A recent short media inspection trip to the lovely Club Med Bintan reminded me why this renowned vacation lifestyle chain can still command a premium and a mecca of fun after all these years. Fond memories of my last Club Med holiday in Bali vacation decades ago returned and tell me I just had to include the chain’s various other resorts around the world in my bucket list. Who can resist a resort where everything is taken care of ? From meals, activities, transfers to and from the resort, accommodation and entertainment, everything had been planned for, you just need to bring yourself there.
I like to think of Club Med as a “cruise vacation” on land, with the all-inclusive whole-day dining and drinks (cocktails, beer, etc) that will bring a smile even to those who don’t really engage in their wide range of sports and wellness activities. And of course, not forgetting the cosmopolitan Gentil Organisateur (G.O.) crew who are central to the Club Med experience. “The G.O is the ambassador of the Club Med spirit and upholds the company’s values. In addition to their professionalism and know-how is added a way of being, which brings them close to customers and produces moments of happiness, kindness, conviviality, friendliness and humour.” (Club Med website)
Getting to Club Med Bintan
Accessibility to this idyllic resort situated at Lagoi Bay, on Bintan Island couldn’t be easier. A quick 45min ferry from the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (TMFT) plus a 15 minutes land transfer from the Bandar Bintan Telani (BBT) ferry terminal whisk you from urban Singapore to relaxing holiday of sun, sand and sea. There are five daily ferry departure on weekdays and seven on weekends and public holidays. More details can be referred here.
The Lagoi Beach at Club Med Bintan is a private beach, accessible only by the resort guests. The beach sand was powdery soft and I am glad I did not encounter any sandflies issue. The breezy beach is the perfect chillout place with sundeck cabanas looking out to the idyllic South China Sea.
Just you, the sun, sand and sea. There is no worries about being accosted by beach hawkers peddling souvenirs as in other public beaches elsewhere. But the Lagoi Beach can be choppy and strong during the year end monsoons. So swimming, snorkeling, stand-up paddle and kayaking are suspended but activities like hobie-cat sailing can be arranged.
The resort have various types of rooms. But the cosy sea-facing deluxe rooms, like the one above, should please all her occupants. Wall-mounted LCD TV, plush bed, balcony, day bed and writing table makes the stay enjoyable. WiFi speed can be rather slow at some area but it’s a crime to nitpick. It’s a vacation! The complimentary drinks in the mini-bar made me smile but my thirst have been quenched by beverages and cocktails around the resort, all included in the package .
The bathroom does not come with bath tub (only the two suites in resort have it) but have nice shower faucet with good water pressure and double sinks. The WC is separated from the bathroom for better functionality. Overall, the washroom is well laid out and satisfyingly equipped.
Dining at the resort
At the newly renovated Waterfall Restaurant (international buffet), pastel white and green colour scheme is soothing with ample seats and tables. Refurbishment as this spacious dining hall was just completed days prior that soft-furnishings were not even installed yet. But it did not affect the dining experience and beer lovers will be pleased to know they can help themselves to the golden liquid and other drinks at the beverages counter, with compliments of course. Only when you pine for champagne and other more expensive wines do you pay extra.
The “buffet” dishes counters at the restaurant are arranged in individual kiosks. The chef in charge of that dish will be most delighted to prepare and plate his or her culinary creation for you. The portion are in fine-dining portion, encouraging you up to explore and experience more dishes from other ethnic stations like Korean, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, etc. I like that Club Med coined it as “healthy eating”. But still I end up getting totally full as the dishes are just so beautifully done.
Home-made Japanese tofu with spicy dressing for you ? Vegans are well-taken care of at Club Med. As are meat-eaters.
My favourite Indian dish Roti with fish curry at breakfast. Everyone has their comfort food. This one is mine.
Another of my breakfast comfort food, Chinese porridge. Warms up the stomach for a great start to the day. One helping is never quite enough.
Fine-dining restaurant , The Terrasse, serves a la carte lunch and dinner on reservation only. Guests are asked during breakfast session if they would like to dine at this romantic diner located close to the beach. The dinner main course are chosen at time of reservation so diners need just show up at meal time and be treated to a meal cooked ala minute in cozy ambience.
Service staff goes around with mini portable lamp attached to menu for guests to read and choose their entrees in the dim setting. Salad and fruits bar are also set up although the set meal by itself is already sufficient.
After a nice dinner, guests can choose attend G.O organised parties or chilled out at one of several watering holes around the resort. We checked out the Matahari beachside bar for cocktails and certainly loved the cosy sea side ambience. It helped that all drinks- cocktails, mocktails or whatever is available are complimentary too.
Post dinner cocktails anyone ? How about a Brandy Alexander or Grasshopper ? on the house, of course.
Some of the resort recreation areas
The recently renovated swimming pool with light emerald blue tiles, making the pool looked bigger than the previous dark blue tiles.
Family and friends enjoying the pool. Shortly after I shot this picture, the pool water aerobics session commenced. Pool area is usually the hub of activities in most resorts. But at Club Med, there are many hub of activities which goes around the resort, catering to both kids and adults.
One wonder why the pool is not crowded even with such lovely weather. But with so many activities spread out across the resort, everyone is having fun all over and not confined to the pool. The lifeguard at the pool is certainly in relaxed mode.
Club Med evening entertainment centre. In the evening, the talented side of the Gentil Organisateurs are displayed right here as they go about entertaining guests with fun activities after dinner. Everyone is invited !
Outdoor sports activities
The unmistakable logo and symbol of fun. Everyone who loves travel will recognise the Trident .
The resort sea sports staff getting ready the hobie-cats for sailing lessons. Each ride around the Lagoi Bay takes about 15-20minutes.
Harnessing nature’s gift. Sailing in the windy bay is a low-carbon footprint activity very much in sync with the club eco-friendly stance.
Feel the wind in your hair as you sail around Lagoi Bay. Each Hobie Cat can accommodate about 4 sailors plus 1 crew comfortably.
Safety is paramount at the beach. The resort stationed lifeguards and gears to ensure beach users are in good hands.
Children having fun and learning confidence at the “Flying Trapeze School”. The GOs are specially trained in each of the activity they are in charge of. There’s even a drinking water dispenser right at the activity shelter to ensure everyone stay hydrated.
Always a popular activity, archery at the shooting range attract constant stream of guests. Guests are not limited on how long they can play robin hood. But activity times are separated between children and adults, so do check out the events schedule at resort lobby level one near the 24-hour Santai Bar.
Learning to stay focused and patience are two virtues of archery. And it’s good to start young.
Enjoy and feel achievement. That’s what makes archery such a sweet sports. Pardon the pun.
Spa experience by Asmara Lifestyle.
Wellness treatment at the resort. This is one the activities that is not included in the all-inclusive vacation package at Club Med. The spa operation is operated by Asmara Lifestyle.
Holistic wellness products for purchase at the spa boutique.
The treatment rooms nestled among the bay floral and fauna. Totally peaceful and in a tranquil setting.
The spa treatment room. The awesome view alone makes the wellness session a memorable occasion.
Nature at the resort
Local “resident” butterfly at the resort compound. Photographers who loves shooting nature pictures will enjoy the opportunities the resort present.
One of several squirrels by the archery shooting range. Watching the wildlife at the resort is another great bonus.
A sweet farewell by the GO.
Every arrival and departure to the resort is a heart warming experience. The GOs lined the resort lobby and driveway, even with bottled water, so that every guest is fully taken care of. From the minute you stepped into the resort, till you leave. That’s the Club Med style.
Till the next time. We will miss the Club Med experience and be back for more .
For those keen to experience the Club Med all-inclusive vacation, please do check Jetabout Holidays for special promotional packages here with up 50% saving and no membership fee requirement (terms and conditions apply).
P.S – All pictures used in this blog is copyrighted to Jensen Chua Photography and all rights reserved.