It is practically next door, the tropical paradise that is Banyan Tree Bintan, an hour by boat, and in another country altogether, Indonesia.
Banyan Tree Bintan does luxury, personalised; uniformed personable staff after immigration will see you to the resort car, no time to doze and you’re there.
Why wait for the weekend, let your weekend be, say, Wednesday. Meet – you are going with family or friends – in Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, find a seat somewhere back centre (in case the sea takes a turn) have a snooze, and it’s land ahoy!
Lush, luxuriant vegetation, balmy breezes, inviting sand and rock, shimmering sea, refreshing cocktails.
And the buggy, to and fro your bungalow, heavenly quarters of four-poster beds and sunken baths, your very own jacuzzi, a day bed by the window looking out onto your very own little corner of paradise.
Just when you think it can’t get better, it does. The meals. Ideally you need couple nights, but even an over-nighter guarantees a feast of eating, drinking, and the spa treatments in the huts on a hill!
You could see a Banyan Tree Bintan break as a Mini Bali minus the flight and transfers to your hotels there.
It is so easy to access, and once there, it’s all resort living. Breakfast is indoors or out, surrounded by sea and pool, the scent of trees and flowers, the calls of nature’s fauna. Lunch down by the sand and rocks, or up on a hill, dinner by the pool.
And every kind of activity you can dream of – ranger trail, snorkeling, jetski safari, local fishing, bird talk, aqua aerobics, beach soccer, bike tour, windsurfing, to name a few – it’s finding the time.
We were so lucky to be there for Best of Bintan. A sensational Riau Islands Culinary Experience. Bintan Island hotels’ top 6 chefs collaborated on a special dinner showcasing their signature dishes.
A taste menu of authentic flavours in a creative presentation and setting. Chefs from Angsana, Bintan Lagoon, Canopi, Nirwana Gardens, The Residence. Served up in Banyan Tree’s Treetops Indonesian Restaurant. A bespoke evening, cocktails and canapes by the pool, lit by lanterns and the moon, serenaded with music to our tables.
A feast for the senses. Grilled crab meat otak on bed of cincalok, speciality egg noodle, slow-cooked beef short ribs, tiger prawn scallop red snapper roulade and blue mussel laksa, duck breast, and desserts die for. All paired with selected wines.
We practically rolled onto the buggy seat for the short sweet ride back to our villa. A word about the personnel in Banyan Tree Bintan. From top down, you could not be made more welcome by Mr Alpha Eldiansyah, its GM, and the rest of his crew.