Thursday 5 November 2015

Bintan Lagoon Resort - Villa Stay

Early this week, we planned a short getaway to Bintan, Bintan Lagoon resort. The man had a complimentary stay at its villa (SAFRA) and we thought it was quite a deal to getaway.

We bought to and fro ferry tickets from Journeyful. The sail journey was about 90 minutes per way from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and disembarked directly at Bintan Lagoon Resort. A shuttle bus arrived to bring us to the resort's lobby. On our return, we went there on a buggy, chauffeured by their staff. Very friendly people in there.

Js were extremely excited to get on the ferry for a 90 minutes sail. Thankful none of us got hit by seasickness, and checking in and out of the customs were very smooth too. We checked in our luggages and food, which were picked up by the resort staff to send them direct to our villa. This got really easy on us, we only took care of our hand carries.

Bookings made through SAFRA was the Cempaka villa. A single storey house unit, with 3 bedrooms (queen bed each), 2 bathrooms, kitchen, living, dining area and BBQ pit. We knew it was huge for us, so we asked our nearing pioneer generation folks, my parents to join us 3 days and 2 nights at the resort.

We were welcomed by this beautiful villa sheltering an electric buggy. The buggy comes complimentary with each villa and proved really useful for us to conquer distance in its huge resort and on a hot sunny day. It became a popular ride among Js, who took turns to control the wheel. Glad it was comfortably enough for 4 adults and 2 little ones to ride on.

Cempaka villa

In house furnishing

Both bathrooms came with standing shower and simple toiletries for showering. Bath and face towels included, but no toothbrush and paste. Extra towels were found in the wardrobe. There were no tissue papers, only toilet papers. Might wana self bring some tissues if you're going.

The master bedroom had a TV, so there were two TVs in the villa. One in room and one in the living area. Our local channels like channel 5 and 8 were received but not HD images.

Here's what I checked out upon my entry, the kitchen! A section I always conquer and am concern about.

Cooking needs

There were utensils, cutlery, plates, bowls, woks, pot and pans. In addition, there was a microwave, refrigerator, rice cooker, toaster and an electric kettle. Which we only used to boil water for hot coffee and milo. Though we brought mineral water along, the villa comes with 4 bottles of complimentary drinking water. Think it was 500ml per bottle.

Dish washing liquid and sponge were available too.

We were quite turned off by this kettle, but used it nonetheless. At least, that's not how I maintain the use of my home kettle. If you're uncomfortable, can always bring one along. Voltage and plug is the same in Singapore.

The villa was really old and run down in most corners. Curtains and bedsheets were very seasoned too. The place was relatively clean, but you could tell it's highly due for a major makeover.

The room booking didn't come with breakfast and having done some research of what we'll be in for, we decided to pack some meals over. There were quite a number of restaurants within the resort, but they were not exactly yums and very pricey. 

Frugality runs in me, especially in times like this. Instead of having all meals out, I packed 2 meals of breakfast over, brought food to BBQ for first night's dinner and prepared a meal of lunch. It seems better to check in (at Singapore custom) any raw food you're bringing in. Less chances of being confiscated or fined, I guess. On the declaration form, we were advised not to declare too. It really is almost impossible to whip up a meal if you don't bring anything from Singapore, I've no idea where's their nearest market or supermarket. Everything is just touristy there. If you're prepared to pay an exuberant price for their food, you may travel in light.

Do order your BBQ food items 3 days in advance, if you are planning to BBQ on the day of check in. You should email to ask for their grocery list (pastry and bakeries on list too). Here are some pricing I checked. Prices are in IDR, but I converted them approximately:

Ribeye steak (100g) - $9.80 
Sirloin steak (100g) - $5.90
Chicken wings (100g) - $3.90
Chicken or beef satay (1/2 dozen) - $5.90
Prawns (medium, 100g ) - $4.90
Charcoal (5kg) - $9.80

Quite a premium, but the most convenient 'supermarket' around.

Hired a 'kitchen helper' too

So yeap, we made sandwiches and french toasts for breakfasts, BBQ food for first night dinner, brought salad for greens and fried bee hoon for next day's lunch. Simple meals that brought comfort and delight. And of course, if you have no intention to 'work' for food this vacation. You may check out their in house food menu, to dine in the comfort of your villa.

Transactions are in Rupiah. Good to experience the days of being a 'millionaire.'

Pizza and Pasta at about $18

We had a self proclaimed sumptuous, BBQ dinner and ended our night early. Next day, we spent our morning and an early afternoon exploring the resort. Up in next post, soon!

This share is updated as at November 2015. Am sharing this post to benefit families who might be wondering what to expect in the resort since SAFRA owns a couple of units there. And there wasn't much recent information we could gather while planning our trip.

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