These days with air travel getting seemingly cheaper and cheaper, it’s understandable that there are still Singaporeans who have never set foot in Bintan (yes, I’m just as shocked). But there’s really no reason not to check it out though, given that the resort offerings there have just gotten better!
Cassia Bintan is novel in that it offers the choice for larger groups to come stay in apartment-styled rooms, some even with loft options.
As the latest property in the Laguna Bintan integrated complex, these beautifully-designed accommodations will make guests feel like they’re living in their second home, right by the beach. The best part is that it’s only a 45-minute ferry ride away!
The beachfront rooms (starting from US$180++ per night, approx. S$238) are modern and bright, flanked by intricately-designed artworks by Indonesian artist, Adi Dharma. The teal theme complements the blue hues of the waters that lap right outside your balcony.
Needles to say, I was most won over by the bedroom, which was cosy and inviting. I instantly wished I had a similar set-up in my bedroom at home.
The mattress was firm, with the pillows having just the right amount of “fluffiness”, so that your head is sufficiently well-supported and comfortably cradled when lying down.
The bathroom is admittedly a little squeezy and basic, but given the limited space, it was still very functional and left me satisfied during the two-day stay.
Stepping out onto the balcony, I was greeted by the refreshing scent of salt and sand — the best kind of scent, if you ask me. My dream home has always been a beach house, so this was a nice glimpse into what that would be like.
Every apartment also has its own kitchenette, enabling guests to prepare their own meals. This is quite appealing for families or large groups as they have the option of bringing over their favourite foods to cook (since travelling to Bintan is convenient).
My only gripe is that, the set-up was too basic; there were no seasonings at all or dishwashing liquid and cloths should guests make a mess and want to clean up.
I was also shown the loft apartments, which are all located on the ground floor. These beachfront rooms have only just opened up, so there was still some landscaping work being done nearby.
Nonetheless, the loft rooms offer both one- and two-bedroom living arrangements, for a total of a four-person occupancy.
The loft area has ample room for four to six people to hang out and chill, making it a tempting spot for your friends or family members from other rooms to come kaypoh and annoy you.
If you’re at a loss as to what to do, or where to start your vacation, Cassia Bintan also provides these extremely colourful, handy guides that break down its entire activity listing. There’s even assistance provided in recipe recommendations, should you lack culinary inspiration.
Cassia Bintan’s beachfront definitely impressed me, considering that I’m absolutely all about being a beach bum.
However, for the restless and thrill seekers, you’ll be glad to know that the resort also offers water activities such as snorkelling (IDR96,000 per hour, approx. S$9.20), jet skiing (from IDR443,000 for 15 minutes, approx. S$42.20), kayaking (IDR183,000 per hour, approx. S$17.40) and paddle boarding (IDR183,000 per hour, approx. S$17.40).
Those who are more keen on land-based activities, you’re not forgotten! They also have ATVs and mini cars for rent starting from IDR443,000 (approx. S$42.20) per person and IDR964,000 (approx. S$91.80) for 30 minutes, respectively.
A fan of Mother Nature? Sign up for one of the daily guided tours that takes guests through the lush forests of Bintan, pointing out what critters to look out for and highlighting the flora that are indigenous to the area, like this adorable Woolly Alder Aphid that my guide spotted!
Bird-watching guided tours are also available for those interested in catching a glimpse of our feathered friends. Depending on the season, they also hold conservation-related activities like releasing baby turtles into the sea, which is a very popular activity that apparently many guests specifically plan their stay around.
Alternatively, if you’re in Bintan strictly for some much-needed relaxation, you can always hop on over to the neighbouring Angsana premises and head to Angsana Spa to indulge in any one of their signature massages and scrubs that’ll leave you feeling rejuvenated.
I went in for a 60-minute Javanese massage (IDR850,ooo, approx. S$81) and I was at the mercy of a demure, yet powerful local lady who could, I bet, crush an apple with her brute finger strength. She found every kink and kneaded the knots that needed tending to; no doubt, these professionals are adept.
The dining options here are varied. One of the options I had a chance to try was the Beachfront DIY BBQ Dinner. Guests can rent a BBQ pit (IDR150,000 per day, including charcoal, approx. S$14.30) if they stay in one of the loft rooms and pick their choice of produce from the on-site mini mart, Market 23.
The mini mart stocks basic ingredients and snacks, as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Guests also have the choice of buying ingredients for mookata and steamboat, as appliances for both dining options are available.
The BBQ evening was quite eventful, given that the group had to improvise with the lack of seasonings. We eventually used the accompanying sauces as marinade and everything turned out pretty alright, given our limited resources.
Destination Dining is a concept ideal for those looking to add an element of romance or provide a scenic dining background for bigger groups.
Such a special set-up includes one that is located on the Laguna Bintan golf course, specifically on the turf with hole 17. Aptly named Dinner On 17, dinner will be served to guests as they witness the glowing sunset on the horizon.
Not keen to stay in and bother yourself with cooking? Then Xana Beach Club is a great alternative! With a spacious deck that sits right on the beach, enjoy a drink or two before heading over to the grill buffet that takes place every weekend (I highly recommend going for the grilled pineapples; they are out of this world!). A DJ spins till late, so you can while the evening away on your well-deserved vacation.
In conjunction with the opening of the beachfront residences, Cassia Bintan is also holding monthly pool parties called Get Wet At Cassia, which will see Xana Beach Club transform into a lively venue for sun lovers while resident DJ, DikaMello, spins the latest and catchiest tracks.
Breakfast, my favourite meal of the day, was adequately catered to with the line-up of fresh fruits, cereals, an egg station, bread and even an Asian section (with congee and noodles).
Cassia Bintan only holds the breakfast buffet in the lobby area on weekends; on other days, guests simply take a short three-minute walk to Angsana and start off their day with a delectable spread at Lotus Cafe.
My weekend stay at Cassia Bintan was both relaxing and fulfilling. I say fulfilling because I love vacations where I can have a balance of both lazing on the beach as well as exploring nature trails — and here, I got both!
The beachfront room was really a gem to stay at, given that I could constantly hear the waves whenever I was relaxing in my room, and it was truly soothing to me.
With a myriad of dining and activity options, this resort is not only accessible to Singaporeans who love weekend getaways, but it also caters to both couples and larger groups.
Need one more reason to book a room soon? From now till 20 December 2018, Cassia Bintan is offering 30% off the beachfront apartment rates, inclusive of daily breakfast and return transfers from Bandar Bentan Telani. This promotion is only available for bookings until 31 May 2018, so get clicking!
Price: US$120 – US$320 per night (approx. S$158 – S$423)