The Banyan Tree Resort
Bintan, Indonesia

After six weeks of school, we finally arrived at our first break, a three day weekend at the end of September. Since the hectic pace of school saw our birthdays come and go without much notice or fanfare, we decided early in our stay in Singapore to do something special on the first break. The Banyan Tree Bintan is a five star resort listed in the Small Luxury Hotels of the World Guide. We had previously stayed in such a hotel during our millennium trip to the Lighthouse Hotel in Sri Lanka. The Banyan tree is a positively idyllic and private setting, worlds away from the hustle and bustle of Singapore and SAS.
 
 

The Beach at the Banyan Tree--Click to EnlargeAn Uncrowded Beach--Even on a Saturday!Bintan is an island off the coast of Indonesia, about a one hour ferry ride from Singapore. The island itself is larger than Singapore, and the Banyan Tree Resort is located on Bintan's coast, in the midst of a tropical rain forest. One of the draws, of course, are the beautiful unspoiled beaches at the resort. Even on a Saturday with full occupancy, you can see (at right) how relatively uncrowded it is! This is in part because the resort also has several pools to accommodate the 100 or so guests that stay here when the resort is fully occupied--as it is nearly every weekend. In addition to sun, sand, snorkeling, there are every description of boat rides (including being towed on the monstrosity you see to the left), sailing, kayaking, and, for landlubbers, golf.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Click here for a larger image of the Guest Center To the left is the entrance to the Banyan Tree. Guests are picked up at the ferry in a private car and driven 10 minutes to the resort, on the northwest corner of Bintan. The guest center is on a hill which overlooks the canopy of the rainforest, and contains a guest library, video center, e-mail and business center. After a welcome drink of fruit and ginger, guests are whisked off to their villas. The villas are located slightly below the guest center, at roughly the tops of the rainforest trees. Access is by a one-lane road, and guests are transported everywhere on golf carts or "buggies."
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Villas are located in the trees, in the heart of the rainforest Each of the villas is located on stilts, so that the deck and bay window look out over the canopy of the tropical rain forest onto the South China Sea. The surrounding foliage also ensures privacy, so that one never sees nor hears the neighbors. Our particular villa was at the end of a row, so that we had a corner view, the ocean on both sides of the deck. Guests move to and fro in the resort on golf carts, dispatched at your request. The two primary areas are the beach area (the first picture, above) which also has a pool and two restaurants, one serving Thai food and one serving Mediterranean fare. We lunched on pasta and sandwiches at the latter for lunch, and dined on superb Asian food at the former that evening.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Center of the Banyan Tree Complex A central location in the Banyan Tree Resort is the area shown to the left. It includes a pool/sun deck area. To the right is the continental restaurant the Crosswinds, where a splendid complimentary breakfast was served each morning. We also had a spectacular lobster dinner there the following evening. To the left of the pool is are two small shops, one a gallery for resort products and one that contains massage oils and paraphernalia. Below the pool area is a full spa, where Tracy went for a facial and massage as part of her birthday present. Dining can also be arranged on the seaside balcony, pictured to the right of the pool.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Click here for a larger image of beach and poolView from the beach looking up at the Saffron and Cove Restaurant The beach is not the only draw to the Banyan Tree Resort. Next to the beach is a bar/pool with a sun deck area for those who don't fancy the hot sand. The picture to the right shows the view coming down from the welcome center, and captures the pool and beach areas. The picture to the right highlights the sun deck area. Above the umbrellas you can make out the top of the restaurant building which houses both the Saffron Restaurant (Asian food) and The Cove (Mediterranean food). Both offered excellent fare, although we preferred the Saffron--prawn rolls to die for. Below Tracy prays to the god of seafood for a good meal at Saffron. We found that prayer followed by Singapore dollars was the talisman that worked best.
Terima Kasih Untuk Makanan Yang Paling Bagus! (Thank you for the Best Food) 
 








Our Jacuzzi Villa at the Banyan Tree

While at the Banyan Tree, we stayed in one of their Jacuzzi Waterfront Villas, propped on stilts, which afford an unparalleled view of the South China Sea. The picture below is a rotating panorama, which captures both the outside deck and the interior as well. The image is a bit dark, as it was overcast on the day the pictures were taken. The panorama will rotate by itself, and you can use the controls at the bottom of the panorama to zoom in and out. If you place your mouse cursor inside the panorama, it will show you pop-up text that explains the layout. If you find this distracting and annoying, leave the cursor alone..you're the boss.


 
 

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