks on the beach are made from twine (?), but cloth hammocks would be more comfortable. And there could be some lounging chairs on the beach too.
But overall, this place delivers exactly what it promises to. And we can't wait to come back!

Room Tip: Might be worth upgrading to get your own Western style toilet. Note: the toilet is not inside the po...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank twaterwoman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
74 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
Reviewed October 24, 2012

If you want a Disney-type of resort, you will probably want to give this a miss. There are plenty of resorts right off the ferry you might like. If you appreciate off-the-beaten-path, the locals, and the natural environment, you might enjoy Mutiara. The beach, the water, and grounds were quite clean. Insect management was a bit of a chore and the mosquito coils were ubiquitous...efficacy unknown, but I was unwilling to try without. I opted for the citronella oil approach, which worked pretty well, but conversely, may have contributed to some personal overheating effect. Next time I might try one of the coils in the facilities as the blighters seemed rather fond of the place.

We stayed in the spa villa, so named for its proximity to the spa, which I didn't get to sample. It looked quite inviting, though. This unit, while more spacious with its ensuite facilities, was separate from the rest, but closer to the road and the other side of the fence from the extremely quiet neighbors, save for the occasional monkey bombing through camp. There is some road noise one might not get in the units closer to the beach, but not a major issue. The units on the other side of the compound might get a bit more breeze. Electricity is off after 11 pm which gives one time to fall asleep with the fan before it is done for the night. Speaking of which, if you need rock solid, uninterrupted internet, refer back to previously mentioned resorts. Otherwise, enjoy the break. I understand the resort will be hard wired for electricity soon.

The food was very tasty and I thought quite the bargain. Yes, it might take a while, but what's the hurry? Well worth the wait. I particularly enjoyed the fish, the fresh coconut and fruit, remarkably good fried chicken, but I really liked all of it. Here is a tip for doctoring your pancakes if needed: add the condensed milk creamer for your coffee...and maybe bananas, even better! Yummy! Speaking of the coffee, I was quite happy with it. While I am not a coffee snob, per se, I won't drink just anything either...

The staff are reserved, good natured, and agreeable. We had asked for ice tea at one point and they were out of ice. Instead of telling us that, the member hit the motorbike and went out and got some! I don't believe I ever had that happen before..anywhere! I think that's pretty good service!

I would have liked to attempt the snorkeling, which can be accommodated through the local boat drivers, but enjoyed some quiet time instead. Just so many hours in a short stay.

The round trip taxi can be set up through the resort, not too expensive at 60 SGD considering the hour's drive...a very nice van with aircon. Make sure your driver stays awake. This trip is surprisingly all over the place, which did not agree with the youngsters for some reason. Dramamine, or similar, may be in order.

Overall, a very enjoyable adventure!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank jlayk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
525 reviews
232 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 463 helpful votes
Reviewed October 15, 2012

This is a beautiful little place in the East coast of Bintan island. If you want to get away from the busy resorts of Lagoi, their tanker and ships views and the Singaporean and unadapted expat crowds, this is a great place.

The pluses: It is secluded, and it has a very nice beach. The staff is very friendly, but you need to make an effort to talk to them, as they try to respect your privacy, and the owner is a remarkable individual.

The minuses: WARNING every minus has a reason (most of it): it is far, but this is the price you pay for seclusion. There are too many mosquitos and sand flies, and the repellent just does not work too well. The price of the food is Singaporean standard, but you are at a beautiful beach surrounded by nature.

Suggestions: Take one of the deluxe rooms, facing the ocean. Bring a lot of stong deet repellant. Meet the staff. Meet Mark

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JohnFoster68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mutiara_Toby, Owner at Mutiara Beach Guesthouse, responded to this review, October 16, 2012
dear October guest

thanks a lot for taking the time to write this fair review
it has been a pleasure having you as our guest recently

allow me to add a bit more info on the flying pest, which is still a work-in-progress for us; as you know, we are trying to be as 'eco' as we can, and this can sometimes be a delicate balancing act, as we want to preserve the good guys while we eliminate the bad ones

we believe we have the mosquitoes pretty much under control, except when the weather has a pattern of fast alternating rain & sun, which was the case during your stay, i think... this type of weather beats the fogging we are doing twice a week, please accept my apologies for this; but i must say that we mostly have long periods which are reasonably mosquito free

as for the sand flies... good news, we are going to put a lot of energy for controlling them, starting from next month, when our beach clubhouse is up and running; here too, we are making sure that the measures we take are not going to have a damaging effect on the coral reef located in our bay, which our guests enjoy as their snorkeling destination...

please visit us again soon!

Marc
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
17 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed August 20, 2012

This was my second visit to Mutiara Beach Guesthouse, and two years on, it was still great. Staff are very friendly, the location is gorgeous with villas set in a coconut grove and facing a beautiful, private beach, and the whole atmosphere is incredibly laid back and relaxing.

As all the other reviews say, the accommodation is basic but very, very clean. There are lots of bugs but if you wear repellant they are manageable.

The two main cons I think are that it is a long way from the ferry and other resorts (one hour plus), and taxis are ridiculously expensive. We tried to get a taxi to a golf course and they wanted to charge S$100. When there isn't much to do around the resort, it would be great if there was a more affordable car rental service to see a bit more of the island. There are motorbikes but the roads are pretty bad in places. Also, the resort is very environmentally conscious, however its really sad to see the recycling bins filled with plastic water bottles, it would be great if there was some sort of refill service.

Room Tip: We booked a Pondok Plus Pavilion and it was worth the extra $10 a night just for the western-style t...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Kateski84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, New York, United States
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed July 10, 2012

A truly grounded and kind place. The facilities are basic but nice and thought out. It blends with the surrounding environment which is beautiful and real. The people are superiorly kind and genuine, the staff would come to wherever I was to ask what I would like for lunch then come back letting me know it was ready. I was usually on the beach which I had to myself most of the time. I recommend for someone looking to get away, lay in the water for hours, eat and do it some more. they also have a spa, the massages are good enough for relaxing to but the location where they are done is a 10. This is for people not interesting in the resorts but a place that blends with the community, supporting it and being a part of it. The heart is in the right place and it shows.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank joelshop
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
26 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed July 4, 2012

We chose to stay at Mutiara Bintan based on the reviews on TripAdvisor, and we weren't disappointed. We were keen to get outside the main Bintan Resort, to find somewhere for some peace and quiet that was more authentic then the usual places. (Not to mention a bit cheaper). Mutiara Bintan was exactly what we were looking for - not too far away from the ferry terminal, staying in authentic pondoks with a lovely private beach. Plus, as the other reviewers mention, the staff were very friendly and the food delicious.

Since we've got back to Singapore, lot's of our friends have expressed interest in visiting, and here is what i say to them - it really suited us because it was peaceful, the food was good, it was a bit different from the usual place in Bintan. Very laid back. Highlights were the coconut pancakes for breakfast, the bbq on the beach on Saturday night and the sound of the waves lulling you to sleep at night. Even when it rained one day, it was super relaxing to sit on under the cover of our pondok and watch the rain while drinking a beer or two. We had a fabulous time.

However, I caution that it's not for everyone. It's about 2 steps up from camping - more like 'glamping'. It reminded me of the kind of wonderful places you stay when backpacking. The pondok accommodation is lovely and you have a bed, but not a lot else. The bathroom is in a little separate building. Also be aware that the beautiful beach is what I would describe as 'real' beach (as opposed to a pristine resort beach) and has shells / seaweed / driftwood washed ashore. As other reviewers mention, there is some water discoloration from the mangrove, but if you look at the water it's crystal clear - and besides it is easy enough to move down the beach to where the water is beautiful blue. If you come you definitely need lots of insect repellent day and night - we came prepared thankfully. And also a torch because it's super dark at night (but the stars are amazing). There is also plenty of wildlife to see - especially dogs! They're friendly but just fyi.

So if you're looking for a laid back trip to what felt like a fairly undiscovered part of Indonesia, then this could be as perfect for you as it was for us. If you're looking to a bit more luxury, then maybe give this one a miss :)

Room Tip: We were in Pondok 6, which was one of the closest to the beach so that was good. (Although there was...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Gillian H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mutiara Beach Guesthouse

Property: Mutiara Beach Guesthouse
Address: Jl. Trikora Km.55 | Telok Dalam, Riau Islands Province 29155, Indonesia
Location: Indonesia > Riau Islands Province > Riau Archipelago > Bintan Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 18 B&Bs / Inns in Bintan Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Mutiara Beach Guesthouse 3*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Traditional village style guest house located on 8 hectares of coconut plantation with private beach facing the South China Sea... Great home cooked food... Aroma River Spa treatments in a soothing natural mangrove environment... Rediscover the luxury of doing just nothing, with a relaxing simplicity... Choice of basic Pondok Standard pavilions or more private Pondok Plus pavilions for 2 guests, the new River House perfect for honeymooners and the Spa Villa suite for up to 4 guests... Now connected to the electricity grid... This is the real Bintan experience, off the beaten track! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mutiara Beach Guesthouse Hotel Bintan
Mutiara Beach Guesthouse Bintan Island, Riau Islands

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