Choosing a place to go on holiday with kids can be difficult, especially if you want activities suitable for a range of age groups but don’t want to fly. Because travelling with young kids presents a challenge. After all, I want a holiday to be a proper holiday – not just for your kids but for me and the wifey as well.
Which makes Club Med Bintan seemed like a good option for families. It is situated just over an hour's ferry ride away from Singapore and everything - and I really mean everything! - from the accommodation, to the food and even all of the activities in the day and night have been taken care of for you.
All we had to do was to go absolutely crazy.
Prior to visiting Club Med Bintan, I have never been to a Club Med before. So while a part of me did not know exactly what to expect, the other part of me have been hearing wonderful things about the resort.
So what sets Club Med apart from the rest?
Firstly, Club Med is an international hotel group, it’s not just in Bintan. So whether you are looking for a beach holiday or yearning for that ski resort getaway, there is bound to be a Club Med for you. And the good news? Club Med's philosophy of being super family-friendly applies at all their locations world-wide!
Because Club Med really do understand kids, as well as the challenges parents face while on a holiday with these little adults. Their resorts offer over 60 different experiences worldwide including yoga, circus school, fitness clubs, horse riding, archery, scuba, sailing and more.
But above all, a Club Med holiday is an all-inclusive holiday. You will just have to pay when you book a vacation at Club Med and you will never need to reach for your credit card again.
While Club Med wasn’t all gleaming new, it was clean, well-appointed and welcoming. The accommodation is spacious, comfortable and with plenty of attention to detail.
If you are there with the kids, interconnecting rooms are automatically included in the package so that you get your own privacy and there is plenty of space too.
But let's face it - one does not simply go to Club Med Bintan to stay in the rooms. So the monkies were obviously raring to explore the entire resort the moment we dumped our luggage in our rooms.
At Club Med Bintan, one can do nothing or do everything.
There is of course the gorgeous beach which the monkies spent a fair amount of time at, and doing something they love.
Catching gazillions of tiny crabs, that's what! Okay, I exaggerate but you get the idea.
But Club Med Bintan is much much more than that.
Let's just say the activities came thick and fast, and the monkies simply couldn’t get enough of them!
From "What are we doing today?" to "Today, we're going to do this, then this, then this!" That was what ClubMedBintan did to the monkies. Me? I just sip on my beer and relaxed by the pool.
The thing is Club Med Bintan caters for kids from 2 to 17 years old and have separate groups accordingly to ensure your kids are entertained, stimulated and enjoy every moment - leaving parents free to enjoy time to themselves minus guilt!
From flying on the trapeze to archery, crafting to cooking, the monkies had their day packed to the brim and they didn’t have time to miss home. Erm, not that they gave it a second thought!
And what was better than discovering that Bintan has snorkelling spots? Realising that snorkelling trips are included in the Club Med Bintan package!
And the icing on the cake has got to be the crazy foam party for the kids on selected days. And that was the same time when I truly realised why kids can NEVER EVER get bored at the resort.
Petit Club Med (2 to 3 years old)
Fun and spacious premises with plenty of outdoor space. Your toddlers will have a great time with their friends, and explore a wide range of activities designed to introduce them to new experiences.
Mini Club Med (4 to 10 years old)
Club Med has thought of everything possible to ensure that the children have a unique, adventure-packed holiday, with discovery, sports and activities for each age group.
Junior Club Med (11 to 17 years old)
Teenagers can meet up and take part in the activities that interest them most, in the company of their G.Os (Gentil Organisateur) with sports activities like archery, sailing, windsurfing, beach volleyball, kayaking, and artistic activities like dancing and acting.
With the monkies being kept busy, the wifey and I had time to wander off to indulge in some activities of our own - activities I never thought I will ever do.
Like pool aerobics.
And even, gasp, Yoga.
And as if the activities were not enough, we even had time to go on a Mangrove Tour!
Even though the tour is not included in the Club Med Bintan package, it just goes to show that there are limitless options when it comes to activities at the resort - even if you do not want to remain within the resort all day long.
There is a different themed show EVERY SINGLE NIGHT - from comedy and music to even acrobatic shows. And what was even more amazing was the shows are put up by the resort's staff, or G.Os.
All of the nightly shows share a common trait though - they always succeed in getting us on our feet and dancing along.
On certain nights, kids also get the chance to perform and put up a show for the parents. Something that Ale relished tremendously!
For me, I love the exuberance displayed at the nightly shows. It is extremely difficult for anyone to NOT participate with such infectious energy all around. And that is the great thing about a Club Med resort... you don't usually interact with the staff and other guests at other resorts but at Club Med, everyone comes together every night and party away.
Oh, and did I mention that Club Med Bintan also organises disco nights for kids on certain nights too? Looks like Ale is on her way to becoming a Dancing Queen!
At Club Med Bintan, one can never possibly go hungry.
There are three buffets a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and the spread is extremely impressive.
What I love during meal times was kids were given a special tray which specified the various foods that they had to consume in order to make a balanced meal. Very helpful for parents, I say!
It is not all buffet at Club Med Bintan though. The Terrasse not only offers a splendid sea view, it also offers fine dining during dinner. And yes, it is included in the package but booking tends to fill up very quickly so do reserve early!
And there is the bar which serves up all-you-can-drink soft drinks, beer and cocktails. For the kids, there is even a special Kid's Corner - with raised steps, no less! - for them to order mocktails with silly names, like "Don't Tell Mama".
It's no wonder the monkies have a habit of flocking to this corner frequently!
For all the awesome activities and amenities that a resort possesses, the true soul of any resort is its staff.
I don’t know what’s in the water at Club Med Bintan but the G.Os there are the most friendly, helpful, delightful people you could hope to deal with. Above all, they are incredibly passionate in what they do.
A G.O wears plenty of hats at Club Med: he/she has to help with guests enquiries, provide assistance, plan activities, do emcee work, host activities, look after kids, perform nightly shows... and even eat with guests during meal times. Kudos to every single one of them who made our stay a memorable one!
If there was ever a place designed for spending precious family time and making new memories together, Club Med Bintan is it!
From the insane amount of activities to the monkies splashing idyllically in the pool, from entertaining nightly shows to incredible food choices, this has got to be the first holiday that I did NOT have to plan any itinerary.
Everything just took care of itself and the monkies were genuinely downcast when our 4 days and 3 nights of fun came to an end.
I think all Club Med holidays should come pre-loaded with a warning: IT IS UTTERLY ADDICTIVE!
So til we meet again Club Med Bintan and until then, reserve that hammock for me.
If you are interested, there is a current promotion which offers savings of up to 45%! It's valid for school holidays, peak or festive season, you name it. All you have to do is to book by 19 March 2017. and travel by 31 October 2017.
Club Med Bintan
LOT A11 JALAN PERIGI RAYA, LAGOI NORTH BINTAN UTARA, Bintan Indonesia
Packages start from S$549 per pax (4D3N, inclusive of return ferry)