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“Relaxing, delicious trip to Banyan Tree”
Review of Banyan Tree Bintan

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Banyan Tree Bintan
Ranked #1 of 37 Hotels in Bintan Island
Reviewed July 2, 2008

This was my first Banyan Tree experience and I was very impressed.
It's worth paying the extra to be picked up by the hotel you find yourself rather glamorously rushed through immigration and straight into a waiting car. The resort is spread out over a large plot of land but you can call a buggy for a lift at any time. For this reason the resort feels very private and each villa secluded.
I was blown away by the size of our villa. I had opted for the cheapest room and had no idea it would come with a lovely outdoor jacuzzi. The room is gorgeous Indonesian style with a high straw ceiling & filled with signature banyan tree smells. Yes, if I was being picky, the bathroom was a little bit tired but other than that - no complaints.
There are 2 pools, we stayed at the one by the beach which was never that busy. Service is excellent and included a free ice cream by the pool.
There is a smallish stretch of beach shared with the Angsana which is nice for a stroll. Whilst the Banyan Tree is catering towards couples looking for a quiet time, I think the Angsana would be more family friendly.
Food overall was good but our absolute highlight was the degustation menu at Saffron - simply one of the best meals I have eaten.
I would recommend Bintan for those looking for a quiet getwaway for along weekend. The Banyan Tree was perfect for relaxation and I would definitely return.

  • Stayed: June 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank Tartan69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 17, 2008

My husband & I stayed at the Banyan Tree, Bintan for 6 nights following a 4 night stay in Singapore. Ferry Terminal across very easy (except we had to pay excess luggage of S$70) which we weren't aware of - so be careful!

Transfer to the hotel takes 12 minutes (the driver reliably informed us) - Nice car, friendly face.

Reception: Arrived in the rain but to smiling faces. Effecient personal check in. Stayed room 201 - close to reception lobby and buggy park - so no problem getting a buggy when needed!

Room 201 - apart from no bath towels on arrival and a DVD player that wouldn't work we had no problems. (bath towels brought straight away, maintenance man arrived within half an hour and couldn't fix DVD player so replaced - no hassel! Beautifully presented, gorgeous patterns/displays made with towels and fresh flowers every morning, very quick and effiecient clean, fresh fruit, lovely jacuzzi & deck and fabulous view over the forest area to the sea beyond - blissful! Lovely bath products, nice dressing room, although storage not ample enough for our 6 night stay - I think would be fine for a long weekend.

A down hill walk to the Treetops restaurant and beach from our room - very pleasant in the morning. Breakfast included in our deal and well worth it. My husband is vegetarian and the staff were more than happy to arrange his eggs cooked how he liked. Champagne included, fresh salmon, strawberries and good mix of Asian and European style meals available.

We tried all the restaurants and found the staff at The Cove to be exceptionally friendly and all interested in talking to us and testing their English skills. Big Hello to Eva! Lovely views. The Saffron was worth dressing up for and taking all evening to ponder the menu and enjoy each course. Very nice indeed!

Entertainment - you make your own! One evening they held a presentation about the environment and conservation - only 8 of us attended! Beautifully laid out, free cocktail and very interesting - only an hour long - I recommend you make the effort to go!

Insects: Although I religiously used Autan lotion supplied free on the beach and in the room I got bitten badly - about 50 bites in 10 days! My husband hardly bothered with the repellant and only got bitten twice!

Wildlife: No problem - we had a friendly little gecco lizard, bats eating fruit on the veranah after dark, squirrels, very big ants and loads of birds. None of these visitors worried us - all part of being in the rain forest!

Pools and beach: peaceful, uncrowded, unattrusive yet attentive staff. Watch the flags for jelly fish warnings. Lovely stroll around the cove to watch locals playing football in the beach. Snorkelling fun - lots to see!

Spa: Expensive, but special - spoil yourselves!

Trips: Weather not good, rained/storms every day! Very unpredictable what time - go with the flow. We managed to do a Mangrove Swamp Tour - great in the dry but go caught out on the Traditional Fishing Trip - people are so nice - live a little and experience the real Bintan!

The whole experience left us feeling spoiled and with a fondness for the Indonesian people - enjoy!

I could go on, but suggest you contact me direct if I can help with any other info.

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Explor65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 26, 2008

This place is absolutely wonderful to chill out. It sits in partial jungle and is so beautifully clean. The villas are spacious, but be prepared to share your villa with small lizards! The staff are so polite and helpful. It has three very good resturants, although our favourite was Treetops, this had a good selection of Indonisian food at reasonable prices. The hotel has two beautiful swimming pools, one by the beach and one near Treetops restaurant. We preferred the latter, which was very quiet. The only thing to watch is that some villas have narrow steps down to them so are not very good for the not so agile.
On arrival at the Bintan ferry terminal, the hotel takes all the pain out of getting your visas. The hotel driver does all this for you. Also on the return we would recommend paying for the VIP lounge at S$15. It is quiet and you get boarded first. We cannot wait to go back.

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank SussexDoubledutch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 11, 2008

We stayed there last week in a Villa on the Rocks. Positives, negatives and summary are:

+
Beautiful setting
Conscientious staff - could feel they cared about their guests
Clean room, no mechanical faults
Prompt service
Room rate not too high given space of accommodation
Golf courses near by
Spa facilities perfectly adequate - not old and fading as expected
Fast-tracking on and off the ferry appreciated

-
Reservation staff were initially a little bit careless in their email correspondence (cutting and pasting wrong terms and conditions more than once)

Food and drink is expensive (similar to Singapore prices) and not great (pretty ropey Italian) though perfectly adequate. A few reasonable wines on the lists if you know what you are looking for, otherwise prepare to pay big.

Didn't appreciate the TV in Reception playing the sales pitch for Banyan Tree Villa Ownership Scheme on a continuous loop while I was waiting to check in - totally spoils the otherwise tranquil setting.


Summary:
We have stayed at the Phuken and Seychelles resorts previously. The Bintan facility is certainly better than the Seychelles one - for a start it is 60% cheaper, also the accommodation is operational (door locks, door bell, tv, dvd player, jaccuzzi all working) which helps! The resort is not pristine and new but I found it to be clean and in working order, perhaps showing some character which I think is a good thing. The price of spa facilities and special dinners if chosen would make this a very expensive trip, but taken in moderation I didn't find the total cost unreasonable. I also appreciated the kindness of staff at all times and the opportunity to play golf whenever I wanted on 2 relatively quiet courses nearby. It's possible to have a good holiday here. Mail me if you need more details on the comments.

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank frequenttraveller123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 11, 2008

Just came back from a short getaway (9 - 11 May) at Banyan Tree Bintan. We stayed in the Villa-on-the-Rocks (302) for the duration of our stay. Overall, it was a wonderful experience and we hope to visit all their other resorts around the world.

While the resort isn't spanking new, it wasn't gritty or dilapidated either. Paintwork, fixtures and fittings were all in good condition with only some signs of wear and tear.

What I enjoyed most:
The Spa at Banyan Tree. We tried the Javanese Lulur and loved it. I'm glad we did it a few hours after we arrived because it immediately calmed me down and enabled me to relax for the rest of our stay. I really love the ambience and view from our spa pavilion. The outdoor "rain" shower was fun too.

Comparatively, the spa experience at the Angsana felt like a step down. The therapists were as good but it felt very "run-of-the-mill" because of the cheaply styled bath/changing room and therapy room in general.

I would definitely pay that little extra for the whole Banyan Tree Spa experience again.

What I like least:
The tiny flying insects and lizards really "scared" me. There wasn't a whole lot of it and I know it's unavoidable given the location, but I still just dislike these creepy-crawlies. I did try to prepare myself mentally for it though, since we were going to be in "nature" and tried my best to ignore it while we were there.

For instance, I was awoken at around 4am the first morning because I hear a house lizard "calling" near my head. I literally froze and didn't dare move a muscle for quite a while until I hear another call further away and convinced myself that that lizard had moved.

In another instance, I almost jumped off the toilet seat when I heard a lizard on the wall right next to me and then saw two of them poking their heads out from behind the decorative wall hanging.

My husband was not fazed by it, just me. But he also says we weren't in "nature" since we did have running water, hot one at that!

Favourite Meal:
We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at Saffron. I loved the Degustation Menu (US$80++) while my husband enjoyed his picks from the a la carte Thai menu.

The Degustation menu consisted of 7 single portion appetizers (including a refreshing and palate cleansing Lime Sorbet), 1 main (wagyu beef!), a 3-dessert sampler plate and coffee/tea with petite fours. Every dish was well prepared and there were some interesting new tastes for me in that menu like the "tamarind broth" . I highly recommend this to people who enjoy eating a variety of foods and are excited about trying new tastes.

Traditionalist like my husband will also be able to find good food at this restaurant. He had pandan chicken (starter), tom yam goon (soup) and duck curry for his main. He has had better pandan chicken but both the tom yam soup and duck curry kept him satisfied. He also had most of my wagyu beef and my coffee, since I was already full after the appetizers.

Service was very attentive and my food was served at just the right pace. The general ambience was romantic and the spacing of guests perfect, such that it felt very private even though there were other people dining there.

Least Favourite Meal:
For me, the rest of the meals were average and I didn't have any one in particular that I absolutely dislike. However, my husband was disappointed with the lack of variety for the breakfast buffet at the Treetops.

We had lunch in the Lotus Grill at Angsana. The food looked good but the taste was lacking.

Activities:
Our main purpose for this trip was to relax. We definitely managed to do that since it was raining 70% of the time we were there. We did enjoy the jacuzzi (when we could). DVDs available for loan were mostly rented out (so I recommend borrowing them upon arrival if that's what you want to do). The spa was also very popular (both at Banyan Tree and Angsana). So again, I recommend booking the slots early. At Angsana, I didn't get to do what I had planned to because they were fully booked.

For those at Banyan Tree, it would be nice to note that there is a babysitting service (US$6 nett/hour for a minimum of 2 hours) and over at the Angsana, they organise daily children's program (age between 3 - 10). It was US$35/day (8:30am - 5pm). It is also available per activity but I can't remember the price.

The pool at Angsana is definitely nicer, bigger and more suitable for children. While both pools at Banyan Tree are small - probably because guests aren't really there to swim.

Recommendation:
For couples, I recommend the Banyan Tree and for families, I recommend Angsana. Mainly because I think it would be hard to totally appreciate the privacy, exclusivity and luxury the Banyan Tree has to offer with children in tow and hence, will not warrant the price difference. Plus, the Angsana is designed to be more family oriented with it's bigger pool, children's program and "noisier" and more open atmosphere.

PS: My husband thought I should add that the sea water was very clear and the beach was clean. Though there was a jellyfish warning, so all we did was dip our toes in briefly. And also that we did like our pasta lunch at The Cove.

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank jingming
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2008

We arrived with high expectations and were totally disappointed with this supposed high class resort. This review is written with the charge rate of the resort in mind.; had this been a 2 or 3 star establishment, my review would not be so critical.

Having flown overnight from the UK we were 20 minutes in reception completing formalities even though we had reservations. I was less impressed with a gong being banged to announce our arrival than I would have been with the swift process of our paperwork.

The resort is in total need of refurbishment and redesign. There is a small bar area, only open Friday through Sunday. The menus are not varied with "todays specials" and whilst the local dishes were extensive they were not paricularly good. The western menu had minimul choice and was very poor.

Decking in various areas was near breaking when walked on and whilst clean everywhere there is an obvious need for money to be spent.

Staff are so obliging and helpful athough their training is nowhere near the standard of other resorts we have stayed at and which have the same star rating.

There was a long pre planned electricty shutdown one day althouugh no mention of this was made when booking. This resulted in no hot water etc. No hot food was available during the day and no effort made to provide guests with a special cold buffet. On checking out I asked for and seeminly reluctantly negotiated 1/2 price for the day after being offered a much lesser amount.

We consider ourselves seasoned discerning travellers and our overall comment is don't go to this resort which represents very poor value for money which is not made up for by the stunning setting.

  • Stayed: April 2008, traveled with family
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4  Thank eumundi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2008

The Banyan Tree Bintan has a great location: on a small hill, in the middle of nature, on a nice white sandy beach. The hotel has bungalows only, and they are all spread out over the area and therefore there is a lot of privacy for each guest. The bungalow I stayed in had a nice view over the ocean, surrounded by trees. The bungalow itself is nicely decorated, altough some aging can't be denied (the hotel exists for about 17 years). The staff is very friendly and try to help you as much as they can.

There are however some downsides:
The maintenance of some areas is not good. e.g. the beach area is not very well maintained, the greens around the beach pool looks a bit run down, and the area is also too small - compared to the rest of the hotel this area is too small and you do not have much privacy on the beach and the beach pool (I found the beach and pool area of the neighbouring Angsana nicer!)
Also not at 5-star level is the food - Saffron (Thai Restaurant) was very disappointing with below average quality of food, and also the service is not very fast (they are nice, but there is not enough staff and you sometimes have to wait too long). You also never see a manager around who could ensure all needs are covered.

Overall I find the hotel is a very nice retreat to relax for some days coming from Singapore, very quiet and relaxing - but the Banyan Tree does not match international 5-star standards (especially comparing to other 5-star hotels like the Datai Langkawi - there is a big difference between these 2 hotels).
I hope the Banyan Tree will improve their service - I experienced some similar things in Bangkok, where the service is even worse. Hopefully they will manage to sort this out as the properties are nice.

  • Stayed: April 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank TandTSwitzerland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Banyan Tree Bintan

Address: Jl. Teluk Berembang Laguna, Bintan Regency, Riau Islands Province 29155, Indonesia
Phone Number:
Location: Indonesia > Riau Islands Province > Riau Archipelago > Bintan Regency > Bintan Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Bintan Island
#1 Spa Hotel in Bintan Island
#1 Luxury Hotel in Bintan Island
Price Range: $384 - $727 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Banyan Tree Bintan 5*
Number of rooms: 72
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Close to Singapore lies a sweep of brilliant Indonesian islands, the most spectacular of which are found in the Riau Archipelago. Bintan Island has long been one of the region's most popular destinations. Banyan Tree Bintan occupies 240 hectares on the sea front and is comprised of 72 villas modeled on traditional Balinese architecture, all beautifully located in virgin forest. The resort's Jacuzzi villas have jacuzzis built into their sun decks whilst the two-bedroom pool villas have their own plunge or swimming pools and are particularly suitable for families. Culinary variety is the name of the game with "Crossroads" offering Western cuisine in an air-conditioned or al fresco setting while the Saffron Restaurant serves Thai and South East Asian specialties. You can also dine in your own villa - simply order from the a la carte menu or make a selection from the BBQ dinners cooked in front of your eyes. The new food and beverage outlet, "The Cove," is modern and up-tempo; Mediterranean cuisine is prepared here to perfection. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Banyan Tree Bintan Hotel Bintan
Banyan Tree Hotel Bintan
Bintan Banyan Tree
Banyan Tree Bintan Bintan Island, Riau Islands

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