Banyan Tree Bintan
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TravelPod Member ReviewsDoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cariari San Jose San Antonio De Belen
Ein toller Ort für ruhige Tage
Mit viel Luxus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
Historical Traveler Reviews DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cariari San Jose San Antonio De Belen
Not what I expected
My wife and I spent 6 nights in a sea front villa. The room was large and well equipped but was showing its age as was the bathroom.The balcony was large with a jacuzzi and good views over the bay and sea but again was showing its age with rotting wood and cracks in the jacuzzi.We had to go everywhere by a golfing buggy as we were so far away from the restaurants and it was far too hot to walk there.We were not prepared for the mostquitoes that were everywhere and consequently were eaten alive.We were not alone at night as there were several small lizards running around the walls all night squeeking to each other.Everything is priced in US dollars and was very expensive.On the plus side the breakfasts were good however the other meals were adequate but pricey.There is not a lot to see on the Island, the shopping areas can only be accessed by bus or taxi and once you got there they charged tourist prices.The staff were very efficient and friendly.The Banyan Tree is probably fine for a honeymoon couple stayin for 2 or 3 nights, anything longer is too much.On the beach at this time of year there are sandflies to contend with,again this is not mentioned in the brochure.
My partner and I LOVED this place. We have both lived in Asia for a while now and whilst a bit disappointed at the "Western prices" attached to the resort, were not surprised when you consider that the spa is not meant for Indonesian patrons but rather wealthy Western and Singaporeans. Compared to comparable establishments, we thought this was TREMENDOUS value for money!! (One trick- when you get off the ferry stop at one of the little vendors at the arrivals area and load up on can sodas and snacks. This is a little trick that works well throughout Asia!)
Upon arrival we were treated to a wonderful ginger iced tea and thorough explanation of the premises and spa by the very attentive staff. And as an added bonus- we were upgraded free to a Villa on the Rocks! WOW! Considering we had managed to find ourselves a package for the weekend including room, breakfast, ferry and land transfer AND ALL TAXES for about $350US each- this was the icing on the cake! The staff were AMAZING, kind and helpful and very international. Whilst the villa itself was showing a teeny bit of wear and tear, we were not at all disappointed for the overall experience. It was incredibly romantic, the SPA was heaven (we had a couples treatment at one of the private bungalows up at the top of the hill overlooking the harbor), and we loved our villa- preferring not to leave it one morning but just running around nekkid in the privacy of our walled in deck with jacuzzi above the rocks and ocean crashing below. With opening all the windows of the villa we were treated to something out of a movie- magical breezes billowing through our villa while the complimentary incense and oil burned gentle fragrance into the air. We didn't want to leave!
Additionally we were pleasantly surprised at the wide assortment of food options on the premises- there are 3 restaurants and the room services menu is pretty much that of the restaurant. In villa dining is also available- so you really never have to leave your room! We actually thought that apart from the beverages, the food prices were quite reasonable for a spa resort- about $10US for a hearty sandwich and $25-50 for dinner entrees. We were very pleased with all our food selections from the traditional Indonesian dishes such as Nasi Goreng to the surprisingly good beef burgers! For a truly romantic experience go to the Saffron restaurant one evening. After dinner we went for a moonlit stroll down on the beach- we were the only ones there!
This is really a very romantic place- the villas are all spread out in a community that is serviced by a road only open to the electric powered gold carts that the staff use. Some villas are facing the ocean, some on the rocks and some facing the harbor. The villa itself was extremely spacious with a king sized bed, a sofa sunk into the window overlooking the ocean, a huge bathroom with his and her sinks and an open shower with full view of the ocean as well, ceiling fan, reading materials, tv and VCR, mini bar and multiple options for lighting around the villa- inside and out. To put it in perspective, my partner and I were asked about a dozen times if we were on our honeymoon- that is the kind of place this is. It is easily accessible and a wonderful getaway for those living in Asia as it is a mere 1 hr ferry ride away from Singapore. It is the perfect romantic getaway! Try to look for a package deal on-line as otherwise it could be quite pricey.
Not What I expected.....
Having arrived at the Banyan Tree Bintan I was expecting the best of everything. The lobby was filled with guests checking in and luggage was piled up on the side. We had to wait 30 min to go through all the processes. The Room - Villa on the Rocks was definately showing it's age with rotted wood and the jacuzi not very hot (mildly warm). Tons of bats at night by the room entrance. The beach was very ruff during this time of year and a red flag was posted every day so you couldn't swim. The pool was nice but no WOW factor was there. Everything you did had a charge attached to it. Nice to do once for a short visit.
Relaxing Resort for a Great Romantic Getaway
Stayed here for 2 nights over a wkend in late November. It was monsoon season, so weather was not too nice. It didn't rain, but it was windy and a bit chilly.
The boat ride from Singapore took about an hour. After immigration, we were greeted by the hotel staff, who sent us to a private car to the hotel. The ride was another 15-20 minutes, and it wasn't free!
Upon arrival at the hotel, we were seated in the lobby area and were served some lemongrass tea while we checked-in. The library was right next to the lobby, and they have free wireless internet there, and you can also rent DVDs from there for free (there's a DVD player in each villa). They have a relatively recent collection of movies.
We were taken to our seafront jacuzzi villa by the buggie. You can walk around the resort too, but some roads are kinda steep, so it requires a bit of exercise going up the hill. But sometimes when you call a buggie, it might not arrive as quickly as you hope.
The villa was bigger than what I was expecting, especially the toilet/shower room. The bed (surrounded by mosquito net) looks out to the balcony and the sea beyond. It was very relaxing. The toilet and shower/bath were in one room while the sink was in another. The sunken bathtub was quite big, and the bathroom amenities were great -- shampoo, conditioner, body soap, lotion, toothbrush/paste, shower cap, hairdryer, etc ... and even insect repellent lotion. There weren't many bugs in our room, but we did close our doors quickly to avoid anything from coming in.
The jacuzzi is located at the edge of the balcony, and it's a good size for two people. Since it was a little chilly, the water in the jacuzzi didn't seem to be warm enough even though we did heat it up for a while.
Food at the hotel was fantastic. We tried the in-villa BBQ as well as Saffron, the Cove, and Treetops. We would have tried the tasting menu at Saffron if we had more time that night, but we had to rush off to the spa.
The spa CANNOT be missed at the Banyan Tree! The service was excellent, and the atmosphere was very nice! We had a 2-hour spa session that was held inside a spa pavillion - a private villa with two massage beds and a steaming room on the bottom floor. The unblocked view of the bay from the spa pavillion was breath-taking. Actually the bay side was much more calm than the sea side due to the wind direction.
Almost everything at the hotel was quoted in either SGD or USD. But if you settle your bill by credit card, they would have to convert the amount back to Indonesian Rupee (at a less favorable rate) and your credit card company would take a cut too, so just be prepared.
Although I must admit the interior of the villa did seem a little old, I was very happy with my stay at the Banyan Tree Bintan. From its service to food to facilities, everything was very well done. One down side may be there's not a whole lot to do in Bintan, so you can just relax at the resort or play some golf nearby.
Great, but come prepared with deep pockets
The pampering starts the moment you arrive at the newly constructed jetty, sparing you the hassle of mixing with the locals (God forbid!). You are whisked away past a gated entrance into the Banyan Tree resort.
We stayed in one of the Seafront villas, perched on a hillside with a wonderful ocean view. The villas are almost 10 years old, and while in excellent condition, certainly shows its age.
Ever smiling hotel staff oblige your every request, making sure you don;t need to break into a sweat by trudging thru the undulating terrain. Instead they whisk you to your destination on golf cart "buggies".
The giftshops entice you to bring back part of the Banyan Tree lifestyle home, selling the usual new agey knick knacks, which are admittedly quite well made.
Restaurants charge in US$, while seemingly benign for the world traveller, is absurb in the local context... your in villa BBQ costs approximately the average monthly wage of the people who live here. That being said, the food was excellent. You do get what you pay for.
If you crave isolation from the harsh realities of South East Asian travel and desire to be coddled in a somewhat ersatz environment, this is the place. If you want to see the people who liev/work on the island (Tanjung Pinang), its a US$60 round trip by taxi. There are certainly more authentic options.
To each his own.
Paying for The Banyan Tree
I stayed at the Banyan Tree expecting luxury, location and relaxation and must admit that it mostly met expectations.
The location is excellent although, as is the way of Bintan, once you are through the security gates there is nothing else around. The beach is very nice and the hotel pools good.
The rooms, we stayed in a bayfront jacuzzi villa, are lovely, well equipped and well positioned.
The food in the resaurants is also very good and the buffet breakfast is not to be missed.
However, there were a few things that I was not impressd with, namely:-
1. Banyan Tree charges for virtually everything, from breakfast (at US$24 each),to any activities to ferry pick up to taking you to the only shops within a 15 minute drive! Even a spectator at the golf course next door has to pay if they want to watch you play!
2. We only had our room turned down once in 4 nights.
3. The bill included one item charged twice and one item completely incorrectly charged.
Thus whilst the quality of the hotel is not in doubt I do think that Banyan Tree has the worst value for money I know and it is a shame that they do not offer more for the customer. Definately a place to stay if money is no option!
The Banyan Tree, Bintan far exceeded our expectations. Getting to Bintan from Singapore was easy.
We stayed in a Bayfront Jacuzzi Villa for 7 nights and then got upgraded to a Sea view pool villa for the last 2 nights.
The 1st room was amazing, the attention to detail was brilliant, like providing foot wear for the beach. The pool villa was like movie star luxury, it was amazing.
The staff were wonderful and so helpful and friendly.
The spa treatments were wonderful and Saffron and Treetop served excellent food. We had an in villa b-b-q which was equally good.
We also did a jet ski tour of the bintan resort which is well worth doing.
I do not know why this is rated number 3 because this is the most amazing place we have ever stayed in, and as it was our honeymoon it was perfect.
The only downside to the whole stay was leaving!!
Worthwile Returning To
It's our 3rd time at the Banyan Tree and we stayed in the jacuzzi villa by the sea-again.
The villas provide:
1.Absolute privacy- and no one else can see into the villa or into the open jacuzzi deck.
2.A perfect view of the sunset from the bedroom, bathroom and jacuzzi with wall to ceiling windows.
3.Proximity to nature- wake up to the sound of birds, the soft sound of waves against the rocks just below your villa,squirrels chasing each other up the trees just outside your windows.
4.A bathroom that other resorts should emulate with a comfy sunken tub big enough for 2 to lounge in, right next to the windows with a view of the sea.
The spa is excellent, and I'm proud to say we achieved that dreamy trance state that comes after a realllllly good treatment.
The food has improved too....The Saffron Restaurant has a good choice of well-executed asian cuisine with a hint of fusion, in addition to the traditional Thai and Southeast Asian Dishes. It's also possible to dine well in your villa-the room service menu is pretty good.
I had a 3 day 2 night trip to Banyan tree with my boyfriend and we could not fault the service or the facilities, we didn't leave the resort because it was so relaxing with lovely pools and sandy beach.
The staff are extremely friendly and accommodating to cater for your every need and our villa very well equipped and laid out such that we felt like the only couple on the island when sat in our jacuzzi looking out to sea!
The buffet breakfast was exceptional, the best of any hotel that we have yet stayed in, with a wide variety of foods, juices and even champagne!
The only downside is the meals of the restaurants onsite, which were at a premium. Saffron, the restaurant for dinner and Indonesian/Thai food, was excellent in terms of choice and service, and reasonably priced, however the Cove and Treetops for lunch or all day snacks were slightly overpriced. However, the compensating factor at Treetops was that when reclining by the pool you were looked after by the attendant who provided water and also mid afternoon either ice cream or fresh fruit!
We did enjy our spa treatment of bodyscrub and massage and indeed there were a wide variety of teratments availbale.
All in all a fantastic experience and one which has left us commenting that our subsequent hotel, "isn't like Banyan!"
Honeymoon March 2004
Banyan Tree has a great reputation and I must say the staff were all very friendly and helpful. The spa is excellent. Bintan is an island and all the luxury resorts are in a controlled tourism zone or some such. You pass through armed check points whenever you leave the zone.
We flew into singapore and took a ferry there. March is typhoon season in that area of the world and both the wife and i got seasick from the violent waves on the way to island. the ride is relatively short approx 45 minutes but seemed much longer. We dreaded the thought of riding back and checked into flights. none practical. the only flights from island are to the indonesian capitol and then to singapore from there. the weather was much better on the trip back and it was smooth ride back.
bintan lacks naturally clean beaches and most of the coast is rocky. they do have a small beach that they maintain near the banyan tree.
the one downside is if you are an active couple the hotel staff wasn't very helpful with finding things to do and we ended up researching everything in the little shopping town. i guess most of their guests just hang out and relax or golf.
oh, and did i mention the spa and massage were excellent the wife and both had a couple of treatments there.
restaurants in the banyan tree were great. good variety food. all excellent. yes, even the pizza met my extremely high expectations.
for anything exciting must go off resort. most unique thing we did was a swim with the dolphins near bantan. really great experience. there was also a really nice more beachy resort area that is supposed to be like the beach at bali where we ended up doing jetski, canoe, parasail, and windsurfing.
they are not used to tourists with equipment from U.S. and i could not recharge my video camera.
TripAdvisor Reviews DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cariari San Jose San Antonio De Belen
Travel Blogs from Bintan
Dear firdaus, I can only tap your shoulder and keep telling you to be strong. She said she want to get enggage? Anybody can? Is she lost her mind? Did she really think this is a game? We are talking about life and future for god sake! Fir... I know you ...
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