Most of our holidays with three little kids are just not holidays. It’s pretty much maximum hassle and minimum relaxation. But our escape to Club Med Bintan Island was different – in fact, it was the exact opposite of what our getaways usually are like.
This was our first visit to a Club Med resort and from now on, I’m 100% convinced that this is the only way to holiday. And I reckon after reading my reasons why, you’ll be booking your own Club Med escape.
Choose your own ‘holiday’
Remember those ‘choose your own adventure’ books that we read as kids. You could pretty much pick how the story would turn out. Club Med is exactly the same concept. There are so many things to do at the resorts and based on your interests and passions, you can pretty much choose what kind of holiday you would like.
At our resort, on Bintan Island, just an hour’s ferry from Singapore, there were all kinds of holidaymakers – singles, honeymooners, families and grey nomads. Club Med could accommodate them all and give them exactly what they were looking for in an escape.
If you’re an active family, Club Med Bintan Island offers a huge variety of sports and lots of energetic (as well as more relaxing) fun. The resort has a massive fully-equipped sports centre with squash, tennis, basketball courts and more. There’s also archery, which my kids and I really enjoyed trying out. And of course gorgeous swimming pools.
If you’re after a more chilled out getaway, there’s a stunning powdery beach to explore, with plenty of deck chairs and umbrellas to relax away the sunny days, with a cocktail (or ten) to sip on.
Or you can mix it up and have a bit of this and a bit of that and ultimately just have exactly the kind of holiday that makes you and your family happy and rejuvenated.
Warm welcome / Part of the Family
The incredible team of staff at Club Med Bintan Island sets this resort well above many other holiday destinations. Every single staff member whom we met during our stay, from the friendly housekeeping crew to Jonathan, the charismatic Chef de Village, were passionate about ensuring that each guest felt special.
I loved that the GO’s (Gentil Organisateur – the Club Med name for a staff member) were from countries all over the world, making a cultural melting pot of 5-star hospitality. The primary role of the GO’s is to ensure the GM’s (Gentil Membre – another Club Med-ism meaning ‘customer’) have the best holiday ever and they always go out of their way to do just that.
The kids club team were a stand-out for me. They learned my kids’ names from day one and were always smiling, enthusiastic and so much fun. My young crew grew very attached to the team during our visit and still talk about their favourite GMs.
The team go out of the way to make all guests feel like part of the family, which is probably one of the reasons as to why they have so many returning holidaymakers.
My favourite aspect of our Club Med visit was that our holiday was all-inclusive. This means that our package included all food, drink (including alcohol), activities, entertainment, watersports and kids club.
I loved that I didn’t have to stress about our budget from the moment we walked into the resort. The kids absolutely adored being able to go up to the bar and ordering whatever drink took their fancy. The first day they went a bit overboard with enthusiasm – trying out every flavour of milkshake and mocktail. But then became a bit more discerning over the following days.
Hubby and I aren’t big drinkers but we really enjoyed ordering a cocktail whenever we felt like it or having a glass or three of wine while chilling out on the pool chairs.
It takes a massive stress out of the holidays not having to worry about getting a bill after every meal and activity. This really is the only way to holiday!
We had adjoining rooms at Club Med and were impressed with the comfort of our accommodation. The decor was all about tropical tranquility with an Indonesian twist. The three kids comfortably slept in one room while hubby and I had a super-massive bed in the adjoining room.
The bathroom was well-equipped with luxurious spa products.
To be honest, with all the exciting activities on offer, we didn’t actually spend that much time in our rooms but it was still welcome to return to our private haven at the end of an action-packed day.
The kids’ favourite part of the room was the adorable towel animal that our wonderful housekeeper created each day. There was a snake, bat, whale and a myriad of other zoo creatures.
Upon check-in we received a full schedule of the regular activities available at our resort. You can use this to plan your day or feel free to ignore it if you just want to collapse on the beach chairs in paradise.
If you’re in to watersports, there are sessions for sailing lessons, kayaking and snorkelling. There are tennis lessons, golf, pilates, yoga, futsal games and archery.
Flying Trapeze & Circus School
And the highlight for us was the thrilling flying trapeze. The impressive trapeze holds pride of place in the resort’s extensive gardens. The trapeze GO’s are mostly professional circus performers and make flying through the air look easy.
The kids club get to trapeze every morning, then teens get their turn and finally adults get their adrenaline rush late in the afternoon.
I found it quite amusing that the kids (as young as 4) showed no fear as they scaled the ladder and made the leap of faith effortlessly, while the grown-ups were pretty much crying with nerves.
The adults get to have a practice go on the ground before taking their turn in the air and let me tell you, this was one of the most exciting and scary things I have ever done. But the more times you do it, the more confident you get, so it’s a good idea to try this out a few times during your stay.
Then on top of these regulars, there’s also a daily schedule that summarises the additional activities that are available. It often starts off with an assortment of fitness classes – yoga on the beach, a power walk and a cardio class (to sweat out all the delicious food on offer). Then there’s the super popular aqua gym followed by fun pool games.
Some days there will be an archery competition, others a volleyball tournament, there’s tie-dye t-shirt making, ping pong or dance and Zumba classes (which we all loved).
Club Med Bintan Island also has a luxurious spa which offers all kinds of indulgent treatments and packages. It’s a good idea to get your spa bookings in early, as the slots do fill up fast.
At many resorts, there isn’t much to do after dinner and if you’re seeking a bit more excitement, you’ll probably have to leave the premises to get it. At Club Med Bintan, you never have to step a toe out of the resort. There is so much to do during the day and after dark, that you could pretty much be busy 24 hours a day (pity, that we have to sleep!).
Each night there is an evening dress theme and guests are encouraged to get into the costumed spirit of things. The GOs go all out in theming themselves up and I noticed that those more regular guests came prepared with clothes for the occasion.
During our visit, there was Flower Power, 45/88, All White, Blue/Pink & White and Black & Glow themes.
Each night at 8:45pm, there is a nightly show, performed by the talented cast of GMs. Initially, I was a bit concerned about the late hour of the show. Our kids are usually in bed by 8 so I originally pretty much gave up on the idea that we’d be seeing the shows. But we all got into the holiday vibe and the kids insisted on staying up to watch the shows. They went to bed later but also slept in later in the morning, so we all kind of adapted to Club Med time.
The shows were fabulous and full of fun. The Music Hits show was impressive with a high-tech CGI backdrop, awesome costumes, props and toe-tapping tunes. Jono, the head of the village, was a bit of a superstar and the audience loved seeing all their favourite GMs up on stage.
There was a cabaret, a sports comedy, a mini club show starring our kids and the most incredible aerial show over the pool.
Then if you’re still keen to boogie on, there’s an after party that goes on into the wee hours. On the late night menu was a foam party, limbo, beach party, Zumba party, glow party and more.
Food & Drink
It’s not surprising that eating and drinking is a BIG activity at the resort.
The food is ever-flowing and never-ending – you can pretty much eat every hour of the day non-stop. And with so much food on offer, I was absolutely blown away by the quality and depth of flavours of the food. I am a passionate foodie and I really couldn’t fault the variety and taste of the cuisine on offer.
You can pretty much eat from the moment you wake up until you go to bed. Breakfast kicks off at 7am with a mega-buffet in the Waterfall Restaurant. The breakfast is a foodie’s paradise with every kind of food you could ever imagine. There are freshly baked pastries, waffles and pancakes with a chocolate fountain drizzle. The talented chefs are on hand to make your eggs to order plus there are lots of Asian dishes, a huge assortment of fresh fruit, yoghurt and cereal. Each day, there is a new variety of delicious food to choose from so your palate can never ever get bored.
If you oversleep, or are still hungry after your early morning feast, you can head off to the La Terrace Speciality Restaurant by the beach for the late brekkie which runs until 11am.
Oh, and don’t forget to try out the fresh slow pressed juice from the Matahari Beach Bar. I loved sampling all the different and delicious flavours.
The amazing staff then set up scrumptious snacks by the Santai (pool) Bar just in case you’re peckish.
Next up is lunch (which also has a late version in La Terrace). Our midday meal was buffet style and filled with gourmet treats. I loved how the specialty meals always had a sample dish so you could see what the food looked like before you order. There were different zones for different cultural cuisines. At the Indian section, the chef in charge was a renowned Indian chef and created the most amazing curries, sambals, rotis and traditionally baked Naan bread (in an authentic tandoor). There was Korean food, Japanese dishes, make-your-own- Chinese-style stirfries, a large salad bar as well as American cuisine, such as hamburgers and grills.
The kids got their own plastic trays with different compartments and they loved touring the buffet before making their choices – which invariably included kids’ favourites like chips, nuggets, pizza and spaghetti.
By far, dessert was the highlight of the kid’s meals and the ice-cream station with a selection of flavours, sauces and toppings was very popular.
Dinner (starting at 6:30pm in the Waterfall Restaurant) was similar to lunch with a huge variety of tasty dishes to pick from.
You could also pre-book to try the a la carte dinner at La Terrace. These dinners had a slightly more formal, special touch to them and while kids are most welcome, we preferred to let our lot eat with kids’ club those nights so hubby and I could have a romantic dinner date. All meals are included in the package so no need to pay extra for anything. But you do need to make a reservation at La Terrace so do that early on in your stay to guarantee a table.
Super-Special White Party
There were also super-special meals such as the night of the White party where the entire resort ate in tables set up outside near the pool. The staff worked tirelessly to move the entire indoor dining room outside and then back again after our meal. It was the most gorgeous memorable experience and the food was outstanding.
And now….the drinks. The extensive bar menu includes juices, soft drink, wine, spirits, beers, cocktails, milkshakes and hot drinks. There is an extra charge for champagne, premium wine and premium spirits but we found the included drink selection more than generous.
It was such a pleasure to be able to enjoy a glass or two of wine or an afternoon cocktail without worrying about the bill. And of course, the kids loved trying out the different milkshakes and juices on offer.
There’s never a guarantee that our kids will willingly go to kids’ club. But the kids club team at Club Med Bintan Island were so warm and wonderful that our children actually asked when they could join in with the kids club activities.
The kids’ club is divided into age divisions – there’s the baby club (from 4 months), petit club (2-3 years), the mini club (4- 10 years) and the Juniors – a teenage paradise for kids up to 17 years.
There is a pretty basic kids HQ which has an outdoor playground and mini splash pool. But the majority of the activities take place around the resort. You can either drop your kids off from 8:30 until 5pm and then again from 6:30pm until 8:30pm or like we did, you can pick and choose the activities that appeal to your little ones. You get a detailed schedule of the kids club activities so you can plan your day accordingly.
The day gets going with circus school at 9am, followed by archery. Then there are a variety of fun things to do each day – nature walks, arts & crafts, tie dying t-shirts, sports and more.
There is also a special area in the restaurant where the kids club eats together.
There are also at least two mini-club shows a week where your kids can be the stars (my lot LOVED this) plus every evening, there is a special Mini Club event – a show, movies, parties and more.
THE BEST HOLIDAY EVER!
All in all, I can say without one doubt that Club Med is THE Ultimate family holiday. And it’s really reasonably priced taking into account all the food and activities that are included. Try it out for your next holiday – I promise, you will not be disappointed.
What You Need To Know About Club Med Bintan Island
Where: Club Med Bintan is just a short ferry ride from Singapore, Club Med Bintan Islands sits along a beautiful private beach and has something for everyone, whether they want an active or relaxing escape – it’s all at your fingertips
What’s Included: Accommodation; All-day gourmet dining; Premium open bar; Sports & Activities; Kids clubs from 4 to 17 y/o; Live entertainment; Free Wi-Fi
Book: Visit www.clubmed.com.au/r/Bintan-Island/ to book your dream family escape
HINT - If you book in advance, Club Med offers some fantastic discounts. Join the Club Med mailing list to keep up to date with all the latest special offers.
Yes, that’s right! Club Med is giving one lucky MoM Member family a 7 night all-inclusive holiday for a family of 4 at their choice of Club Med island destination. If you’re the lucky winner, you’ll be able to choose from Club Med Bali or Bintan Island in Indonesia, Club Med Kani in the Maldives, Club Med La Pointe aux Canonniers in Mauritius, or Club Med Kabira Ishigaki in the Okinawa Region of Japan.