Mrs and I really needed a break to pamper ourselves after a hectic period at work. No better option than getting a good dose of vitamin sea and a pool villa all to ourselves.

First things first – my Travel category posts don’t always talk about stuff like best-value-for-money way to do something or check-out-my-ultra-low-budget-trip to some place. I mean, just because I blog about finance-related topics doesn’t mean I can’t indulge in experiences that costs a bit more.

Business class flights. Helicopter rides. Maldives resorts. Suites class flights in the near future? All I want to say is that, learn to strike a balance, yes?

To be honest, travel is probably the only hobby I have. Besides collecting stocks, ETFs and dividends, I also like to collect experiences. 🙂

Cheap Pool Villas : There Exists Such A Thing?

Cheap and quality pool villas are not that easy to come by, even though we are lucky enough to be living in a region where there are plenty of such options in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and even Vietnam.

Bintan, in general, is overpriced for everything and the only other property I’d consider for now Banyan Tree – but then a pool villa would be ridiculously overpriced.

Alila Villas Bintan would be coming up perhaps next year, but seeing that it would be located in Bintan .. I don’t see how it can be a value-for-money option. New properties usually pop up in my radar really quickly and I recently noticed Holiday Villa Pantai Indah after checking out the decent online reviews.

We got ourselves a online promo package @ S$424 nett for :

  • One night stay in One Bedroom Pool Villa
  • Daily breakfast for 2 persons
  • Return land transfer from Bandar Bentan Telani ferry terminal to Resort
  • 1 x choice of set dinner for 2 persons
  • 1 x 30 minutes of massage treatment for 2 persons

Short trip, so I didn’t bother to bring along my camera and used my mobile phone for all the photos.

Bintan Resort Ferries : Emerald Class

To get there, taking Bintan Resort Ferries @ Tanah Merah is the only option. We paid an extra $50 per pax to upgrade to our ferry tickets to Emerald Class.

For Emerald Class, you get an nicer looking ticket with assigned seats.

There is also a lounge that only allows access for Emerald Class passengers. It serves hot drinks, biscuits and free soft-drinks plus free WIFI for passengers waiting for their ferry. Another plus point is that it has its own restroom.

When it is time for boarding, the staff in the lounge would make an announcement for Emerald Class ticket holders to board the ferry first via their direct-access gate. If you’re a frequent traveller to Bintan or Batam, you would appreciate how awesome this is. Ferries to Batam, unfortunately, do not offer any forms of premium tickets as far as I know.

Depending on the ferry configuration, the Emerald Class is either on the same level, or on the upper deck of the ferry. Once on the ferry, we get a complimentary choice of either a hot beverage, canned drink or mineral water. Likewise, you get to disembark first as well to clear immigration – while all other passengers stare at you.

Upon clearing immigration, we met with the resort staff, who informed us that they are waiting for other guests who are also staying at Holiday Villa Pantai Indah. We were allowed to wait in the air-conditioned minibus first. Guess the price we’re paying wasn’t enough for private cars yet!

Holiday Villa Pantai Indah

Lagoi Bay, where Holiday Villa Pantai Indah is located, is a master planned leisure resorts area. This explains the smooth roads and nice pavements as we are nearing the resort. No mozzies too! Interesting, Holiday Villa Pantai Indah felt more like a walled compound of private villas rather than a resort.

Waiting area since there were quite a number of guests checking in. Many Japanese guests here!

Within the resort compound, nice and clean environment.

Villa C25 where we stayed in.

Pool Villa Wheeee

Much like Sofitel Hua Hin (previously Alila Cha-Am), the pool villa considers of two standalone living areas.

The dining table is outdoors, which could pose a little problem but oddly, food left here didn’t attract any bugs at all.

Ah. What we came here for. Large 3m by 6m pool meant for swimming! It has a depth of 1.45m so be mindful if you’re bringing children.

The bedroom with a nice, comfy bed.

Wardrobe and make-up area on either side of the walkway towards the bathroom.

Huge bathroom that is probably even bigger than the Shinjuku hotel room I stayed in.

And a nice tub for a nice, long soak.

Breakfast had a decent spread but turned out to be rather average in terms of quality.

The buffet spread and the dining area are located at separate areas.

While the beach is not a private one, the property is so far from anything else that no one will stroll to this area. During low tide in the morning, much of the bay is exposed as you can see.

Hardware (Property) Vs ..

Despite the seemingly high price for a one-night stay, this is largely due to the fact that the property is located in Bintan. The pool villa is pretty large in size and generally well furnished with high-end bathroom accessories like TOTO.

However, there are some odd decisions such as laminate floorings, with issues like inconsistent water temperature and rain-showers that tend to cause a little bit of flooding. I could go on and on, but then again these are pretty common problems with resorts in the region.

Software (Service)

The staff at Holiday Villa Pantai Indah are actually very polite and eager to please. We experienced pretty good service overall. It would be a stretch to call it a luxury five-star resort, but Holiday Villa Pantai Indah certainly has the potential to be one. Lots of work to be done.

For now, it is easy to see that the staff are still pretty raw. F&B orders can take fairly long (didn’t happen to us, but we noticed an adjacent table that had ordered food but it didn’t come for a long time). Room service, for example, isn’t available at certain timings – which is a big problem because you have guests arriving at various times of the day. Luckily, we were well prepared and came with a luggage full of food hah!

I could go on, but it wouldn’t be fair. Sometimes, we have to be careful what we wish for. It’s like unearthing an undervalued stock and hoping that no one finds out so that, so that I can accumulate more at low prices. Nikoi Island, for example, used to be a hidden gem but it is super popular and always fully booked these days.

For what we are getting at this price point, I’m more than happy to visit Holiday Villa Pantai Indah again for a sub-$400 pool villa of this quality 😀