Sunday, September 17, 2017

Family Beach Vacation @ Club Med Bintan Island

This post has taken so much longer to complete than I anticipated. I'm going to blame it on blogger and the recurring problems with saving the post and preview failing to load which are a total pain. And don't even get me started on the formatting inconsistencies I had to encounter (yes, first world problems...I know!). Nevertheless, anyone from the blogger camp listening? I'm not even sure if I have successfully rectified all the issues that propped up so forgive me if anything appears wonky. Seriously, the whole ordeal with this post made me feel like tearing my hair out on multiple occasions (which I've lost so much of anyway 😒). 

Now that I am done with my petty little rant, let's move on to something more pleasant.

So, we were recently on a family holiday to Club Med at Bintan, Indonesia. My in-laws were in Singapore on a visit and we wanted to spend some quality time together away from the mundaneness of the daily grind. 

Club Med has been diffusing stress since 1950 by adopting an all-inclusive package that includes all the necessary ingredients for a dream vacation. Transportation, transfers, accommodation, delicious meals, beverages and drinks, activities, entertainment and a complete range of personalized services for adults and children. 

Being no stranger to Club Med and having experienced the perks of the all-inclusive package that the French company offers on a previous holiday, we didn't think twice before confirming our booking. The icing on the cake being the Club Med philosophy of being a family and child-friendly resort. 

A 45 minute drive to the Tanah Merah ferry terminal, a 50 minute ferry to Bintan and a 20 minute shuttle bus ride later, we reached our destination. With two toddlers who are notorious for motion sickness, I was almost holding my breath the entire journey! But the gods were kind and the travel turned out to be uneventful....double phew!

As is the Club Med tradition, we were welcomed exuberantly by a group of Gentil Organisateurs (GOs) as we alighted the bus and stepped into the inviting lobby.

This was a shot I took from the lobby soon after getting off the bus. Looks so alluring doesn't it? A welcome drink and a short briefing later, we were whisked away for a late breakfast.


This was my first glimpse of the beach. Although it is open to public, it can only be accessed from the resort so it almost does feel like a private beach. Calm, serene and quiet were the three words that came to mind. We were fortunate that it was a gloriously sunny day and water looked clear and a demure shade of blue.

We settled our growling stomachs at the intimate Terrasse restaurant located at the water's edge. It took considerable effort shooing away the cheeky monkeys who were desperately after our food! After that, we spent some time admiring the lovely views of the South China sea from the restaurant. 

Check-in wasn't till 2pm so exploring the manicured grounds helped kill time.

The resort has 311 rooms divided between small 3-storey buildings. A combination of rustic and modern, built in the local style, the buildings make great use of exotic wood and local craftwork.

The kids were off hunting for sticks, stones, slugs, bugs and heaven knows what else! When you are on holiday, you tend not to ask the questions to which you know you will not like the answers 😝

The lush expanse of carpeted greenery allowed the girls to run wild! I spotted a hammock nearby and chose that as my preferred spot to keep a watchful eye on them. 

Inside the resort there was a lovely little boutique store which was selling a variety of merchandise. Everyday they had racks of items for sale at jaw-dropping prices. Needless to say, I did my fair share of shopping 😛

The rooms we had chosen were sea-facing connecting rooms which meant that the kids could easily flit between us and their grandparents depending on who they were feeling particularly affectionate towards 😄

The rooms at Club Med Bintan were much better than the Cherating beach counterpart. They appeared fairly new and were reasonably spacious, clean and well equipped. One detail that caught my attention immediately was the toilet separated from the bathroom  - a design feature I really appreciate. There were two baby cots that were kept ready for the girls (although it later turned out that only one of them used it while the other one firmly planted herself between me and her daddy!). 

The view from the balcony was quite lovely too. We could see the other kids engaging in various fun activities in the afternoons but since my little ones are still used to their 3-hour long nap, they missed out on some of the fun. 

Our rooms were located very close to the main building and the WIFI signal in the room was strong so a big thumbs up for that. 

My only complaint was that we weren't provided with two sets of baby bath products like at Cherating and housekeeping failed to periodically restock the coffee-making consumables. 

Anyway, moving on to the other aspects of the resort, one of the first places I headed to without wasting any time was the Kids Club to see what was in store for the little ones. 

There was this outdoor play area which the kids were very eager to check-out and they went on to spend a good chunk of time there.

In the evening (and the other evenings to follow), we adults would take a stroll down the beach while the kids went mad with excitement taking turns playing in the gentle waters and hopping over to the wet sand to prod, dig and build stuff. Such evenings were the highlight of our holiday! 

The beach at Club Med Bintan is just so perfect for families with small kids. After a while I let go of my overprotective maternal instincts and just let them be doing whatever they wanted to do (even in the water!) 

After a very eventful evening at the beach which was followed by a quick shower and change of clothes, something we enjoyed doing was lounging by the pool sipping cocktails. I am very predictable when it comes to cocktails - it is always a margarita, mojito or else a chocolate martini for me. But this time, I added a new cocktail to my limited liquor repertoire - Cuba Libre. Cheers to that! 🍹

The kids were very taken with the glowing red light from the bar counter which was a good thing for us 😁 They also thoroughly enjoyed the samosas that were frequently served in the adjoining indoor lounge. 

On one of the days, the Chef De Village, Youssef came over to have a friendly chat and enquire if everything was up to our expectations. It is these little things that makes a stay feel more welcome 😊

Okay, you know that I cannot resist talking about food right? And when you are at Club Med, food is a big part of the holiday experience. 

Like in Cherating, the buffet options were plentiful and the quality of food was so good. The main dining restaurant called The Waterfall was where we had all three meals of the day. Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Italian, South East Asian - you name it and it was there. For me, it was their plated main courses and desserts that caught my fancy the most. All my convictions of eating healthy went down the drain and I think I took the meaning of the word "indulgence" to new heights! 

I knew that there would be nightly entertainment shows but I wasn't sure if we could stay for them. The last time we were at a Club Med, the kids were not even two years old at the time and so keeping in mind their bedtime, we had to retire to the room early. However this time my almost-three-year-olds were in high spirits post-dinner and we were able to catch the shows on two days which turned out to be thoroughly entertaining. 

The first days show was full of laughs and very interactive with short bursts of acrobatics and dances in between. The second days shows was a fast-paced musical extravaganza with dances and entertainment galore! On both days, the kids were invited on stage at the end and were encouraged to take part in the merriment. My kids (who turned out to be the youngest of the lot) were awestruck and mostly overwhelmed by the dazzling lights, blaring music and flurry of activity so were rooted to the spot for the most part 😝

During the daytime, there were a lot of activities for the adults such as yoga, fitness classes, weight and cardio training and hiking. I really did want to go to some of them but I ended up being a lazy bum and spent most of my free time snoozing in bed 😝 For me, that is such a luxury so I didn't want to let the rare opportunity go!

But it wasn't all about eating and sleeping. Me and the husband played some table tennis and the entire family did make an effort to explore the property thoroughly. It made for a pleasant walk and also helped burn down a few calories after all those sizeable meals!

There go my troops ready to chase the birds!

There was a small pond full of water lilies which was a sight to behold.

See I'm not kidding when I say this place is serious about being child-friendly. There is a room adjacent to The Waterfall restaurant which has a fridge stocked with baby food, flavoured yoghurt, all kinds of milk, mineral water and also had a microwave, sterilizer and wash basin. Talk about convenience! Am I right fellow toddler moms? 

Once again, I made my way with the girls to the Kids Club. We hadn't checked out the indoor play area so that is what we did. It was spacious and had plenty of things to keep the kids occupied but to be honest, I much preferred the Kids Club at Cherating. In my opinion it was much better in terms of appearance, content and the GOs who seemed much more enthusiastic. 

The kids pool is located adjacent to the Baby Club. There are two - one suitable for babies and a much larger one with a slide and water jets for the older kids. My little ones spent all of 10 minutes in the baby pool and quickly moved on to where the action was!

There are several view points overlooking the gardens and the beach where you can sit and take in the views. This was one such place. 

You can see the adventure zone with the flying trapeze, archery and trampoline. My kids were too young to experience the fun here (except for the trampoline). Maybe next time!

Here you can see my girls frolicking on the beach. Every single beach visit was so much fun! The minute I'd say - "lets go to the beach", their little faces would light up like light bulbs and they would go scampering to get their bathing suits. 

And since the kids weren't in any catastrophic danger, I took the opportunity to get some pictures of myself engaging in some mid-air acrobatics 😝

I always come back to food now don't I? I'm hopeless I know. But take a look at that! Doesn't it look so mouthwatering? I was worried I would break the scale if I had stayed there a few more days! 

This was the second night of entertainment that I mentioned about earlier. The dancers (all GO's) paid homage to the biggest record artists and much to the audience's delight included music from other countries as well (there were at least two Bollywood numbers). 

And here are my little ones standing with their eyes wide as saucers and mouths open taking in all the sights and sounds 😆

Towards the end of our stay, we stopped by the photography counter and engaged a photographer to take a couple of family pictures by the beach. We had done the same a Cherating as well and those pictures form the basis of treasured memories from that holiday. As we were posing, I noticed this nicely camouflaged monitor lizard basking on the rocks by the beach just a few feet away from us.

As the day arrived to bid adieu to the resort, the girls were handed these certificates which they were very proud of indeed 😃

Another uneventful trip back home (thank you almighty!) and were were back to the grind but with lingering memories of our fun-filled and relaxing holiday.

If you love the idea of an all-inclusive holiday which involves fun activities, late night parties, live shows, baby sitting services and activities for kids as well as free flow of food and drinks all day long then Club Med has you covered. 

Club Med at Bintan island is the ultimate wellbeing getaway for those living in Singapore. And with so many water and land sports options, plus artistic and cultural activities for kids aged 2 to 17, this charming island is an ideal family destination.

We thoroughly enjoyed our holiday and I look forward to more stays at Club Med hopefully at different destinations over the world. Club Med Maldives has even made it to my bucket list! 


Suggested reading,
Club Med Cherating Beach

Note: This was not a sponsored holiday. This was a self-funded trip, the views and opinions of which stem from personal experience. 

1 comment:

  1. By seeing the pics i decided to visit such vacation place. There is every thing that each one loved to see and enjoy. Thank you for sharing good location with us.

    Thank you
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