We went glamping (glamorous camping) at this newly opened resort in Bintan and the kids loved the place so much that they are already asking to go back.
It felt like we were entering a make-believe land, a Smurf village of sorts.
The wow factor is definitely there, and everything looks picture-perfect.
However, operationally, they do not seem ready although they have been running for 9 months.
Here are some tips so that you go prepared and will be able to make the most of your holiday.
|Glamping – glamorous camping
From Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, it took us an hour to reach Bintan. Guests of The Canopi are ushered through the express lane and it was a short 5 minute ride to our resort.
“This is the largest swimming pool I have ever seen!” exclaimed #5.
Right in the middle is the wake boarding section, which is run by a Singaporean.
The rest of the water and land activities are situated at the far end of the lagoon.
They oohed and aahed about everything and loved the safari themed rooms. All in high spirits as though they had stepped into magical land.
Tip: There are no phones in the rooms, so you either have to walk to the lobby reception for any requests, or you can WhatsApp the number that is given when you checked-in.
Also do note that there is no mini bar, thus no fridge to chill anything you might need to chill.
|#5 called it his fort
Some examples of our requests, to manage your expectations:
Bedroom slippers, please. Sorry, we don’t provide.
Hand towels? Sorry, ran out.
A glass of beer? Sorry, machine broken.
The tent floor is really rough so pack bedroom slippers along if necessary. Or perhaps that’s what the cute little ‘well’ outside each tent is for!
To wash everyone’s feet AND slippers so you can wear them inside the tent. Ok, maybe it’s just me who has sensitive feet, but it felt like I was walking on woven rope.
The kids quickly changed into their swim gear and headed towards the water sports centre. After realising that they had to walk one big round, they decided to swim across instead.
|$9 per hour
There are a lot of activities for the kids. They started with the Water Sports Park which has giant trampolines, slides and obstacles.
Kate did not join them but was content to play with her pool toys.
The kids enjoyed the water park so much that they went again the next day. If the kids are young, they need to be accompanied by an adult.
|Bumper boat – 15 min
They also had lots of fun in this Motorised Bumper Boat, with water guns to spray one another. It can go quite fast, and #5 loved spinning it around like those dizzy tea cups at theme parks!
Both single and double kayaks are available and it was rather idyllic kayaking around the lagoon.
The Land Sports Centre is situated right behind the water sports and it is open to public as well. As we were there over the weekend, it was very crowded with locals, especially on Sunday.
The kids were disappointed that they did not manage to do any of the land activities.
The electric scooters were all rented out, and we were told that the ATV bike adventure only commenced at 3pm. When we went over at 3pm, they told us that it was over-subscribed.
This is a nice place to learn wake-boarding and the kids were able to stand on the first few tries. #1 even managed to turn successfully!
There were several groups awaiting their turn and as most people paid for the 1 hour session, and with 2 cable lines, it was quite a wait.
If we ever do return, it will definitely be on a weekday.
The resort has 1 giant float, which was anchored right in front of our tent.
After a few times of walking round and round under the scorching sun to get to the activities, we decided to call for a buggy.
There is Wifi throughout the resort and you can WhatsApp the reception for a buggy but they have only 2 or 3 serving all the guests so you might have to wait.
|One and only restaurant
The biggest bugbear is the lack of food options at the resort, and the fact that it is not cheap.
There is only one restaurant to serve the entire resort. No beach front cafes, no bars, no convenience stores.
There is a little kiosk right at the far end of the lagoon (at the land sports centre) selling a small assortment of drinks and ice cream.
Breakfast: The buffet breakfast was included in our stay, but the spread was very basic. It also took a long time for them to replenish the food when the crowds came in.
Lunch: We ate here again to save time, but the standard was generally below average. The only items which were slightly better were the pizzas, spaghetti bolognese and mee/nasi goreng. Rather expensive at $20 each for a simple lunch with drinks.
Dinner: We decided to venture out to one of the several kelongs around the resort. It was quite an experience for the kids, to take a powerboat out to the kelong, however the food was average. We ordered the set menu, which came up to $20 per person.
Tip: Pack along biscuits, snacks and mineral water. Or why not go all out and bring tinned food, cup noodles and portable stoves and have a picnic under the stars! I’m sure the kids would love the novelty of that.
|Right in front of our door step
Choice of tents:
We booked the Lagoon View tents, which was great because of the convenience. The kids found it simply amazing to open their front door and almost literally step out into the water.
I loved the convenience as the kids could easily nip back in to use the toilets and I could still be in the room with Kate while she napped, while keeping an eye on the older kids.
However, it was really noisy with the music blasting the whole time, and if you have little children who are easily awoken, a better option would be the Safari tents at the back which are away from the lagoon.
If you are going with several families, it would be nice to book the Safari tents as they are clustered around a central pavilion and the kids can play together in a safe space while the adults sit around and chill, or prepare a BYO alfresco dinner under the stars.
We found the Jacuzzi tents a tad strange, as people were soaking in these little jacuzzis at their doorway in full view of everyone walking past to get to their Safari tents.
The utter silence, and fairy lights twinkling over the vast lagoon made the place feel rather mystical. Just an hour’s ferry ride away from home yet it felt like we were in a distant land.
|Bintan Resort Ferries
The ferry ride turned out better than the kids expected as there was a deli (hotdogs, muffins, chips, cup noodles) and Madagascar 2 was being screened, so the hour passed quickly enough.
All in all, it was a perfect holiday for us (the kids got over their disappointment with the land activities pretty quickly) as our friends who were there a day earlier pre-empted us and we were prepared.
I’m sure the kids would hold fond memories of this spectacular resort for a long time to come.
Treasure Bay Bintan