Cassia Bintan - Your Latest Low-Key Resort Getaway
These days, it’s almost impossible to find a nearby resort that’s not yet saturated with fellow Singaporeans. The thought of sharing a private beach with throngs of other tourists can be a little off-putting, especially if you’re looking for some quiet time. Thankfully, there’s a new resort in town, and it’s so low-key, you won’t even have to compete for beach space.
A short 45-minute ferry ride from Tanah Merah, Cassia Bintan is the perfect hideout to get your resort stay fix. You may have heard of the luxe Banyan Tree Bintan and the more family-friendly Angsana Bintan resorts, so think of Cassia Bintan as a cross between the two; the most affordable option with plenty to do.
Read on to find out how you can score a 3D2N stay for you and a friend at Cassia Bintan!
1. Have coffee, play board games and foosball at the coolest lobby ever
I typically don’t pay much attention to hotel lobbies; Usually I’ll make a hasty beeline towards my room right after check in. But Cassia Bintan’s - dubbed the Meeting Point - was hard to dismiss. Between its super modern design, and the fact that it was an entire cafe + mini marketplace + games corner unto itself, you’ll find yourself hanging out here a lot.
Much like the hipster cafes you can find in Singapore, it even has a pro-level coffee machine. While waiting for your next activity to start, you can also partake in an array of games, from classic board and card games, to darts and foosball.
You can challenge any one of the Cassia Friends to a game of foosball
The Meeting Point also sets the tone for the entire resort. The neon-coloured, graffiti-style wall art not only makes for unique IG backdrops, but it'll also make you feel like you’re in a modern art gallery.
This large wall art outside Meeting Point is one of many eclectic designs throughout the resort
2. Prepare your very own mookata at Market 23
Market 23 is a mini marketplace found within Meeting Point itself. Fully-stocked with a wide selection of food and drinks, preparing your own mookata or BBQ meals is made super convenient.
Like an intrepid Masterchef-for-a-day, you can choose your own ingredients and condiments to personalize your meal. And unlike the hassle of an ECP BBQ, Market 23 has food sets like “Meat Lover” or “Seafood Lover” readily prepared for you to bring back to your apartment.
All you have to do is request for the steamboat-and-grill equipment at the counter, make your food selection, and a Cassia Friend will prepare the food hamper for you.
This food hamper comes with the “Seafood Lover” set. They even have ingredients like oil, chilli, shallots and different sauces at Market 23.
And they’ve got variety too. You can choose from a wide selection that includes Penne Arabiata, Phad Thai Noodle, and Tom Yum Goong. While these sets are not precooked, a recipe booklet will be available in your room - prepared by professional chefs - so don’t fret even if the only thing you know how to “cook” is a hard-boiled egg.
Note: Prices available per request at the counter.
3. Bask by the water at the exclusive XANA Beach Club
The first ever beach club in Bintan, XANA Beach Club is the kind you often see on social media during holidays. No matter what kind of beach-goer you are, there’s something for you to do here.
If you’re due for a good tan, then relax on any one of the lounge chairs, bean bags and beds available around.
But if you’re up to break a sweat, then partake in any one of the water activities at the Marine Centre, or go for a run along the 1.5km private Angsana Beach.
Where there’s fun to be had, you can expect great food as well. Make sure you set aside one of your evenings for a chill dinner at the beach club, where you can dig into dishes like Angus Tenderloin (IDR 540,000) and their Salmon Teriyaki Skewer (IDR 338,000).
I particularly enjoyed their signature mocktail Bintan Jamu (IDR 94,000) - a delectable mix of lemongrass, ginger, honey and tamarind.
On Fridays and Saturdays, they even offer an international buffet, and if you’re lucky, you may even be treated to a DJ set while you’re hanging out under the stars.
4. Have a romantic dinner on the rocks, or in the middle of the sea
Dinner on the Rocks
Located atop a set of rocks at a quiet end of the private beach, Dinner on the Rocks is one of many intimate Destination Dining options that the resort offers. The private table for two comes complete with a boardwalk entrance decorated with rose petals, a personal waiter and specially-curated menu.
The set-up is uber romantic - there’s only one table per evening so you won’t have to worry about company.
Don’t worry about being too close to the sea and its salty smell though - there’s none of that. Rather, expect just the right amount of gentle seaside breeze and warm, amber skies. With a set-up like this, you’re sure to get on your partner’s good graces.
If being at a resort isn’t enough seclusion for you, then ride away to a nearby kelong for a truly peaceful dinner. About five minutes away from the beach club, the kelong is privately-owned, and one of the resort’s Destination Dining options.
Eating here will feel like you’re on your own tiny island, except with plenty of great food.
You can see the seafood that’ll be served. And if you ask the staff, they’ll even let you down there.
The kelong serves only the freshest catch - you can see it for yourself - and authentic Indonesian cuisine. The portions are huge so make sure you come on an empty stomach.
It’s a family-style meal, and each course comes with several dishes, starters like Gong Gong and Otak Otak (with several spicy sauces) and mains like Black Pepper Crab, Kangkung Belacan, and much more.
This dessert may very well be a slice of heaven
The pink and green concoction you see above is called Palu Butung, a cold banana dessert dipped in a mix of coconut cream and pandan syrup. It’s insatiable.
Because it gets dark slightly earlier in Bintan than in Singapore, we recommend setting your boat ride at 5pm, so that you can enjoy the sunset and violet skies from the middle of the sea.
You’ll definitely get some kampong feels here
Note: These destination dining options are limited per evening, so make your reservations via the resort at least 3 hours in advance. Prices are available per request.
You’ll never be short of food options when you stay at Cassia Bintan. Banyan Tree’s Treetops is one of many where you’ll be stuffing yourself silly with good ol’ Indonesian cuisine. It’s got a more atas vibe to it, but the food is so authentically Indonesian, and it’s reflective of their menu too.
You may think to yourself, “Why go all the way to Indonesia and try something that I can get back home?”
Well, their Nasi Goreng (IDR 249,000) and Gado Gado (IDR 175,000) are on a whole other level; they’re flavourful and unlike what you can get locally. We also recommend their signature cocktail Tree Tops Crushed (IDR 213,000) for its sweet, fruity taste.
Make sure you don’t pass up on the keropok that’s served before your main course. It comes in various types, and a whopping SIX different sauces, all different levels of pedas-ness and flavours.
If you opt to have breakfast with your stay at Cassia Bintan, you’ll be having it at Lotus Café. Its buffet spread is fit for royalty, and you’ll find it hard to resist not trying everything - which explains why our mornings started off slow and lazy.
Note: Breakfast at Lotus Cafe is only until December 2017. Thereafter, breakfast will be served in Cassia.
They’ve got everything from a sashimi bar to a dedicated pancake AND waffles station. And if you want to know how their spin on familiar SG classics taste like, you can try their Soto Ayam and Lontong.
5. Get some “me” time at hidden spots within the resort
One Tree Hill
One Tree Hill isn’t the noughties TV show that you’re thinking of - here, it’s one of the few lesser-known spots that can be reached within the general Banyan Tree complex. It was thanks to our helpful guide that we found out about this scenic location.
We took the resort’s in-house car to get there, but could easily reach it via bicycle on our return visit. The breezy path shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes.
The name is foretelling; it’s an actual hill with a lone, magnificent tree. But once you reach here, you’ll find that there’s a gorgeous view of the sea beyond that. We went at around mid-afternoon and were lucky enough to catch the sun reflected against the sea’s ripples.
Better yet, there was no one else around!
FYI: There’s a wooden platform set up for private occasions. If you’re looking to hold a small gathering or reception, this is a great space to do so.
As its name suggests, Hole 17 is one of the holes of Laguna Golf Bintan. If you’re just out looking for a place to chill, feel free to make your way here.
There’s an elevated patch of grass where you can have a laid-back picnic by the beach, or just laze around while operating your drone camera. Unless a golfer’s looking to swing his ball into that particular hole, you can take comfort in knowing that you’ll most likely have the space all to yourself.
It’s not really a resort stay if you don’t go for some kind of spa treatment - even if it’s just a massage. The nearest one you’ll find (within walking distance from Meeting Point) is the Angsana Spa.
Entering the reception area felt like stepping into a sanctuary
We went for the Javanese and Dreams 60-minute treatments (IDR 750,000+), both oil-based body massages carried out by professionally-trained masseurs. You can opt for one of their Angsana Signatures (IDR 1,500,000+) - full-body treatments ranging from 2-3 hours long, and includes facials, scrubs, body wraps and more.
Set against lush music and aromatic incense, you’ll be hard pressed - pun intended - to not doze off.
Bonus: We recommend requesting the Ginger Tea with Honey - it tastes divine and is a soothing way to end your treatment.
6. Immortalise your love with locks - for a good cause
You may have seen photos online of bridges decorated with Love Locks - padlocks with initials on them that couples secure unto the sides of bridges. Meant to symbolize abiding love, it’s a popular tradition throughout Europe, and one that Cassia Bintan is looking to establish with its visitors.
But this act isn’t just for naught, beyond being a symbol of love, it’s also done for a good cause. For just US$2.25, you can purchase a padlock from Meeting Point and lock it onto any one of the outdoor metal structures.
All proceeds will go to Towdah Orphanage, the children from which helped paint the vibrant padlocks. It’s a small gesture but a chance for you to do some good while on holiday!
7. Witness kids release adorable baby turtles
We were fortunate enough to come at a time when the resort was conducting one of its conservation activities - releasing turtle hatchlings into the sea! The baby turtles looked every bit similar to Squirt from Finding Nemo and had us going “toaaatallyyy cute” as they waded their way towards the sea.
The little volunteers that helped release them only made the whole event one cuteness overload.
It was a fascinating sight to see, with visitors from all three resorts invited to catch a glimpse of these little creatures. Such an occurrences is seasonal, so count yourself lucky if you happen to be staying there when it happens!
In collaboration with the Conservation Lab of Laguna Bintan, 3,280 Hawksbill and Green Sea Turtle hatchlings have been released.
8. Relax in cosy lofts and apartments that epitomise “beachfront living”
Whether it was a day out exploring the resort grounds, or just sunbathing at the beach club, I found myself looking forward to going back to my room every evening - it was that comfortable.
The first thing that caught my attention upon entering my one-room apartment was how modern it looked. Much like the graphic art throughout the resort, the room was adorned with colourful - but not garish - animal-inspired wallpaper which gave the room plenty of personality.
A room such as this can fit two other people, as it comes with a lush queen-sized bed, and a wide sectional in the living room.
And if you’re wondering how you can prepare the food from Market 23, then fret not - there’s kitchen that’s fully-equipped with a stove and necessary cooking utensils. There’s even an oven, toaster and coffee maker!
The balcony overlooks the inner-centre of the resort, and is a great space to enjoy your “home-cooked” meal or mookata with friends. Think of your room as a swanky chalet-like refuge.
If you’re planning a group getaway, then there are bigger accommodations as well, like their one-room and two-room lofts. The latter can fit up to four people, but both come with a cozy second floor that fits a mattress and bean bags - meant for leisure activities and HTHTs.
The lofts also come with a patio where you can hire a BBQ pit for you to enjoy your meal while taking in the sunset.
Cassia Bintan for your next long weekend destination
Cassia Bintan is within an hour’s reach from Singapore, which makes it one of the nearest resorts you’ll find around. And because it’s so accessible, you won’t have to apply for an extra day of leave to comfortably enjoy your time there!
As someone who’s a self-described “adventurous homebody”, I appreciate that all of the spots and activities can be found within walking distance. You can get around by bicycle or private transfer, but a stroll around the resort complex will be worth the effort, especially for the stunning views of the surrounding nature - I’m all for a good digital detox.
They’re currently having special opening promo rates starting from USD88+ per night (U.P. USD144.50+ per night), which come with complimentary breakfast for two. Start planning your trip now, because this offer is only valid for stays from 31st August to 20th December 2017.
Address: Bintan Resorts, Laguna Bintan, Jalan Teluk Berembang, Lagoi 29155, Indonesia
Telephone: 6849 5888
Win a 3D2N Stay at Cassia Bintan!
Cassia Bintan is giving a lucky TSL reader a chance to enjoy a 3D2N stay with a loved one, inclusive of daily breakfast at the Lotus Cafe and land transport from the Bintan Ferry Terminal*!
All you have to do is:
1. Like and share THIS Facebook post
2. Tag your bestie and leave us a comment on why you need this vacay
The contest ends in one week on the 19th September, and 1 winner will be selected. Good luck!
*Prize is valid for 6 months from the date of issue and availability is subject to blackout dates. Ferry from Singapore to Bintan not included.
This post was brought to you by Banyan Tree.