Banyan Tree has always been synonymous with sanctuary, romance, awe-inspiring and sustainability. Just a quick 45-minute ferry ride from Singapore Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, Banyan Tree Bintan (BTB) is one of the earliest award-winning homegrown resorts. I snapped up a good deal from Accor and booked the property for 2 nights in March. My stay was during the pre-COVID, a few days before the travel restrictions kicked in.
Bintan Resort Ferries is the only ferry operator to Bandar Bintan Telani Ferry Terminal. If you have extra cash on hand, I would recommend booking the Emerald Class (approx S$50 one way), especially if you are travelling on the weekends. You will definitely save time at immigration both ways.
Emerald Class Benefits
- Check-in baggage allowance of 30kg and priority baggage handling on arrival
- Seat assignment
- Priority boarding and disembarkation
- Complimentary onboard beverages
- Use of lounge facilities at both terminal
- Fast-track immigration at Bintan
Tips: If you planing to have your luggage checked in, please expect some waiting time at Bintan Ferry Terminal because all luggage will only be unloaded once all passengers has disembarked the ferry.
Refreshing iced ginger tea and cold towel were served while chilling at the open air lobby.
Unlike Angsana or Cassia, BTB does not provide a free shuttle. I have to arrange with BTB a 2-way private land transfer for IDR 350,000 nett for a 15-min journey to the resort. Upon arrival, I was greeted by the staff with smiles all around followed by sounding the Gong my arrival at the resort. I was offered a glass of iced ginger tea and a cold towel while check-in formalities were done.
Tips: Book the later ferry timing if you do not want to spend time waiting for your villa to be ready. I took the 11am ferry and the villa could only be ready at 2pm.
The buggy service is just one call away to transport you throughout the property. My villa was located on a higher side of the hill, further from the lobby. You may prefer to walk along the pathway and enjoy the scenic view if your villa is near the facilities.
Oceanview Infinity Pool Villa
Villa Kedidi #402
There are 64 villas built in traditional Balinese design with thatched roofs and swing-open wooden doors with 5 types of villas; Seaview, Oceanfront, Villa on the Rock and one or two Infinity Pool Villa. Each villa is named after a tree, flower or animal. I stayed in a 1 bedroom Oceanview Infinity Pool Villa called “Kedidi” (Sandpiper bird) that sits high on a secluded hill surrounded by the lush rainforest.
Tips: Request for a villa located on the hilltop for better privacy.
Outdoor Living Area
The villa completely blew me away; spacious low-platform relaxing area facing spectacular views of the South China Sea. The rainforest setting also provides many opportunities to spot wildlife, making it impossible for the villa to stay bug-free. I would not recommend consuming any food in the living area. I have spotted ants, termites and occasionally monitor lizard making a pitstop at the villa. Don’t be surprised if you spot fruit bats hanging on the ceiling at night!
The villa consists of 1 bedroom, well-appointed with earthy tones and marble flooring. Taking the centre stage is the signature teakwood King-sized four-poster bed with flowy white drapes, which acts as a mosquito netting. The 50 inch smart TV is compatible with Netflix app; a plus point to catch up with Netflix series.
Welcome fruit basket and complimentary cake
Wardrobe and in-room safe
The bathroom seems outdated but well maintained.
Rainfall shower and Banyan Tree bathroom amenities
In my opinion, the outdoor sunken bath doesn’t look inviting to me.
The other room is a mirror image of the bedroom but comes with 2 daybeds. The room is actually nice and cosy if you want a change of view, take a nap or do some reading.
The pantry is meant for preparing light meal. Remember to bring along loads of snacks and drinks (especially bottled water) from Singapore.
Private Infinity Pool and View
The villa is all about infinity. The infinity pool is the focal point as you enter the villa. Not forgetting the stunning panoramic views of the lush rainforest and ocean. Exclusively for Pool Villas, you can choose to indulge in the signature floating breakfast at your very own private pool.
Choose your favourite corner to wind down.
The best spot to witness the beautiful sunset with exceptional privacy.
Dinner at Saffron
I had craving for Thai cuisine and the resident fine-dining Thai restaurant, Saffron, is the perfect choice for dinner. Reservation is mandatory especially over the weekends.
Turn-down service was offered every night. Housekeeping will set the mosquito netting down, lighting the oil burner and incense, completely transforming the mood before turning in.
Tips: Keep the door closed at all times to prevent bugs from entering the room.
Breakfast at Treetops
Treetops Restaurant serves western and contemporary breakfast. Take your full plate to the outdoor dining area to take in gorgeous sea views.
Rock Edge Pool
If you can’t get enough of your private pool, the rock edge pool is located near the Treetops.
Dinner at Treetops
On the second night, I had a sumptuous dinner at Treetops. This is where you can find a slice of authentic Indonesian food. You have outdoor or indoor dining options, but I choose the latter. During the weekend, the live band will accompany you throughout the night.
Another go-to pool is just 200m away from the beach. This pool and use of sun loungers are reserved for Banyan Tree’s guests.
The beautiful white-sand beach, shared with the neighbouring Angsana and Cassia hotel, offers eco-conservation activities and a Marine Centre with a variety of water sports. If you are lucky, you can participate in the seasonal baby turtle releases at the beach. Banyan Tree guests can also use the gym and pool facilities at Angsana.
As part of Accor Gold benefits, I was offered a late check-out till 4.00pm to make full use of my stay since I had a late ferry back to Singapore. Regardless if you are taking the Emerald or Standard ferry class, the staff will go an extra mile to collect your ferry tickets before you leave the resort. Soon after, I bid farewell to Banyan Tree and off to the terminal to catch the ferry back to Singapore.
Bintan Executive Lounge
Bintan Ferry Terminal Lounge
Bintan Executive Lounge is located next to the main terminal building, exclusively for Emerald Class passengers. I like that you do not have to queue for immigration at Bintan; the staff will stamp your passport at the comfort of your seat.
In a Nutshell
Banyan Tree Bintan is truly a sanctuary getaway for family and couples. The villa is a bit outdated (the last refurbishment was in 2013), but you can expect impeccable service. Bintan is a holiday island, so expect to spend exorbitant price on dining, activities and transport.
- Spacious sea-facing villas
- Beautiful grounds
- Peaceful and away from crowds
- Each villa comes with a small relaxation pools or private infinity pool
- Some of the infrastructure does look dated
- Beware of bugs
- Expensive dining
- Need to request for buggy if villa is far from the common areas
- No gym but can use Angsana facilities