Review: Banyan Tree Bintan – Indonesia’s luxury jungle retreat
What do couples look for in a romantic holiday? Typically it’s an exotic location to reconnect as well as a place to relax and have fun while creating memories. The discerning couple will also seek out plush accommodations, fine dining, and committed service. The Banyan Tree Resort provides a wonderful option for romantic holidays in their exotic resort on the island of Bintan, Indonesia.
Bintan Island is a lush tropical island in Indonesia and only a 50 minute ferry ride from Singapore. On the island there’s a lot to see and do and, in particular, have a chance to enjoy its beautiful nature.
The Banyan Tree is a chain of wonderful resorts that are harmonious with nature. The Banyan Tree Bintan is no exception. It is a very large resort with 64 secluded villas on a cliff facing the South China Sea.
Arrival at the Banyan Tree Bintan Island is through a winding country road past the manicured lawns of the neighbouring golf courses. It is the quintessential island-getaway resort with a friendly staff adorned in their mustard coloured Indonesian uniforms. The staff is quick to greet guests with “Selamat Datang” (Welcome) with the palm of their hands pressed together with fingers pointing upward in the traditional Indonesian gesture and a sign of respect.
The grounds of the resort are literally like being in a jungle. The morning is the best time to take a walk through the village’s winding driveways. There are jungle sounds of birds, and other animals and one often sees green monkeys scurrying around. Throughout the property there are large boulders that dot the landscape. And that’s just the jungle. The resort is in the Tanjund Said Bay in Indonesia’s unspoiled Riau Archipelago with fabulous talcum powder white sand beaches. The views of the bay are spectacular.
The Banyan Tree Bintan is a village of villas spread over 600 acres providing guests with maximum privacy. Banyan Tree Bintan is a rustic luxury resort with many of the villas perched high above the jungle floor to provide optimal and panoramic views of the bay and sea. The bay rises and sinks with the tide giving it a different look depending on the time of day.
The villas are beautifully decorated in traditional Balinese style with a large day bed in front of the bay window perfect for taking morning coffee and gazing outside. The king size bed is covered with netting for an added romantic touch or if guests choose to take in the sea breezes at night in lieu of the air con. The bathroom is also well designed with a deep sunken tub and rain shower. Many villas have a private spacious patio and a plunge pool perfect for cooling off or sharing a bottle of grape in the evening. This property is made for romance.
The villas are stand alone and uber private. The Rock Villa has a plunge pool with Jacuzzi jets and a large deck with table. Guests will enjoy hours there relaxing with a book or just watching the dramatic changes in the seascape as the tide comes in and out.
Each of the villas are special and vary with the type of sea view and number of bedrooms. The one and two-room Banyan Pool Villas each have their own infinity pool and even more room to spread out. The traditional Indonesian design features extravagant outdoor spaces perfect for a vacation with families or friends.
Dining at Banyan Tree Bintan is a treat. There are several restaurant options from Thai, to Mediterranean and continental. Their signature restaurant is Saffron which is Thai and features a mix of original and traditional menu items. The restaurant is located with views over the bay and has a traditional Thai design of silks, wall hangings and artwork.
The signature dishes at Saffron are excellent. The prawn wrapped in crispy rice noodles was a great way to start and for the main course, the Thai Barbecue Curried Chicken and papaya salad was a good option as well. An interesting experience at the restaurant is that they have a Rice Master who helps guests choose the type of rice to have with their main course. Saffron offers four types of rice to accompany the meal and each will bring a complete different fragrance and taste to the dish. The options were the green panadan rice, white jasmine fragrant rice, brown rice, and the restaurant’s namesake, the yellow saffron rice.
The all-day dining restaurant, Treetops, is a good place to start the day. There’s a vast buffet of all kinds of dishes from east and west and a live cooking station outside for a choice of eggs. Outdoors is where most of the guests dine on the expansive wooden deck under a canopy of trees overlooking the sea.
The resort also offers “Destination Dining” experiences which couples can arrange to do privately “On the rocks” or in other uber romantic places around the resort.
When one thinks of Banyan Tree, they think of luxury resorts, exotic locations, and one of the best spa experiences in the world. This is a well-earned reputation after years and years of healing and rejuvenating weary bodies. The Banyan Tree Bintan furthers this reputation by providing a top notch spa experience ever since it opened its doors over 20 years ago.
The spa therapies feature traditional Indonesian ingredients such as coconut milk, moisturizing avocado and scrubs pounded from native herbs and spices. One of their signature treatments is the Nusantra which is an Indonesian treatment known for its firm pressure, kneading of the muscles, and use of the thumbs to apply pressure deep into the muscles.
The treatment begins with a relaxing foot bath rub with sea salt and massage. As expected, the Spa treatments are administered with typical Banyan Tree Spa expertise by therapists who are knowledgeable and well trained. The treatments are wonderful and leave guests relaxing and energized.
There are many other activities to experience on the property as well. For those looking to splash around a bit more than what they can do in their plunge pool, the property has two large pools. There’s a picture perfect pool surrounded by a wooden deck, massive boulders, chaise longues, and tanned bodies. Adjacent to the pool is a powder white sand that stretches endlessly, which is shared by Ansanga, the sister property of the resort. The second pool has equally striking views of the sea and is near the all-day dining restaurant.
The resort is in a jungle and they have a staff on hand that can arrange a jungle walk for nature lovers to check out the many species of birds, reptiles and other rare animals.
Away from the resort, there’s plenty to do in Bintan. For adventure-lovers, there is a large selection of land and water sports activities. For the avid golfers, the resort is located adjacent to an 18 hole, Greg Norman designed 60 hectare golf course.
One of the must do experiences is the Bintan Mangrove Green tours. The tour takes guests to the mangrove park for a few hours on the river taking in the sights, wildlife and fauna while the guide points out what guests are seeing along the way. It is a fantastic way to enjoy the river and experience the nature of the mangrove up close and personal, whilst guided by a passionate, and knowledgeable team of eco-tourism experts.
Indonesia has a well-earned reputation for providing authentic and warm hospitality. The Banyan Tree Bintan guests receive attentive and non-intrusive service from the moment they arrive. From the front office, to the restaurants, spa, and housekeeping, it seems that everyone is committed to going the extra step to make the guest’s stay more enjoyable.
The Banyan Tree Bintan is a luxurious romantic holiday surrounded by a jungle facing the sea. Guests will receive the Banyan Tree experience of a great spa, dining, and hospitality in a memorable vacation for the discerning traveller.
Address: Laguna Bintan Resort, Jalan Teluk Berembang, Sebong Lagoi, Teluk Sebong, Kabupaten Bintan, Kepulauan Raiu 29155, Indonesia
Phone: +62 770 693100