Sunday, July 20, 2014

Weekend Getaway | Angsana Bintan Resort & Spa, Indonesia

Last weekend we went away for a quick family getaway to Angsana Bintan Resort and Spa in Indonesia. I love long holidays but sometimes, when I get back I feel even more tired with the mountain of work {sorry if I haven't replied your emails yet!} and laundry to catch up on.

With short weekend getaways, you enjoy the blissfulness of getting away from the hustle of work and the mundane, and the refreshing energy still spills over to normal life when you return. Especially when you come back from a beautiful place like Angsana Bintan #bringmebacknowplease

It was a breeze collecting our tickets from Bintan Resort Ferries at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, as the counter is almost directly in front of the main entrance, and next to the check-in baggage counter. I didn't remember needing to check-in our luggage when we went to our getaway at Batam, but like when flying, if your luggage is bigger than cabin size, you have to check it in. 

After a 1 hour ride in a big air-conditioned ferry, we reached Bintan! It stopped at Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal, which is just about 15 minutes ride away from Angsana Resort. The resort has a free shuttle ride {you'll need to pre-book} for transfer, or you can also take their private car ride {US$25 return}.

While waiting to check-in the room, Angsana Resort staff will serve you delicious lemongrass drinks and explain to you the amenities and activities available at the resort. We were supposed to stay in a Deluxe Double Room but I suppose since it was off-peak season and the hotel wasn't full, there was room in the One Bedroom Suite and we were upgraded to stay there. Woohoooooo~!

The One Bedroom Suite was very comfortable for our family of 3. It features separate living and dining areas, one bedroom with a queen-sized bed, two balconies and a pantry.

Best part was it faced the beach! This was the view that greeted us everyday for our weekend getaway #love

Soon after we arrived, we brought Lil Pumpkin to the pool as she kept bugging us ever since she saw that we were packing in her swimsuit and arm floats. Lil Pumpkin was so pleased to see big pool! We spent about an hour there swimming around and playing with the boy's new "waterproof" Sony Xperia Z1 mobile, which konked out after our first use!! It wasn't even deeper than the maximum water depth the mobile was supposed to handle.

That mobile is definitely not waterproof as it claims to be, and unfortunately we found out the hard way. After reading some reviews online {where one guy's Xperia Z1 spoilt after use in the shower!}, we realised that we weren't the only one that suffered :'( The boy was pretty down and disappointed after that, but luckily he cheered up a little with the BBQ buffet dinner we had at Lotus Café.

It was a really sumptuous spread that included not just BBQ seafood, but also cooked local delights, fruits and kueh cakes. My favourite for the night were the Indonesian Oxtail Soup {sop buntut} and minced seafood on lemongrass sticks satay {sate seafood}.  The BBQ buffet dinner only happens once a week on Fridays, so we were lucky to catch it during our stay.

There was a spare bed in our room and Lil Pumpkin wanted to sleep there all by herself! She did for the whole night and we're so proud of her :) She looks so small in the single adult bed hehe.

After a good night's rest, we started our second day with breakfast at the Lotus Café again. The hotel breakfast is quite a spread with a variety of intercontinental breakfast dishes {sausages, baked beans, beef bacon etc.}, conflakes, salad & cold meat, an egg station for omelets, poached eggs, fried eggs etc., bread, cakes, fruits, juices and so on.

Lil Pumpkin played in the Kid's Club while the boy and I slipped away for some couple-time at their famous spa after breakfast. For kids aged 3 -10 years old, the Kid's Club is free and available for all young guests to enjoy under supervision from the resort staff, while parents can enjoy the rest of the resort. This is definitely a plus for us~

The Kid's Club is very well equipped and they have books, puppets, colouring and of course, even Lil Pumpkin's favourite kitchen playset. They also organise acitivities such as cookie baking, t-shirt painting, beads jewelry-making etc that come at a small fee. Lil Pumpkin painted this t-shirt! She said the small fish is her, while the big fish is me hehe.

The boy and I enjoyed our 2 hour spa treatment which included a 90-minute Javanese massage and 30 minutes relaxation time. I was thinking of going for Angsana's signature massage, but decided to do the Javanese massage instead as this deep tissue massage aids to rid deep-seated knots and relieve muscle tension and aches. I like massages with strong pressure :) The harder the better hahahaha

We calmed our mind and let our spa therapists massage away our troubles in this beautiful air-conditioned room overlooking the blue waters of the South China Sea. It was such a treat and I could have lied there all day long....

After our relaxing spa, we picked Lil Pumpkin up and we had lunch at their beach restaurant, Pantai Grill and Bar. They serve Western and Asian cuisine. We ordered a Hawaiian pizza, PJ sandwiches and fish & chips. Pretty impressed with the fish as the pieces were very big, and covered with just a thin layer of crispy batter. In some other restaurants, the fish batter seems more than the fish meat haha.

In the late afternoon, we brought Lil Pumpkin on a thrilling All-Terrain Vehicles {AVT} ride. A first for all of us!! We took the family mini-car and the boy drove for 30 minutes on the beach, through the jungle and around the resort {got to see part of the Laguna golf course too}. He said it was a bit tiring as there's no power-steering heh. I found it a bit tiring too holding on to Lil Pumpkin and making sure she didn't suddenly jump out :P

Oh my goodness I thought Lil Pumpkin would be kinda scared, but this little daredevil LOVED it and was screaming with glee the whole way hahahah. Take a look at our AVT experience on YouTube if the video above isn't working.

After that, I went on another thrilling adventure to ride the waves on a jet-ski. Lil Pumpkin was disappointed that she couldn't come along as she was too young and had to stay with the boy, who didn't want to go since he couldn't swim well. Ahh well, such a pity because it really was such an adrenalin rush!

The instructor taught me how to use the jetski before we went out to the water and he helped to lead around the sea. The first thing I asked him was "are there any sharks here??" Although I'm a pretty good swimmer and deep waters don't scare me, I'm damn scared of sharks!! Luckily he answered "no, only ikan bilis.. small fish". Phew!!

At first I was a little scared to go out too far from shore, but the instructor kept urging me and I grew more confident with the jetski after a while so I went pretty far out! Almost to the small kelong you see in the picture behind. It helped as well that there were other people rowing kayaks out there and I didn't feel too lonely.

At Angsana Bintan's Marine Centre, there's a myriad of water sports that test your skills and physical limits. Other than jet-skiing, you can wind surf, knee-board or water-ski. More relaxing sea activities include banana boat, sea donut, stand up paddle board, body board, surfing board and snorkelling. Prices for activities start from US$6.

We then brought Lil Pumpkin for another swim at the pool, then took a hotel car shuttle {S$5/adult & S$3/child return} out to Pasar Oleh Oleh for dinner. It's a souvenir gift market and shopping village set up to promote Indonesian culture, arts and crafts for tourists i.e. don't expect to catch any real "local life" there.

15 minutes drive away from Angsana Bintan, it consists of about 15-20 shops {mainly massage parlours and convenience stalls} and 3 restaurants. You can probably finish the whole area in 30 minutes, but since we had dinner there, we took about 1.5 hours.

Pasar Oleh Oleh is a quick stop to visit if you want to try some of the local food like sea snails {gong-gong} that isn't found in the resort. Price-wise, it's definitely cheaper than the resort but about the same price as food in Singapore food courts. If you head to the main town that's 1 hour drive away, Tanjong Pinung, you'll probably find cheaper food and more shopping stuff.

On our last day, we brought Lil Pumpkin to yet another splashing good time at the pool after breakfast. Had time to go back for a quick shower, pack up then leave the resort at 1.30pm. Our ferry back to Singapore was at 2.30pm and you are supposed to pick-up your boarding pass at least 1.5 hours before the ferry departure time, but thankfully, Angsana Bintan can print the ferry passes out at the resort so you don't need to be at the terminal too early. There really isn't much to do there and the prices for any souvenirs is pretty exorbitant.

Overall, like some reviews online mentioned, the facilities at Angsana Bintan are kind of dated, but we find them very well-maintained. The staff friendliness is definitely tops,  and we appreciate that we have everything we want right at the resort, without the need to go anywhere else. A stay there will definitely be more expensive compared to the average Bintan hotel, but you're paying for the luxury, convenience, security and safety.

The boy was very happy with our getaway, despite his mobile troubles and even said he wouldn't mind coming back again! Needless to say, Lil Pumpkin really enjoyed herself too. How not to with daily pool time and fun at the Kid's Club? Me? I feel thoroughly rejuvenated and ready to take on the world!! *grins*

Promo:  From 26 - 28 Sep 2014, Angsana Bintan will be having a Family Adventure Weekend! Kids aged 7 - 14 can look forward to three days of fun and educational activities including a treasure hunt and an amazing campfire experience, while mum and dad enjoy some well-deserved me-time. From US$500, the promo package includes 2 nights stay, return transfers from ferry terminal to hotel, daily breakfasts, selected family meals, all children activities etc. Email for more details.

Giveaway: Win a staycation for 2 pax at Angsana Bintan. Includes hotel stay, ferry tickets, hotel transfer, free wifi and selected restaurant meals. Enter the giveaway now until Fri 22 Aug 2014! 

  • Currency used at Angsana Bintan is USD while shops at Pasar Oleh Oleh accepts only Indonesian Rupiah.
  • Remember to pack in your swimsuit, sunscreen and insect repellants, although you can get small packets of insect repellents from Angsana Bintan's service staff.
  • Rubber slippers {adults only} are available for loan in the rooms.
  • Although there are some boat floats available at the pool for use, bring your own pool toys, kids floats and arm floats {if needed}.
  • It's best to make reservations at the resort restaurants before going for your meals.
  • Sit on the left side of the ferry on the way to Bintan, and on the right side on the way back to Singapore. Those are the sides where the ferry exits open at the various terminals, and where people leave the ferry the fastest as there's a jam in the middle when passengers collect their cabin bags.

Angsana Bintan Resort & Spa
Jalan Teluk Berembang, Laguna Bintan, Kepulauan Riau 29155, Indonesia
Tel: +62 770 693111

* Disclosure: Weekend family getaway was partially sponsored by Angsana Bintan Resort & Spa. No monetary compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.



Masshole Mommy said...

What a whirlwind getaway you guys had!! It looks awesome there.

Jane Lee said...

Nice picture of Lil Pumpkin underwater!! I was thinking of buying that Sony phone but glad I read your experience with it first

CuteCoconut said...

Wow, reading your review makes me want to jump in the pool ha ha.. Thank you so much Ai for sharing this!

An Apel a Day said...

That looks like an amazing time!

I love when places have things for kids to do.

Cherry said...

My last visit there was for a work + leisure company trip. Went back in 2010 with the family but we stayed in Bintan Lagoon and my boy wasn't even conceived yet that time. I think it's really about time to revisit Bintan with the water loving boy in tow.

The family adventure weekend promo is calling out my attention, haha!:D

Love looking at your beautiful photos. It always bring smile on my face. :)

Unknown said...

Sounds like a fun weekend getaway for the family. The last time we went there was when I was pregnant with Sophie. I remembered going on a fire fly tour and it was really beautiful seeing the swamps lit up with fire flies. Oh dear the hp died? Hubby was still trying to convince me to get that model because of its water proof function. What a bummer it must have been.

mail4rosey said...

That does sound like a fun trip. I'm sorry about the camera though, that would be a bummer. It's a shame it didn't hold up because the underwater picture shown here is great!

Ai Sakura said...

Masshole Mommy: It was! ;p

Jane: Oh no please don't. Invest in an underwater camera instead

CuteCoconut: no prob! you should go for a swim since it's so close by ;)

Alissa: Yup definitely a huge help and advantage of the place

Cherry: Check out the Family Adventure weekend. I think the kids campfire will be fun!

Susan: Oh yes they still had the fireflies tour when we were there. Sophie will like that. Yup the hp died. DON'T get it!!

Mail4rosey: It was. Hubby spent a lot of time during the trip trying to dry and fix it up.

Theresa Mahoney said...

What a really wonderful getaway! I am so jealous! We haven't been on a getaway in so long, we are way overdue.

I just LOVE that pic of Lil Pumpkin underwater. Such a great shot!

Serena Chua said...

I am a working mummy. Weekend is for me to spend quality time with my boy (a running toddler now). If I am lucky, I get some time to rest when he naps. I look forward to a staycation where i can have some "me time" while he is in good hands at kids club! This will be a luxury!

FB name: Serena Chua