This part of our trip was a complete gamble. We wanted to go to Indonesia but as we only had 3 nights to spare, we decided to visit Bintan Island.
It is a popular getaway for Singaporeans as it is only a 45min ferry ride from Singapore. We did our research and found ourselves drawn to The Residence Bintan. It was much further away from all the other resorts meaning that it took a bit longer to get there but boy was it worth it.
When we arrived at Tanjung Pinang port, we passed through immigration with no visa needed and headed outside. It was dark already and there were a mass of taxi drivers ready to bombard us with offers but luckily we had complimentary transfers provided by the hotel. I would make sure you have transportation organised before you go because it is not organised like an airport.
We were greeted with a black air conditioned mini bus where we were given a cold towel, a bottle or water and a bag of cookies to welcome us before heading off on a pleasant ride to the resort. It took around 50mins in the dark and we had the pleasure of watching Peabody and Sherman during our ride which made the time pass quickly.
When we arrived at the resort we were shown to a beautifully decorated reception area where were offered cold lemongrass tea and yet another cold towel. Check in was smooth and we were asked to provide a 3 million rupiah deposit to cover our expenses during our stay and then whisked off in a golf cart to our room.
We had booked a sea view room which was the top floor of a two story villa. It was spacious with a huge balcony area that consisted of three different seating arrangements.
The resort is clean and very peaceful. The best way to get around is by bike, and we were provided with two placed outside our villa when we arrived. You can call for a lift if you need to and someone will come and collect for guest who need mobility support.
There are two restaurants at The Residence and both offer a beautiful selection of food. The main restaurant, has nice views over the main part of the resort and we had complimentary breakfast buffet there each morning.
There is an infinity pool facing over the ocean where you can order a nice selection of food and drinks from the pool bar. It has a great atmosphere but there is limited seating.
The beach area is clean and they have been really clever to provide some ‘photo worthy’ props including water swings and a small group of over water hammocks but we just really enjoyed walking along the sand back to our villa as the sun was going down. The lighting was just perfect!
I was nervous about our stay at The Residence Bintan, we had no idea what this resort on the middle of a tiny Indonesian island was going to be like but as soon as we were dropped off at reception, we quickly realised that this was a little piece of heaven. It was perfect, peaceful, quiet, the staff were attentive in every way and we loved every minute. We were treated like royalty and each day we were treated to some local treats.
How to get there?
Preferring less land travel we opted for a 1hr 45min ferry from Singapore’s Tenah Merah port near Changi airport to Tanjung Pinang port on Bintan Island. This meant the land transfer was only 50mins. You could book a shorter ferry journey to Bandar Bentan port which takes only 45mins but the land transfer to the resort will take around 90mins. It all comes down to which one you prefer but both transfer routes are complimentary.
We booked our ferry with Majestic Ferries online and everything ran smoothly. The ride there was a little rough so we sat right at the back and with the aid of my electric fan we did not have a repeat of our whale watching experience in New Zealand, however on the way back to Singapore it was completely smooth. There are plenty of toilets on board with snacks available and comfortable seating. A movie is also played during the journey to keep you distracted but with no sound.
How much does it cost?
For such a luxury feel, this resort was a really good price. We paid around £350 for three nights bed and breakfast with complimentary round trip transfers to the ferry port. As for food and drink, the average meal was around 150,000IDR- 200,000IDR.
How to book?
There are two options. Through Booking.com ,which offers good deals, or directly with the hotel The Residence Bintan. We booked directly with the hotel but communication was very slow. It took over a week for a reply… if at all but there was no difference in price for us booking direct.
We cannot recommend this place enough, and if you ever find yourself in Singapore with a few days to spare, Bintan Island is worth the visit. I promise you won’t regret it. As you can see, our gamble paid off!!