3 people found this review helpful My excellent travel agent (Tailormade Travel - highly recommended) booked me a couple of nights's stopover at Bintan Lagoon Resort on a return flight from New Zealand. I like comfort and when I eventually got round to reading the Tripadvisor reviews about this hotel, I was filled with the dread that three days of horror awaited me at this resort.
Well, I need not have worried, Tailormade Travel had not let me down and three happy days lay ahead of me. The trip by ferry to Bintan did not take long at all, we easily passed through Indonesian Immigration and the beautifully air-conditioned coach belonging to the hotel was waiting to pick up its new batch of guests.
There was a delightful greeting on arrival along with a welcome drink for everyone and reception efficiently and politely dealt with checking in. My 'deluxe sea-view' room was very pleasing and beautifully decorated and spacious with a roomy bathroom complete with a good deep bath which I was glad to make use of after my long journey from Wellington.
It's true that there was evidence of the need for some redecorating in the bathroom but that was only of a minor nature. I was able to make some tea with the equipment in my room and there was a good sized television if I wanted to watch it (although it took me most of the first afternoon to locate where the remote control had been placed - on the table on the side of the bed I was not going to use!).
I went to look at the numerous restaurants and had a nice lunch at a price no greater than most places of this standard. After a nice sleep on my rather hard but actually comfortable bed, I had a wander around the marvellous gardens and visited the lovely beach (not dirty at all unlike the experience of one of Tripadvisor's recent reporters).
The safe areas to swim are well marked out and if you prefer to swim in a pool there are two large pools to accommodate you. I was rapidly entering the state of relaxation that this lovely place is clearly meant to induce and by my evening meal which I had at the beach restaurant I had effectively entered a stage of a high degree of contentment.
It was wonderful to sit in the evening darkness at my table at the edge of the beach, having consumed a beautifully made Singapore Sling (no doubt that was contributing to my contentment), with the warm breeze blowing and the excellent waiting staff keen to give good service.
The restaurant was certainly trying to set up a fine dining experience for its guests though I must go along with some of the other Tripadvisor reporters and confess that they have not yet really achieved their goal.
An amuse bouche was offered and consisted of a prawn with a little Marie rose sauce on a square of white bread which did not result in my bouche being very amused. To start I had three very nicely presented, if rather small, seared scallops with a type of fish roe and coconut rice that gave them a good flavour and for the main course thought I might have the crab dish that was for sale at S$20 per 100g but when I enquired how much was likely to be served (300 - 350 g - that is - $60-$80 worth) I thought better of it and chose the red snapper served with vegetables and a choice of rice or potatoes. It was alright but hardly delicious, the fish being on the edge of being overcooked and the garlic rice also rather dry and so I concluded that the catering has a way to go yet before it can be described as fine dining.
Still, the price was not unreasonable even if the chef had not achieved the heights he may have been hoping for and I remained content and went back to my marvellous bedroom and had a good, quiet and comfortable night's sleep.
One reviewer has moaned about the breakfast. The breakfast is excellent with a great deal of choice aimed at suiting western tastes as well as those of the hotel's oriental and south Asian customers. So, I conclude that this is a fine place to go to and relax. I do not think it's any more expensive than you would expect. It is very beautiful and has a fine range of activities to participate in if, unlike me, you want to do anything more than loaf around.
I would not hesitate to go back again but, like all these places you need to be realistic and know that you will end up spending a decent sum of money there. Of course it isn't perfect and some of the other resorts on the island may be better (I wouldn't know) but there are so many things going on there and it does provide you with a lovely place to relax for a few days that I could not feel it right to give it less than five Tripadvisor spots. Don't be put off by the Tripadvisor moaners.
Stayed February 2012, traveled solo
Editor's note: A good hotel in the center of Bintan Island, close to any public facilities. Well-Recommended.