Rus­tic meets lux­ury in The Res­i­dence Bin­tan

THE RES­I­DENCE BIN­TAN Port­fo­lio took a ferry to Bin­tan to get reac­quainted with the is­land and sam­ple The Res­i­dence Bin­tan’s be­spoke indulgences

Portfolio - - IN THIS ISSUE - BY MARIPET LEDESMA POSO PHO­TOS BY THE RES­I­DENCE BIN­TAN

Some peo­ple don’t see the ap­peal of Bin­tan be­yond its run-of-themill re­sorts and spas. No­body can blame them, re­ally, be­cause what else is there to do on the is­land be­sides loung­ing by the pool and get­ting a mas­sage? Well, noth­ing and ev­ery­thing, ap­par­ently. Pre­cisely the charm of the is­land — it of­fers a bu­colic, no-brainer get­away that lets you have a lazy, foot-mas­sage-kind-of-day, or en­joy your­self silly on a mini-is­land ad­ven­ture. A proper beach des­ti­na­tion that’s only 55-minute ferry ride away from Sin­ga­pore, the is­land still re­tains its rus­tic and kam­pong ap­peal, of­fer­ing a re­fresh­ing respite from the city’s hus­tle and bus­tle. The largest among the 3,200 is­lands of In­done­sia’s Riau Ar­chi­pel­ago, Bin­tan used to be a trad­ing port be­tween the China and In­dia routes in the 3rd cen­tury. Nowa­days, it is home to many beach re­sorts promis­ing to re­ju­ve­nate the weary souls.

Your Own Lit­tle Sanc­tu­ary

As if we needed an­other rea­son to set foot on the is­land, The Res­i­dence Bin­tan — a se­cluded lux­ury re­sort tucked along the south­east­ern shores of the is­land, re­cently opened its doors to the pub­lic, vy­ing to make its mark as yet an­other place to be ‘to es­cape and in­dulge’. But what ex­actly sets it apart from other re­sorts promis­ing the same tagline? Well, it starts with the wifi on­board the bus that takes you on a scenic ride from the Ban­dar Ben­tan Te­lani ferry ter­mi­nal to the re­sort. Put your feet up, snooze com­fort­ably, or watch a movie to keep you en­ter­tained along the way. A whiff of pan­dan leaves and the un­mis­tak­able sweet aroma of a freshly squeezed fruit in your wel­come drink prom­ises to un­knot all the tight mus­cles you didn’t know you have in your body. And a ses­sion at The Spa by Ila, one of the rea­sons you should visit the re­sort, would eas­ily ac­com­plish that and more. Be­spoke treat­ments with a touch of lo­cal Ayurvedic ri­tu­als in the hands of ex­pert ther­a­pists will leave you feel­ing re­ju­ve­nated, long af­ter you have show­ered off all the de­light­fully-smelling es­sen­tial oils. Space is such a lux­ury in Sin­ga­pore that when you go out of town you some­times get taken aback when pre­sented with all the space you de­serve. It was ex­actly how I felt when I stepped into my one-bed­room beach­front ac­com­mo­da­tion for the week­end. The 125sqm villa opens to an out­door deck with an in­fin­ity pool and an un­in­ter­rupted view of the beach; each one is tucked away in its own lit­tle gar­den lush enough for ex­tra pri­vacy. One of the 127 ter­races and vil­las in the re­sort, my room, like the rest of the prop­erty, is taste­fully dec­o­rated in a dis­tinct Ja­vanese de­sign with a clean, con­tem­po­rary touch.

To Chill or Not to Chill

If, like me, you al­ways want to be on the safe side when it comes to food, you would want to have some­thing fa­mil­iar on the menu just in case lo­cal of­fer­ings don’t cut it. Well, at The Res­i­dence Bin­tan, you can hap­pily scratch that thought. Although serv­ing In­done­sian cui­sine, the re­sort’s sig­na­ture restau­rant, Rica Rica, comes up with its own mod­ern ver­sions of the lo­cal dishes, which seem to ap­peal to every­one. So, what is there to do on the is­land be­yond the com­forts of your pri­vate pool? It de­pends on how ac­tive you want to be for the day. A chal­leng­ing ATV course at The Res­i­dence Bin­tan is ready to be con­quered, for ex­am­ple. A man­grove tour is an­other op­tion for a leisurely way to ex­plore the Se­bung River, or a snor­kel­ing day trip to Pu­lau Ma­pur, where pris­tine white sand beaches and crys­tal clear wa­ters await. The re­sort also of­fers cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ences, like a visit to nearby ru­ral vil­lages, or a trip to Seng­gerang, a rus­tic fish­er­men’s vil­lage where stilt houses still line along the coasts. Is­land hop­ping, jet ski­ing, batik paint­ing, and other fam­ily-friendly ac­tiv­i­ties are also avail­able, giv­ing guests the op­tion to cus­tom­ize their itin­er­ary dur­ing their stay. As for me, just like the ma­jor­ity who troops to the is­land for a quick es­cape, my fa­vorite ac­tiv­ity still con­sists of the beach, a book, and a bot­tle of sun­screen. For more in­for­ma­tion on The Res­i­dence Bin­tan, please visit www.cenizaro.com/theres­i­dence/bin­tan.

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