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 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.

– 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!

– 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.

– 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.

– 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

Spread the Love – September 2013

The heroes for September 2013 were my younger brother and sister-in-law.
My younger brother, Kaiwei, took my mum out of Singapore for holidays. Even though he was spoiling her seriously (yes, I’m serious that she’s behaving like a kid at times and it’s not funny at all), it was very brave of him to bring her to China alone. The culture of China’s native Chinese was far different from Singapore Chinese’s, although people from different parts of China do vary. I would not say European countries would be safer compared to China, but all the negative stories about China had really scared me – passengers-by ignoring injured person, fake food, milk powder with harmful ingredient… etc. After all, my younger brother and I would appreciate people who are more soft-spoken.
Although it was an eye-opening experience for him and my mum, it was definitely tiring to avoid being scammed almost at every part of Hai Nan Dao. The island was so commercialized that most people were out to cheat you for extra bucks. Nevertheless, the amount of money being conned might not be a lot. For example, the staff of a tourist attraction would ask tourists to take some “holy” water from a fountain like as if it was free and it ended up that they had to pay for it. Some shops would use some prize winning tactics that when you pass by, you would happen to be the lucky winner – my younger brother dared not try on them to see the actual result though. Overall, it is a place where anyone who does not know Chinese mandarin would definitely be conned.
Would you visit such a place that most things are cheaper than Singapore but you have to keep worrying about being conned? No, I don’t fancy that because holidays are meant to be enjoying yourself without worries.
While my mum was away with my younger brother, my sister-in-law, Ivy Leow, did the laundry work. There were a couple of times when my elder brother was not coming home for dinner because of delivery work or soccer game, my sister-in-law bought food for me after she knocked off from work.

Jeremy was still Missing

It could be a long weekend for Friday was a holiday, but I had FYP meeting on Sunday. It was never like a year before that I could really go out with friends.

We were stuck outside of The Cathay Starbucks for inside was packed. The place was cool with the fans on top of the ceiling, better than what we had always expected. The only problem was the lack of power supply.

Jeremy continued to stay missing in action but we did not blame him since he had done a fair amount of work since beginning. We felt weird and worried for him instead. We did not expect anyone to give up after so many months of hard work.

We moved into the air-conditioned place after some time when Stephen’s laptop was going to dry up, but having to split into two tables.

In the late afternoon when we were almost done up at around 5pm, I gave Irwin a call. Instead of meeting at Vivocity, he had arranged a meet up with Eugene at Bugis at around 7.30pm. I was not feeling well and thus, decided to stay at home instead.


Family Going Overseas Again

My whole family is going to Batam for holidays tomorrow and returning on Monday. It was going to be a quiet and lonely weekend for me. The house would definitely be much cleaner since I would usually do at least a little tidying up.

I don’t know why they persist to go at such time where H1N1 is mesmerising the entire world and that my younger brother had spent a fortune at Europe. All their pockets were already squeezed dry.

We have different thinking and I’m more of a silly loner.


Monday was a Holiday

I had a long sleep on Monday and woke up in the afternoon, which I had not been doing for very long. It was Hari Raya and thus there was no work.

The weather was freezing for the entire day and I had to put on my shirt. My mum fried noodle but the onion ruined the taste. I had a chat with Irwin and realised he had already reached Australia.

The thought of work resuming the next day was a big turn off.

I was not used to having holidays and I kept thinking that it was a Sunday and expecting to watch some documentary programs after midnight.

Long Weekend – Deepavali

I spent the long weekend better than previous weeks; more things were done although the efficiency level was still too low. I did not even know about the Deepavali’s holiday until Daniel told me on last Friday morning.
I managed to update two blogs:
Chinese Dramas
Hey! Are You Joking?
My upcoming directory site had moved to another era with the confirmation of the design and layout, such that I could go ahead with the remaining coding without fears of amendments.
I added four Chinese songs to my collection:
吴英仔 – 双手的温柔
(Wu Ying Zai – Shuang Shou De Wen Rou)
吴宗宪 – 留心
(Jacky Wu Zong Xian – Liu Xin)
李玖哲 – 想太多
(Li Jiu Zhe – Xiang Tai Duo)
薛之谦 – 黄色枫叶
(Xue Zhi Qian – Huang Se Feng Ye)
The meet-up with Irwin, including golfing, was great except for the fact that my flu and cough had not recovered.
I also managed to spend some time trying out the add-ons for Mozilla Firefox to enhance my surfing experience.
If only the weekend was longer…

Last Weekend of Holidays

The weekends were spent mainly on doing my website. I woke up early on Saturday morning since I slept early at around midnight, but it was not long before I started to feel sleepy again. I had a sleeping marathon before getting into real work.

My body was exhausted and that was probably the reason why I felt so tired throughout the day. The aching all over my body refused to subside after the long rest.

I spent the last comfort night continuing with my work and disrupted my plan of sleeping early again.

I went to sleep when daylight broke out and only got up in the early afternoon. Without sufficient rest and together with the warm weather, work progress was slow.

Nevertheless, the little result I had for the two days was good enough for the progress.

I probably had over-exerted my left hand badly during the previous golf session. The condition was really bad.

Watching Drama during Holidays

I spent more than half of my holidays watching the Chinese drama – Han Wu Da Di (汉武大帝) – instead of doing my website. The few days of release from official work were initially planned for only personal work purpose.

I got to understand the biggest difference between watching drama many episodes at one go and a couple of episodes per week – the latter was harder for a clear picture of everything.

Previously when the drama was introduced on channel 8, there were times when I missed out the first few minutes of an episode, or even the entire episode. At times, I almost forgot the flow of the drama since the previous episode and I could not understand many things.

So far, Yaozhong is my only friend who enjoys watching the drama as well. I guess most people would find me a boring person for being so engrossed in such drama shows, but one day, someone would eventually find me unique.

Anyway, even though my initial plan for the holidays has been substituted, I suppose holidays are meant to be enjoyed.

One Week’s Break

The holidays have finally started. One week’s break is never enough, but still, better than nothing.

I foresee there will not be much work done though; I’m always slow when there is too much “free” time.

Even though there are many works awaiting for completion, at least, I have the freedom to plan my own time for this week.

Hope I can get to meet up with friends.