Thursday, July 18, 2013

Indonesia - Bintan Lagoon Resort



Indonesia - Bintan
Where one can stay
Bintan Lagoon Resort
(Review)
With the construction of its new terminal at Bintan Lagoon Resort itself, getting here is a breeze. There are two timing daily to and fro Bintan Lagoon resort. Check-in time is 3pm, whilst checkout is at 12noon.
 
After immigration, one can either take the shuttle bus which brings you around to the front of the resort for a song and dance routine welcoming guests, or one can simply take a 5min walk across the lawn to have themselves checked-in. Welcome ice-tea drinks just sets the holiday mood.
All prices here are in SGD and are clearly listed in the various activities you may partake within or outside of the compound. There are provision shops located in Bintan for your snack, drinks, swimming related needs, but they come at an inflated premium. 1.5l water costs SGD5.50

Bad checking out experience via Bintan Lagoon Terminal
The entire experience did have some high and lows, but it really spiraled downwards upon checkout, with regards to the boat back to Singapore from Bintan Lagoon Terminal (BLT). Unadvertised procedure, is to collect boarding tickets after checkout, and if not done so, your tickets will be delivered to the ferry terminal where you can pick them up directly and be on your way. This unfortunately did not happen.

Having a printed e-copy of the ferry ticket may have sufficed Singapore side, but on Bintan Lagoon Resort side, it required the collection of a boarding pass from the counter beside checkout. This was not clearly demarcated or expressed upon checkout or via signage. I was merely asked if you had the boarding tickets, which I replied yes, referring to my working ecopy used to exit Singapore.

Poor customer service one with Bintan Lagoon Staff at BLT;when at BLT, Bintan Lagoon counter staff, then redirected me back up to collect the boat tickets, not letting me know that the boat tickets would be delivered to the terminal. Upon my pointless round journey return, I queried that since the terminal had been around for a long while, am sure set procedures are in place of boarding tickets arriving later, he claimed no knowledge of above set procedures, devoid of any responsibility or having sent a customer back up to resort lobby for no apparent reason. (However, when back at the Bintan Lagoon Resort, checkout staff & concierge all seem very sure that tickets would be at the gate and were helpful in getting me back to BLT without hassle.) Perhaps a stand alone case with this individual.

Poorer customer service two; Journeyful Staff, Ivan Teo at the terminal was neither helpful nor understanding. When asked why there was lack of information for this boat boarding pass collection procedure, his reply was, "You should learn." Joyful Journey? Not so much with this rude individual. Perhaps since they are they sole monopoly transport provider to the lagoon, they do not care too much on the customer service front.

(Room Review:)
Clean, relatively spacious, but raised platform seems a little redundant. Television has a good selection of shows from cable and free to air, inclusive of Singapore channels. Bathroom however is strange in its design. Bathtub has no shower curtain or glass, hence every hot shower would render miniature pools.

Room comes with daily complimentary breakfast at Kopi-O restaurant, which differs slightly daily for a hint of variety.
ABBAtip: 
- Try your luck checking in early as your room may already be available. 
- If you don't care too much for the song and dance routine, just take a 5min walk up to check yourself in, else you would have to wait for everyone to clear immigration before the bus brings you to the main entrance.

Bintan - To Do
Beach front snorkeling:
Snorkeling Set Rental SGD11/hr
Fishes are largely located near the rocks along the jetty. Anywhere else, you may see some stragglers bolting past. Other than that, swimming up and down the coast, you'll just be looking at the sea floor.
 
Above pictures are some of the sea creatures found along the coast and the fishes near the rocks.
 ~alternatively~
Snorkeling Trip
*Twice Daily 10am and 2pm min 4required. SGD38.50/pax 1/1/2hrs
Snorkeling gear is provided. A boat will bring you and your party, just past the ferry terminal to the snorkeling spot. (Aprox 10min away) Depending on your tour guide, he may or may not bring along bread for feeding, for the wide array of sea-life available at the snorkeling spot.
ABBAtip: 
- Try timing your trip to coincide with the low tide timings for getting up close with sea life 
- Bring along bread. Do not hold onto bread when feeding as fish cannot differentiate where the bread starts or ends. 

*No Go Pro? No worries. All underwater photos and videos were taken with DiCApac and Canon IXUS100ISPurchased when in Sydney. Click here for ABBA details

ATV (All Terrain Vehicle)
$66 single rider 1/2hr or $132 double rider 1hr
A great way to explore the beautiful coast of Bintan. The route brings you through the pseudo-jungle path with a mix of open plains. Some undulating and challenging pathways, shows off the ATV's capabilities and the ride all that more enjoyable.
Depending on your tour guide, we had the opportunity to go to a local fishing enclave sheltered in a picturesque cove. Arrive early to see fisherman bring in their haul for the day. If at all, this is the spot to pick up beautiful seashells, unscavanged by the large tourist population at large. 1hour tour was more enjoyable and covered a greater distance thus allowing for this enjoyable detour.
ABBAtip: 
- Wearing long sleeves would be preferred as compared to being lashed by infringing flora.

Pasar Oleh Oleh
$6round trip or $3 one way and free transport back if you dine or get a massage on location, Transport timings: 10am-11.30am 2pm-3.30pm
This deserted outpost, survives purely on tourist visits. Apart from initial, annoying touts, this small place's greatest assets are its mini store and eateries which are cheaper than back at the resort. Apart from that, without intent of grabbing a meal here or doing the mangrove/fire fly tour at SGD30, there's really nothing to do.
One can be in and out of the area under half and hour, even with its said whole sale shopping outlet and cheap souvenir shops.

Bintan - To Eat 
+ Service Tax 10%
+ Gov and tax 11% 

Rice
Perhaps the most picturesque spot in Btinan Lagoon Resort. Being located closest to the sea, one can dine in sleek modernistic comfort and peer through large glass panes, rewarding oneself to an unblocked view of the ocean and sunset.
 Ordered for lunch day1:Lagoon Burger SGD16++
Blue Cheese Beef Patty with serve of fries 
*A very simple burger. Blue cheese are pre-processed, plastic wrapped cheese, and not the good, strong stuff. Unfortunately our burger came with extra serve of semi-cooked plastic wrap. Service recovery was a little lacking and needed some direction.*
Thai Green Curry SGD16++
*Curry was on the runny side, but flavor profiles were all there. Peppery, but the inclusion of potatoes seemed to be a filler. A small serving of rice with little meat. Just nice for weight watchers but otherwise, nothing outstanding*
 
Ordered for lunch day2:
Spaghetti Bolognese SGD14++
*Taste like a kids spaghetti meal.*
 Duck and chicken Quesadilla SGD14++
*Simple fare which strongly resembled a less greasy version of a mutton murtarbak.* 
Single ice cream scoop SGD2.50++and hot chocolate drink SGD3++ 

Ordered for dessert:
Camomile Tea SGD3++Baked Apple With Goat Cheese SGD10++
Baked parcel of caramelized apple and goat cheese drizzled with red wine sauce and topped with vanilla ice creams, raisins and almond.
*Description and reality didn't quite match up entirely. The goat cheese was non existent and red wine sauce was actually a sweet raspberry sauce. Perhaps a change of menu? But all that didn't matter. A well presented dessert, which resembled a re-thought apple pie, with textural and flavor accents from nuts and raisins inside. Who can say no to warm apple pie and vanilla ice cream.*

Overall, one could dine here, purely for the ambiance. Lunch selection is restricted as compared to the larger dinner menu. The location does not have shelter connecting it to Bintan resort, thus in less favorable weather, guests can be transported via shuttle bus or buggy from resort concierge.

Kopi-O Restaurant
(Sunday - Meditteranean Night)
Grill/Live Station:
Choice of Duck/Chicken and grilled vegetables.
*Meat were in fact Pre-cooked and merely placed on the charcoal grill for the quick char and smoky flavor. Even with pre-cooked meat, staff were unable to keep up with demand, leaving hungry guests waiting. Meats were ok and did not tease for seconds.
Choice of Pastas
*Staff were unable to cope with the massive demand and with orders which were bigger than a plate can hold.*
Cooked Food
Lasagne
Steamed fish in chutney

Moroccan tangerine Lamb 
*The only stand out dish. With its cinnamon, apricot and lime infused concoction, melded beautifully with the lamb. Unfortunately, over demand and a huge lack of supply, the lamb tray was soon replaced with Samar chicken and subsequently, sausages in that same fantastic sauce.* 
Squid rings
Tomato Chicken
Assorted Fried Seafood
Chicken Skewers 
*Very dry chicken, with little to no seasoning* 
Minestrone Soup 
*A thick hearty soup, with the fantastic tang of tomatoes.*
Assortment of Desserts
SGD38++ per pax
A decent selection, but it really depends on which themed dinner night you maybe arriving on for the best bang, quality and food selection for your buck. 

Ripples Pool Cafe & Bar
The pure novelty of having light snacks and drinks, pool side are this place's allure.
Ordered:
Kids Meals:
Ben 10 SGD8++
Chicken Nuggets and French Fries 
*Chicken nuggets were unseasoned breast meat and dry.* 
Fantastic four
Banana Split SGD8++ 
Really bare basics. Ice-cream and banana. No frills or cherry on top.*

Orzo Mediterranean Restaurant
Ordered:
Chicken salad SGD12++
Avocado mayonnaise, chicken salad, served with tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella cheese.
 *Nothing really special, and taste of dry chicken, covered in avocado mayonnaise. Up on presentation, but not delivering big on flavor.* 
Fruitti Di Mare SGD20++
An array of fresh local and international seafood with capsicum, tomato, onion, capers, herb and olive oil. 
*A generous serving of fresh seafood, on top of thin, crispy, pizza crust. Sweet, fresh basil on the top brought a freshness to the entire dish. Thumbs up and an enjoyable order.* 
Bistcca Salmon SGD27++
Pan Seared dill marinated and scallops on creamy risotto with bacon, vegetables and drizzled with lemon flavor wine butter sauce, sprinkled with grated Parmesan. 
*Salmon was a little under, which may not suit everyone's pallet. Supporting cast of sweet balsamic sauce, medley of vegetables were the binder and accents to the dish. Didn't care too much for the wine butter sauce, which tasted more like heavy cream and lobster in fact.*

Special mention goes especially to the table side Caesar Salad. A rare art form, done with delicate care by staff. Creamy sauce beaten manually and mixed together with capers, anchovies, bacon, garlic, lee and Perrins, mustard, tabasco and vinegar, with hand picked romaine lettuce. Elegantly presented and must taste phenomenal.

The place seems a little isolated with it being within another restaurant, Kopi-O. All in all, a much more intimate dining experience, with higher quality dishes.

Miyako Japanese Restaurant
Ordered:
 Tsuru Course SGD65++

 
Choice of Shashimi/Sushi/Tempura 
*Shashimi was ordered. Though cuts were thick, textural they were either frozen fish or not fresh.*

King Prawn
*Prawn did not taste fresh and was mushy. Prawn was already peeled prior to reaching the hotplate.* 
Salmon
US Sirloin Steak 
Entrees are served with appetizer, salad, steamed rice, mixed vegetables, miso soup and dessert.
Even with the very short performance, synonymous with TEPPANYAKI, it lacked in flare and customer interaction. The hotplate was nowhere near its required temp to give of its distinctive sizzle.
Miyako Bento SGD45++
Box meal consisting of variety of Nigiri sushi & Maki Sushi, tempura, grilled fish, simmered vegetables and seaweed salad served with appetizer, dobin mushi, pickles and fruits.
*Grilled salmon was nice fatty portion of salmon with a crispy skin exterior. Three, might I add warm sushi, and a maki with only crab stick and vegetables, hardly deserves its asking price.

Overall on both the TEPPANYAKI and A La Carte front, dishes were over priced and delivered severly underwhelming food. Though alluring from the outside, don't be suckered into this Japanese restaurant for a meal,

4 comments:

  1. http://www.journeyful.com gives you US$25 off your first booking to Bintan Lagoon Resort. You also get another US$25 in rewards when you refer a friend who completes a booking.

    It's the cheapest place to book your hotel to Bintan.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Do they sell prawns crackers? If so is it nice?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wasnt keeping a look out for it. But if it were its pretty standard. I havent open a prawn cracker that was bad before.

      Delete
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