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Idyllic getaway at The Residence Bintan

Luxuriously nestled in the south of Bintan, The Residence Bintan, just opened last February, one hour ferry ride from the Tanah Merah ferry terminal, Singapore and another hour by land transfer.

A luxurious island escape away from Singapore

Luxuriously nestled in the south of Bintan, The Residence Bintan, just opened last February, one hour ferry ride from the Tanah Merah ferry terminal, Singapore and another hour by land transfer. Upon arrival at Bintan Ferry Terminal, the hotel staff whisks you away to the resort car, offering you mineral water, cold, lemongrass-scented towels and cookies for the ride to the resort. Combined with thoughtful service, a plethora of activities, luxuriously appointed rooms, and rejuvenating spa treatments, the resort provides a wonderful weekend getaway from the bustle of Singapore.

Beachfront Villa
Beachfront Villa

INSTAGRAMMABLE LUXURY

The Residence Bintan’s 127 villas feature decorative stone walls, high ceilings and expansive balconies. The resort has six different room types, all with spacious bathtubs, wireless Internet access and Nespresso coffee machines. Their largest, a two-bedroom beachfront villa, can sleep six, and features its own private pool spanning the length of the villa, great for families or large groups. Villa 314 of the Estate Villas offers the best panoramic views of the sea and the horizon—the perfect Instagrammable spot for your daily fashion selfies. Guests at the Estate Villas will enjoy their own butler and  complimentary minibar, which will be restocked once during their stay.

Jet skiing is just one of the many activities guests can enjoy at the resort
Jet skiing is just one of the many activities guests can enjoy at the resort

ENJOYABLE DIVERSIONS

Aside from lounging in style at the pool—whether in-villa or at the main infinity pool —The Residence Bintan also offers guests myriad other activities. These include a firefly mangrove tour, an all-terrain guided vehicle ride through the jungle, snorkelling at Mapur or Kawal Berakit to see clown fish, sea urchin and sea turtles which are also being bred and conserved at the resort. For the more adventurous, spend time on an obstacle course, climb the rock wall, and take a mountain trek to take in stunning island views.

Try the Hi-element obstacle course that includes tandem cycling on a tightrope
Try the Hi-element obstacle course that includes tandem cycling on a tightrope

Immerse yourself in a variety of cultural day tours outside the resort, from a trip to the Chinese village of Senggerang on the southwestern coast, or to Sea Gypsy Village to experience the local atmosphere. Visit Pasar Ikan fish market and try Nasi Padang at Restoran Sederhana, where you’ll be treated to platefuls of various regional specialities.

The serene reception area at ila Spa
The serene reception area at ila Spa

BLISSFUL INDULGENCE AND PLAYFULNESS

After a day out, reinvigorate at the Spa by ila founded by Denise Leicester, who once nursed a certain UAE ruler back to health. Her treatments feature organic essential oils, handmade and blended in the barns at Cotswold, chosen for their potency and purity and ethically sourced from local tribes around the world, many women-led. Natalie Portman and Gwyneth  Paltrow are fans of the spa brand.

The living area of the Beachfront Villa
The living area of the Beachfront Villa

The treatments are divided into four categories, namely, Be Still, Be Happy, Be Vital and Be Free, that includes a range of massages, body scrubs, facials, and healing rituals. We recommend the week-long programme to go on a journey through each decadent experience. The Prana Vitality massage found me drifting off to sleep, and massages rarely cast that kind of spell over me. Afterwards, my skilled therapist encouraged me to take even more time after the massage to relax or sleep, only leaving my private treatment room when I felt ready.

Enjoy amazing food at The Residence Bintan, like this Tuna & Scallop Tataki salad
Enjoy amazing food at The Residence Bintan, like this Tuna & Scallop Tataki salad

Those travelling with young ones will love the Kids’ Club, where children can pick up basic Bahasa Indonesian phrases, learn the local dance, make batik prints or paint birdhouses. Parents can join their children in tie-dying or cooking classes.

The Kids Club, where children can hide away in their own teepees

CULINARY TRADITIONS WITH A TWIST

The resort’s signature restaurant Rica Rica serves up a modern twist to classic Indonesian dishes, such as lobster gado gado and Wagyu beef rendang. The Dining Room offers Western and Asian dishes such as tuna niçoise salad and black pepper king prawns served on a bed of bok choy, while their beef satay was so good we ate several sticks. Fresh juices, cocktails and light bites are available at the Pool Bar, and for special occasions, it’s possible to get a renowned mixologist like Julian Serna, Managing Director of Panamericana in Sentosa Golf  Club, to create his signature drinks like Grown Up Fanta, Champagne, and Absinth Colada. The kitchen uses fresh, locally-sourced produce along with organic herbs and vegetables from the resort’s own gardens.

Recline on the loungers at the main in nity pool
The main reception area leading to an outdoor space perfect for morning yoga
The main reception area leading to an outdoor space perfect for morning yoga

Intimate, private dining options include in-villa barbecue, where your personal chef prepares a glorious spread of perfectly grilled meats and seafood, featuring dishes like fish satay and grilled lobster. Otherwise, head to a secluded spot on the beach or in the gardens for a lovely candlelit dinner, where your personal chef and butler will see to your unforgettable evening. cenizaro.com/theresidence/bintan

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© This article was first published in Aug-Sept 2018 edition of World Travel Magazine.

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