Refreshed Club Med Bintan offers a touch of zen
BINTAN, April 27 — An hour’s boat ride from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal is the Indonesian island of Bintan. It has, in the last three decades, become the destination of choice for Singapore-based travellers looking for a quick beach getaway, but without the hassle of flying.
Over the last couple of years, a number of new resort developments on the island have been looking to tap into that market — from the upscale Sanchaya Estate (which offers luxurious, romantic seaside escapades in a colonial-inspired estate) to The Canopi (which offers “glamping” tents aimed at families on a budget, sited around a man-made lagoon).
The refreshed Club Med Bintan targets that oft-neglected group in between — couples looking for a quiet respite and inner rejuvenation from the hustle and bustle of urban life, but with their young brood in tow.
Among the new post-facelift offerings at the resort are a beach juice bar that offers fresh-juice cocktails, an upgraded Zen area for wellness activities, a yoga pavilion that faces the sea, and refurbished rooms that are done up in natural materials to reflect the new natural-contemporary aesthetic.
The refurbishment exercise began in October last year, with extensive renovations to the swimming pool and restaurant. A new fitness centre was also built. The resort completed the works in February. The complete overhaul of the establishment cost about €6 million (RM28.4 million) in total.
“In the Singapore market, health- and wellness-themed events and holidays are becoming increasingly popular — yoga retreats, boot camps, detox programmes (are on the rise),” said Xavier Desaulles, chief executive of Club Med East and South Asia & Pacific.
“We have observed a growing trend of consumers who … are opting for healthier food, athleisure clothing (from brands such as) Nike and Lululemon, and tech products such as Fitbit in their everyday lives. There is clearly a demand for their holidays to head in the same direction.”
While Club Med Bintan has boasted a plethora of sporting activities such as archery and tennis, sea sports such as paddle-boarding, and trapeze classes, the refreshed concept will involve more wellness-centred additions to its menu of activities. These include twice-daily yoga-by-the-sea classes (including a family yoga class at sunset) and Pilates.
The resort’s buffet-style dining option at the main Waterfall restaurant may be tempting, but steer yourself away from the hearty meat and carb-heavy options and head for the specially developed healthier offerings, such as the fresh seafood dishes.
The Club Med Spa by Asmara Lifestyle adds to the mix. Although it is not a new offering, it has always been a haven of tranquillity. The deceptively diminutive spa reception area opens up to a sprawling complex of private spa villas set amid a verdant rainforest, complete with ocean views and open-air bathtubs.
Visitors can also look forward to annual health and wellness programme Body & Soul, held at Club Med Bintan Island and included as part of the Premium All-Inclusive package for guests who visit the resort during the event dates. It features special programmes and workshops by wellness experts, and a specially curated healthy menu.
Tailored experiences for all members of the family are Club Med’s signature. And at the Bintan resort, the Petit, Mini and Teens Club are bustling with activity. While the nightly shows remain a firm draw, ad hoc activities like a beach BBQ, a day-long Sports Day and a twice-weekly night trapeze class are sure to keep the young ones on their tippy-toes. There are specific beauty treatments, too, for teenaged princesses. Bookings must be made on-site.
Families love the activities built into packages. These also include off-site tours such as snorkelling trips around the island. Windsurfing and sailing are other sea sports appropriate for the younger set.
As Singapore positions itself as a regional hub for business and leisure travellers, Club Med Bintan Island is expecting more of an international and diverse mix of guests, said Desaulles, adding that the number of visitors from 2014 to 2016 has grown by over 50 per cent.
The French company has also announced plans to open three to five new resorts in exotic locations worldwide, including a second ski resort in Japan and one on the Indonesian island of Lombok. Club Med Tomamu Hokkaido is slated to open in December this year, and Club Med Lombok is set for a 2019 opening. — TODAY