THE RESORT AT BANYAN TREE BINTAN
Banyan Tree Bintan is just 45 minutes from Singapore (by high speed catamaran) and is a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Private villas make the most of terrific sea views looking across the South China Sea, many have private infinity pools and the resort has played host to luminaries such as Tony Blair and Kofi Annan.
Bintan was the second resort in the Banyan Tree portfolio to open its doors and remains true to the company’s ethos – with the same high standard of personalised service and authentic Asian spa experience.
Set amongst tropical gardens, you could hide away for a day or a week and not see anyone else. The resort has a beach, spa, fitness facilities and golf course on site. Whether it’s a wedding, honeymoon or a tropical spa escape, Banyan Tree has it all. With activities for nature lovers, the adventurous or lounge lizards, the resort caters to all tastes. The same can be said for the restaurants. Thai, Indonesian and contemporary western food, it’s all on the menu. Don’t miss the buffet breakfast at Treetops Restaurant and make sure you grab a seat outside on the terrace. Looking our across the sea, with the waves crashing below. Banyan Tree Bintan is a little slice of heaven.
Rarely do I comment just on the staff; however the team at Banyan Tree Bintan were exceptional. Engaging, enthusiastic and passionate about the brand and the work they do. Not simply in the day-to-day work of serving and assisting guests, but the whole range of activities the group works on. The seedlings project for instance, where they mentor local students from poorer backgrounds to inspire and engage to the marine conservation work helping to protect the coral and turtles. I was also proudly told that over the last four years the associates (staff) planted 49,000 trees on Bintan Island. It’s impressive stuff from passionate people.
The spa is situated just below Treetops Restaurant. It had single treatment rooms which can be adapted to couples rooms by the slide of a door. These are simple and effective and some have a view across the water and you can hear the sound of waves crashing below. For the wow factor ask for a spa villa which is, as the name suggests, a whole villa, converted into a spa treatment room.
Located high on the hill above the resort with the most magnificent views across the bay and tropical forest in the distance, the villas are spacious, with a large welcome area on the entry level and treatment room below. Decorated in dark woods and Asian artefacts, it creates a truly authentic look and feel and very typical of the Banyan Tree style.
After the 12 hour flight from London and the transfer from Singapore airport by high-speed catamaran (another 45 minutes), I was in desperate need of rejuvenation. So the Classic Rejuvenation Signature Treatment seemed like the perfect match. It includes a body scrub and massage – perfect.
First, you check in at the main spa building then take a short buggy ride up to the couples’ treatment villa. On arrival there’s a little welcome drink of lemongrass and lime, whilst the therapist gets under way with a foot scrub of green tea and honey. After this you are escorted downstairs to the treatment area which has floor to ceiling windows and views over the bay. It’s a big treatment room and there is a separate changing area, shower and even outdoor showers, ideal for the tropical climate.
And so it began, a full body coffee scrub using ground coffee and milk powder. This is showered off and followed by a Balinese massage – which is a deep tissue treatment with more definite powerful stokes. I liken it to a strong powerful massage that gets deep into the muscle but blends it with some softer strokes on the front of the body and stomach. A total body experience, and in tune with the location, I loved how the Javanese coffee provided a real sense of place in this Indonesian spa.
THE BEST BITS:
Coffee body scrub
Lemongrass and lime welcome drink
Swimming in the private pool villa
Learning about the marine conservation work at Banyan Tree Bintan
Fabulous Indonesian food in Treetops restaurant
ROOM TO IMPROVE:
A couple of the villas looked like they needed a little TLC from the outside. Re-thatching of the roof for instance. But my One bedroom Banyan Pool villa was perfect in every way.
Sea View Villa from: $485 US
One bedroom Banyan Pool Villa from: $755 US
Classic Rejuvenation Treatment – Renewed Vigour : $130 US