Reviews on The Residence @ Bintan resort stay by Gilbert

Gilbert has saved me lots of time to write about the stay! Here’s his review on the stay, which he has posted onto TripAdvisor.

Please ignore the typo errors!

I seldom write hotel reviews, but this place was really one of the exceptionally good resorts that I have been. Me and my 2 friends stayed 3 days 2 nights at a Deluxe beachfront villa with our own private pool on a weekday and we really had a good relaxing getaway. Budget for spending for 3 days should be around USD170 to USD200 including some paid activities but excluding wine or spa/massage, and we felt it was really worth the whole experience from start to end.

ROOM:
– Room was big, spacious, comfortable and very clean, everything was new as the resort is only around 1.5years old.
– Private pool was very clean as well, including the daybeds and the surrounding area and the plants were big enough to have sufficient privacy without prying eyes from our neighbors, leaving a small opening at the front to have an opening to see the sea from our pool.
– Living room was big and could easily sit 8 person and had a bay window sofa which was really cosy. The hotel booklet and table fruits also had small fresh flowers on it.
– Bedroom had 2 big wardrobes and they also provided 3 bathrobes as there were 3 of us.
– Toilet was also very big and had 2 basins, a bathtub, standing shower area and also my favorite amenity which is a plugged-in hairdryer in a drawer.
– There were also big umbrellas and bicycles provided for each villa and their bathroom slippers are also of very good quality. Every single light was working too, as I have a habit of checking all light switches and test how good is the hotel. Other than 2 mosquitoes on the 2nd day, 1st day and 3rd day didn’t have any, perhaps they can increase their frequency of fogging.

SERVICE:
– Housekeeping was good and refilled the bottled water in the room and toilet even arranged our shoes neatly and refilled the tissue in the toilet to full.
– The staff were all very friendly including the cleaners and gardeners and beach staff and you would feel very welcome as they greet you when you roam around the resort.
– Reception at main lobby was very good too as they would usher you to the sofa during check in and check out and bring the documents to you as you sit down comfortably while they explain the details.
– Room service arrived within 5 minutes each time when we ordered for bottled water. When I requested for extra room key, the reception staff delivered to me while I was roaming the gardens, this I consider exceptional service! Not sure is it because we were there on a weekday when there is less crowd.
– I felt that they really extended their service when they asked me on the day before departure on my ferry time and they automatically arranged late checkout for us knowing that our ferry was much later in the evening and picked up our luggage from the villa.
– The bus journey though was 1.5hrs long from ferry terminal to the resort, but when we first boarded they handed us nice lemongrass scented hand towels and served us a small pack of their cookies and a bottle of water. For departure on our last day they also served us ginger which could avoid car sickness and waved us goodbye when the bus left the reception area. When we arrived at the ferry terminal for departure, they staff even got ready our boarding pass and handed to us!

HOTEL GROUNDS:
– Beautiful greenery is all round and the design of the resort is very modern. The toilets all around the resort are all very clean with hand lotion and hand towels and tissue provided too.

RESTAURANT:
– Breakfast which was included in the hotel package at the main Dining Room had a good selection of Asian and Western dishes from eggs and noodles stations to cereals to salad and pastries. Their omelette was really good and I was pleasantly surprised by their pumpkin coconut pudding and avocado chocolate pudding, as well as their quinoa fruits salad with kiwi strawberry apples oranges dragonfruit. Their grilled fish with tomato and olives was great too! They also had papaya and pineapple fruit jams.
– Lunch and Dinner at the main Dining Room also had a long selection of food from grill to Japanese food to burgers and other western and Indonesian food, though it is restaurant price from around USD13 to USD30 per meal, but the quality of the food is also restaurant standard and quality including their wagyu burger and unagi with rice and miso soup. Their grilled snapper even had fish roe on top.
– The restaurant staff would pause and chat with you and they also bothered to find out from the chef when I asked them for the ingredients to their carrot gravy. They also provided nice lemongrass scented hand towels before each meal and also served a complimentary basket of different types of bread together with butter.
– Indonesian Restaurant which was the only other restaurant in the resort, served very delicious Indonesian food and they adhered to my request of changing some of the dishes to non-spicy. I was pleasantly surprised by their lemongrass creme brulee and also a complimentary taster drink which was a concoction of ginger and some other ingredients, also a complimentary small cubes of fruits. We ordered wine and they delivered to our room so that we can enjoy later at the comfort of our villa.

ACTIVITIES:
– Catamaran was fun and they extended the time to almost an hour as there were no other guests and let us sailed longer at sea though we only purchased a 30min package with instructor at USD55. The staff also introduced the various parts of the catamaran and taught us how to maneuver. The catamaran was very new and clean.
– Pool bar was clean and comfortable, and the staff were also very friendly and they provided complimentary popcorn. There was live band duo in the evening for acoustic music and singing and I have to say that they singer was really powerful as she could sing all the latest songs from The Greatest Showman to other classic songs and even Disney numbers. The staff would dry up the daybeds every time after the rain or drizzle.
– Yoga class which is free is also quite interesting and the instructor was very friendly too and they provided water and towel.
– Beach front water is really shallow so you can walk out to the sea to a structure with 2 swings and other structures with hammocks. There was a very shallow ankle deep sandbar 30 meters out in the sea which you could walk front the beach in waters around waist deep. The seabed had some small stones so you have to walk slowly out to sea to take pictures with the above. The beach had cleaners constantly removing leaves and trash that washed up ashore from the ocean which was never ending and I would suggest for the resort to find a more efficient way to clean the beach or hire more workers or increase the frequency of cleaning.
– Fireflies trip was also very relaxing, they handed out water before we boarded. If you fancy a boat ride to see tropical mangroves and some fireflies, can consider purchasing this trip around USD42 per person.
– Due to monsoon season, the weather did not allow us to have island hopping or snorkelin. However, they are also many other activities that you can purchase such as jet ski, ATV, paintball, banana boat etc

Computer Issue Solved

I bought a new computer… not.

During last year’s March, I left my computer for a while to take a break from work and I returned to my computer being restarted. The windows 10’s updates did the ridiculous restart and it had probably given me a few minutes to halt the action while I was away.

Anyway, what happened next was hell. My automation software started becoming lagging and I had to restart my computer in order to put it back to normal. It couldn’t last for a couple of hours before the software became unresponsive. My internet browsers gave way as well.

Instead of restarting my computer once in a few weeks or months, I had to restart it a few times per day. There were times when I didn’t go home, my automation software was as good as on strike. The only blessing was that Photoshop continued to run normally. I was able to play the online game Team Fortress 2 (TF2) and the issue didn’t seem to pose any problem to the game.

Another ridiculous thing was that my computer was a working beast with 32GB of RAM and running on Solid State Drive (SSD). The CPU and RAM usage had been staying comfortably way below 30%. My internet was running on fibre optical network. I ran speed test for the internet bandwidth when my software were unresponsive and it showed that my internet was actually stable.

I went online to search high and low for solutions. I configured the settings of my Windows 10 (including registries), downloaded special software to update all the drivers (some newer drivers weren’t detected by Windows 10), installed software to detect for errors in both my hardware and software, defragmented my disk drives, ran virus and malware scans, and even opened up my CPU to clear away the dust physically. Eventually, I reformatted my Windows 10. I also consulted some IT experts. Nothing worked.

Having to spend long hours in front of the computer everyday, it was hell for me, especially when I was someone who couldn’t stand inefficiency. For example, I would always try my best to use my computer to reply messages because it was much faster than typing on the tiny soft keyboard of my phone.

Although I kept telling myself to focus on my work, every few weeks or month, I would try to go online to search for solutions for hours. I was trained to find solution since young and I had the never-give-up attitude, or some people would say “stubborn”.

After my elder brother bought a new laptop, I installed my automation software on it and I was amazed that it was running smoothly on the Windows 10 operating system. So, I was able to confirm that it wasn’t the software’s fault (lazy programmers).

I tried “playing” around with some software as recommended in websites/forums, including Microsoft’s. Then, I even changed the LANs cable. I had probably exhausted all the testing and had little luck. The frustration thing was that every changes I made, I had to restart the computer and wait for a couple of hours in order to determine if it was the solution.

Out of desperation, I made a drastic move to uninstall my antivirus instead of temporary disabling it, which I had done before. An hour later, I was very hopeful that my software remained very responsive without gradually slowing down. It was near dawn and I left the computer alone without doing the usual rebooting before going to bed.

How I would describe my feeling was that I seemed to have recovered from nine months of constipation.

Change of Webhost

One of the most recent challenges I had faced was to change the server of my personal blog. The old server was hosting more than just the blog but also other directories.

I bought the package around 10 years ago. It cost slightly over 200 bucks and had unlimited space and bandwidth. I wasn’t sure if the server was old or because the geographical location was far away, loading speed was slow. Anyway, since the renewal price was costly and rather redundant, I decided to give it up.

I didn’t expect it to be hassle-free but neither did I expect it to be so much more complicated.

Initially, it was the back-up of the blog. I had quite a minimum dealing with WordPress and it had always be a maze to me. Exporting and importing the contents alone wasn’t enough. I had to spend some extra time working on some errors.

Next, I had also my own database for some internet marketing and SEO stuff, which I wasn’t even sure was still working. I had to backup the database via phpMyAdmin and then create the new database and user via the Cpanel.

I also got to shift my non-profit website – Smoke For What. I felt lousy because I finally realised that I didn’t update the site properly previously and the database wasn’t connected – some features weren’t displayed for the past few years.

Overall, I got so stressed up more than I had anticipated. There were too many unforeseeable issues.