We recently took a family trip to Club Med Bintan Island . First up, where and what is Bintan Island? Yep, I thought the same. Bintan is an island in Indonesia’s Riau Archipelago, just a short distance from the coast of Singapore. The easiest way to get there is a flight from Sydney to Singapore, which you can get for a very reasonable price, followed by a short 60 minute ferry ride. Malaysia can sometimes be seen from the Island too; my mobile phone kept jumping from welcoming me to Indonesia, then later to Malaysia, throughout our stay.
They say Bintan is Indonesia’s best kept secret and it really is stunning. We arrived in the dark, made our way to our room and awoke in time to see this absolutely stunning sunrise on our very first morning.
I hadn’t really thought about what visiting a Club Med would actually entail before I arrived. To be completely honest, up until having children my husband and I would have sought out all of the best child-free resorts and locations and stayed as far away from the ‘action’ as possible, avoiding any kind of organized activity, dance-moves and hype. But, as I’m sure many a parent can attest, when you do have children in tow, ensuring they have a good time, so that you can relax too, is super important. We’ve all heard the stories of transporting the kids to a warmer, sandier location but ultimately finding things less convenient and more exhausting than just staying home.
What I found at Club Med Bintan was enough activity and entertainment to keep my two very active children (7 and 9) occupied and relaxed and to satisfy my husband and the resistant adult in me. You could easily choose to get involved, or not, and there is plenty to choose from for both kids and grown-ups. You can even escape to a quieter, more relaxed and absolutely stunning part of the resort to hang out with your book and a cocktail – perfect!
Having slightly older kids, I find kids clubs can become less appealing and entertaining but with daily trapeze and archery sessions, along with water games, art and fantastic facilities, my husband and I enjoyed mornings either engaging in our own activities, heading out for an organized run (which was fantastic for a me, a runner who wants to get out of the resort to look around but otherwise wouldn’t know quite where to go) hitting the gym, heading out on the water for some kayak fun or simply heading back to that sunbed on the beach or by the pool.
Kids club is set up with three different groups: petit (2-3); mini (4-10); and junior (11-17). Each group is entertained and given activities that are age appropriate. I saw some of the teen club all sitting down to a civilized meal and conversation with their leader (who has teen-summer camp experience) in the a-la-carte restaurant one night. Very cool.
Which leads me to food. With their all-inclusive packages you will never go hungry or find yourself watching the budget while you are away (or tucking away bread rolls for the kids’ lunch at breakfast). As someone that has travelled alone with kids before, and on a strict budget, knowing upfront that everything is taken care of – including most wines, beers and cocktails – really does help with the relaxation factor. Knowing you are not going to be hit with a large food and alcohol bill at the end of your stay definitely helps you settle into island life and put your mind at rest. In total, we spent about $200 getting to and from the airport and picking up a few snacks on the way.
Whether you are into going all out when you are away and indulging in everything that’s available, or whether you want to maintain your healthy eating habits, there really is something for everyone. Food is available in two restaurants: the Waterfall which is more buffet-style (but where everything is still beautifully plated and excess can be avoided) and the Terrasse, which is situated overlooking the beach and you can enjoy a more intimate and a-la-carte meal and amazing view! (bookings here are essential and can be done once in the resort).
And if you’re a fresh juice kinda person, paying a visit to the Matahari, beach-side bar is a must.
Would I recommend Club Med Bintan? Absolutely! From morning yoga to late afternoon circuit classes, rock hopping adventures and snorkeling to amazing massages and fun evening shows, there really is something for everyone. But what really topped it off for me was the absolutely beautiful, welcoming and hospitable nature of their staff, all dedicated to welcoming you into their island home and ensuring you and your family are as happy, relaxed, and catered for as possible.
I was looked after by the wonderful Carissa Johnson from Spencer Travel who ensured our needs were met from start to finish, complete with tickets and fun travel packs for the kids delivered straight to our door.
Club Med currently have their 2019 early-bird packages on sale, so if this peaks your interest or you want to check out any of their other resorts, now would be an awesome time to get your travel plans on, lock it in and have your next adventure on the calendar. For me, I’ve got skiing in Japan and the Maldives in my sights……. and many more moments like these with the ones I love x