By Fiqrie Dahari on October 10, 2018
Bintan? Is that in Malaysia?
That was the question I received from over a dozen people (my parents included) on my recent writing assignment for Gaya Travel Magazine. Fortunately, having lived in Singapore, I know exactly where the island is located (yup, it’s an island).
And no, Bintan is NOT in Singapore…
As part of Indonesia’s Riau Archipelago, it takes about 45 minutes to an hour to get to Bintan by ferry (depending on the weather) from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, which is located around 15 minutes’ drive from Singapore Changi Airport. There is a shuttle bus service that connects the airport to the ferry terminal, costing SGD2 per person one way.
Little did I know that throughout all this time, there exists a getaway gem on Bintan called Club Med Bintan, representing one of the 80 tranquil Club Med villages scattered across the world, with heritage that goes back to 1950 in Paris, France in offering premium all-inclusive holiday experiences. The newly refurbished Club Med Bintan is also Tripadvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Award winner in 2017.
Providing what Club Med is well known for, which is premium ALL-INCLUSIVE resort experience (activities, drinks, meals / snacking and all-day bar), I was strongly impressed when I first set foot at Club Med Bintan, which is surrounded by a tropical island landscape that is truly breathtaking.
As the usual case with Club Med, golf and tennis are popular choices among guests (affectionately called G.M., which means ‘Gentil Membre’), and they are normally facilitated by experienced Club Med employees known as G.O. (‘Gentil Organisateur’), who are also capable sports instructors. In almost 30 of Club Med’s 80 resorts around the world, golfing is marketed as one of the resorts’ key features.
Besides, guests are also spoiled for choice when it comes to filling up their time when being at Club Med resorts since it also offers other activities such as badminton, yoga, pilates, tai chi, flying trapeze, archery, cross fitness, paddle boarding, water polo, kayaking and yachting, among others. Of course, the activities depend on which parts of the world you’re in and the kind of weather they offer. For guests seeking winter experience and snow-based activities, they can head to any of the 25 Club Med resorts located in Europe and Japan, all offer skiing and snowboarding lessons as part of its package, together with gears and snow wears, therefore guests do not need to purchase and bring their own.
Back at Club Med Bintan, golf is the resort’s main forte. And what could be better for golfers than teeing off at Ria Bintan Golf Club, which boasts an 18-hole golf course designed by the golf legend Gary Player. Club Med Bintan cleverly ties up with this golf club – which is the recipient of Asia Golf Awards 2017 as the best course in Indonesia and considered as one of the world’s best golf courses – for its guests’ golfing. Ria Bintan Golf Club also received certification from the Audubon International Classic for its environmental stewardship.
In line with promoting memorable golfing experience among its guests, Club Med further brings it up to another notch by partnering with casual luxury brand LACOSTE since both French companies share the same passion towards sports and fostering esprit de corps. LACOSTE possesses strong heritage in sports and athletics, having sponsored prestigious championships and tournaments such as the French Open.
Dubbed CLUB MED x LACOSTE, the two renowned brands have specially created a capsule collection of polo shirts in the colours of the French flag: blue, white, and red. The limited edition collection is now sold at Club Med resorts and selected boutiques throughout Asia Pacific. On top of that, the public can also purchase Club Med’s signature ‘45’ T-shirts outside its resorts for the first time via www.lacoste.com. The number ‘45’ – which was initially featured on Club Med T-shirts for the brands 45th anniversary – is well loved by G.M.’s and G.O.’s. As such, Club Med issues new ‘45’ t-shirts created in trendy designs, colours, and fabrics to be distributed to all Club Med G.M’s and G.O’s.
After spending three days and two nights at Club Med Bintan, I must say that I strongly recommend all avid golfers to stay at this remarkable resort, play golf at Ria Bintan Golf Club for world-class tee-off, and don CLUB MED x LACOSTE iconic t-shirts while playing the game for the chance to be immersed in wholesome and uplifting golfing experience with French flair at this side of the globe. After their golfing experience at Club Med Bintan, guests’ are bound to fall further in love with this sport, its heritage and sense of style, which the French excel…
This article is included in Gaya Travel Magazine Issue 13.3. Read the magazine for free HERE.