Luxe resort hols 40 minutes away
WHERE: Nongsa, Batam (website: www.montigoresorts.com)
I HAVE never thought much of Batam but a recent trip has opened my eyes to how the Indonesian island has cleaned up its reputation as a sleazy hot spot for men.
Over at the northern tip of Batam in an area called Nongsa lies Montigo Resorts, a five-star, 88-villa resort that is around 40 minutes away from Singapore by ferry.
The villas here - which cost between $380 and $500 per night and can house up to five people - are three-storey buildings that house two bedrooms and three bathrooms, with a huge rooftop terrace.
Each villa has a personal pool with a small hut attached to it, where there are bean bags for you to laze among while listening to the lapping waves on a private beach nearby.
For a holistic, relaxing experience, sign up for a Javanese lulur massage and body-scrub session at the resort spa or try its Montigo Sensory Magic, which was created by the spa's manager, Ms Yaya.
The cocktails here aren't too bad. There are some interestingly-concocted cocktails at the adults-only Tiigo Bar.
Food-and-beverage manager Jeremy Mameaux created a Mojito-influenced cocktail with a violet base for me. It was extremely refreshing and oh-so-good, I ended up having three.
Tiigo Bar is nicely decorated, with stools made of old Singer sewing machines, which are complemented by turquoise finishing and day beds by the children-free pool that exudes a Mediterranean vibe.
Honestly, I thought to myself: "I am not in Batam, I'm somewhere in Greece."
All-day dining is available at Taad's, which serves both Western and local Indonesian cuisine. Indonesian-Chinese seafood restaurant, Pantai, serves rather delicious and well-made dishes.
Besides chilling by the pool, Montigo Resorts offers activities for guests, such as cooking classes and a morning fishing trip to the mangrove swamp. Guests get to enjoy a foot massage afterwards, while the fish they catch is being prepped for cooking.
Kids get to have fun too - at the OLO Kids Club, which includes supervised games and baby-sitting facilities in a giant tree house.
Water-sport activities, with a dedicated jetty, will be fully operational by the end of next year, and the resort's beach will open in a month.
The resort also arranges for guests to visit Nagoya Mall to get some shopping done.
Overall, service was impeccable. Not once was there no smile on everyone's face and a friendly greeting.
In such a quiet and relaxed environment, time seems to go by slowly. The end of the two-night trip saw my mother and me feeling "over-relaxed" (if that is even possible), hard-to-come-by bliss, especially in this day and age.
I also felt rather inspired while I was there. Another visit might be on the cards just to catch up with some writing and reading.
In the meantime, I have already arranged to book my next trip when my family from Britain comes to visit.
For more photos, go to www.relax.com.sg
The writer is a Webknowledgist at Singapore Press Holdings' online portal AsiaOne (www.asiaone.com).