The Bintan Lagoon Resort experience

On December 29, 2011 by Mrs C

Check in.

We arrived at Bintan Lagoon Resort sometime past noon, however standard check-in time is at 3:00 PM. The lady we talked to at the Reception desk (she was nice, forgot her name) assured us that we will be given a room once one is available. In the meantime, we had lunch at Kopi-O Restaurant.

The reception desk

Having finished our lunch at around 1:30 PM, we inquired again. This time, we were attended to by a different lady, and this one was quite snappy. “No. Check in is at 3:00 PM.” I found her way of responding rather rude considering that her job description is to welcome guests to the resort.

And so left with no choice, Mr. C and I spend a good chunk of time hanging around at the main lobby. There was a huge elevated section with sofa sets in each corner. We picked one, and relied on our iPad to amuse us. The ceiling was high, but the air was still quite warm; although the lobby was open-air, it was quite dark,  and it had no electric fans either.

Our hangout while waiting for a room to be available.

With the iPad, we detected a secured wi-fi access point. I inquired with reception for the network key. As it turns out, wi-fi access was not for free.

Things were not looking good for Bintan Lagoon Resort.

The Room.

I inquired again at around 2:30PM, this time making sure to ask the same lady that served us the first time. She checked the system and then told us that they now have a room available for us: 5th floor, garden view.

Elevator / Lift

Passing through the lift lobby and then to the room halls, it reminded us a bit of the resorts in Laguna, Philippines. The lift lobby sure gave away that the resort has been standing for a long time. The staircases reminded me of my high school in Manila, and other mid-range housing complexes. The halls were open-air.

Room Corridors

The room interior, however, looked much better, more modern, as if recently renovated. I loved the room colors.

Our bed

We also had this elevated section with a few pillows, not sure what they were for. A daybed, perhaps? We didn’t use this space.

An elevated corner in the room. Not sure what this meant for. A day bed, perhaps?

Our TV was a CRT with a few local and cable channels, although some channels were grainy.

Our bathroom was spacious and modern. I love the huge, wide bathtub. It came with conditioned shampoo, bath gel, hand soap, and no toothpaste.

Our room's little terrace

We had a little terrace with a view, but “garden-view” was definitely misleading. We also didn’t use this space.

"Garden View". More like "hillside view"

Around the resort.

After settling in, Mr. C and I walked around the resort and checked out what it had to offer. We took the lift all the way down, and from there we found a path which led to the main swimming pool, and then further down it also leads to the beach.

The path from the rooms to the swimming pool and the beach

Along the way we saw a trail which looked interesting, but was closed off.

Closed trail/path. Such a shame, it sure looked interesting.

The swimming pool itself looked nice, not too crowded. However its daily operating hours are only up to 6PM, due to scheduled chemical cleaning.

Swimming Pool. Photo taken from rightmost side.

Foreground: Main Swimming Pool. Background: Main Lobby

At the foot of the pool, the path turned into stones which were quite tricky especially when wearing flip-flops. You cannot walk without looking out for your feet.

The rocky path

This path led past what seemed like a ferry terminal that was not operational, and walking further it led to the beach. We spotted two huts for beach massage, which we tried the next day.

A ferry terminal?

The beach itself was a nice stretch of fine sand. There was a net already set up for beach volleyball. There were also kayaks, jetskis, and other stuff. They offered a whole slew of other activities which they listed on their website.

The beach

I found this one interesting, it was my first time to see one: underwater scooters. The guy who was manning the water sports centre was nice enough to answer all my questions about it, and even told us that sometimes they put a clownfish inside the helmet. Seeing the photos of past customers sure got me excited about trying it out. Unfortunately, he explained that the strong waves will end up reducing my visibility underwater, and moreover their underwater camera was busted. So I guess that I’ll try it another day.

Underwater scooters

We went to find the Activity Centre to book a slot for archery. On the way there, we encountered a second swimming pool with a Zorb-like water ball.

Bridge on the way to the Activity Centre

Water ball

Food.

There were more than 5 restaurants inside the resort, but we experienced only 3 of them: Kopi-O Restaurant, The Terrace, and *the resto by the beach*.

For the most part we ate at Kopi-O restaurant because it was more value-for-money. The price for their buffet option was at par with ala-carte options in both Kopi-O itself as well as with their other restaurants.

Kopi-O Restaurant

They offered a culturally diverse menu, perhaps to cater also to their equally diverse guests. However, we didn’t really like the quality of the food. Heck, even the dimsum was bleh. Throughout the four meals that we had there,  we actually enjoyed only a handful of dishes.

Although the restaurant had a high ceiling, the space was actually rather dark, and the ambience was somber even during high noon.

In contrast, I loved the ambience at *the resto by the beach*. I loved how it was open and very casual. It was a nice place to hang out and just relax. The only downside, again, is a limited menu. It was great for some snacks and drinks.

Resto by the beach. Forgot its name.

The Terrace, too, had better ambience than Kopi-O. However this place is more of a cafe-lounge rather than a restaurant. This is where we spent time after check-out, to have snacks and watch some football while waiting for our  shuttle bus to the ferry terminal.

Overall, I wasn’t very satisfied with the dining options in Bintan Lagoon. I find that dining here is more expensive than dining in nice restaurants in Singapore, I felt that we had too few options, and that the quality of the food wasn’t so great.

Activities.

Bintan Lagoon Resort offers a huge array of activities. Due to our short stay, we were only able to try two things: archery and beach massage.

Archery was a cheap option — just a little over 10 SGD for 20 arrows. Following instructions, we arrived at the Activity Centre 15 minutes before our schedule. However, our pick-up guy didn’t arrive until ~10 minutes past our schedule, so we had to wait around for a while. When the guy finally arrived, he got us up on a golf cart and drove us a short distance up near the golf course. Here was the golf driving range and the archery field, side by side.

The pick-up guy also turned out to be our instructor. He gave us a quick run-down of how to do load arrows correctly, how to shoot them, and the Dont’s to avoid any mishaps.

Shooting arrows

Normally 20 arrows would be just enough for a beginner’s first session. By the end of it your arms will start to ache. However, being competitive as I was, I cannot accept that I suck at this thing, so I did another 20 arrows in the hopes that I’d improve. I thoroughly enjoyed it, I want to get better at it, and I’d definitely do it again.

Beach massage

The beach massage was a wonderful way to get re-energized after the archery session. Not only was it cheaper than the house spa, but the ambiance was super relaxing too. I almost fell asleep listening to the sound of the waves.

The Verdict.

Pros: It is very near to Singapore (only 1 hour travel time), very accessible, and there are lots of vouchers available for this destination. They also offer a huge array of activities, although there are some activities that can be done at home (ex: table tennis, board games, etc.).

Cons: Some not so nice staff, limited and expensive food choices, limited swimming hours, no free internet access.

If people asked, how was your trip to Bintan? I’d say, It was OK. If people asked, would I go there again? The answer: maybe not. I feel that it is a little bit too pricey for the value it offers. If we do decide to go back to Bintan, maybe we will try a different resort.

One Response to “The Bintan Lagoon Resort experience”

  • I already visited the Bintan Lagoon Resort. The place is good enough to take some rest. They allowed us to check in at around 11:50am. The beach is quite good, though Philippine beaches are a lot better. It was a red flag, so no swimming was allowed or swim at your own risk. In search for something to do, we tried the archery. I enjoyed it so much.

    Food is a little bit pricey, so if you are on the budget and not willing to spend mcuh for the food,I would suggest to bring some snacks and drinks from singapore. There is a 7 eleven at the Tanah Mera Ferry terminal, you would want to bring some beers or wine. There is a buffet breakfast though.

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