Hotel of the Week: The Residence Bintan

For travel-starved Singapore residents, the Cenizaro brand’s Indonesian outpost may be just the place to spend a long weekend once borders reopen.

A one-bedroom Beachfront villa at The Residence Bintan. (All photos courtesy of the resort)

Why You Should Go

A scenic 80-minute transfer from the high-speed ferry terminal at Bandar Bentan Telani, this expansive retreat is all about relaxed sophistication on the eastern shores of Bintan. (For domestic travelers, the resort is under an hour’s drive from the airport serving the nearby city of Tanjung Pinang.) It also makes an excellent jumping-off point for exploring the lesser-known sights of the Indonesian island’s more populous southern half. The Residence Bintan spans 70 hectares of landscaped grounds carpeted in grass and beach cabbage, with swaying coconut palms and beachfront villas facing a private stretch of powdery sand.

The food here is another draw. Bintan’s marine bounty is put to good use in the beach barbecues held every Saturday night at the alfresco venue Segara. Meanwhile, signature restaurant Rica Rica offers up a modern take on regional Indonesian cuisine; menu highlights include pork-belly satay with sambal kecap (palm sugar–spiked soy sauce with chopped bird’s-eye chilies), Manado-style caramelized scallops, gado-gado served with grilled local lobster, and wagyu beef-cheek rendang.

Alfresco dining on the beach at The Residence Bintan.

A Deluxe Sea View villa on the property.

The contemporary interior of a one-bedroom Beachfront villa.

The Sanctuary Villa promises a larger plunge pool and front-seat ocean views.

The Rooms

A contemporary style with soothing neutral tones characterizes the resort’s 127 terrace rooms and villas. There are some Indonesian touches sprinkled throughout: think woven bamboo ceilings and objets like folding fans, shadow puppets, and Javanese loro blonyo figurines. Accommodations all come with a private timber deck, and every villa has a plunge pool. Guests more accustomed to city living will find the bathrooms incredibly spacious; these feature freestanding tubs, double washbasins, and adjustable screens to let in the sea breeze. At one end of the resort lies The Estate, a collection of 15 deluxe lodgings dotting a rocky headland — couples will want to book the stilted Sanctuary Villa with its seven-meter-long infinity pool above the South China Sea.

Poolside at The Residence Bintan.

The open-air lobby of the resort’s spa.

Executive chef Lambok Tambunan with freshly harvested produce at Earth Basket.

Things You Can Do

Wellness enthusiasts can look forward to Ayurvedic treatments and yoga programs courtesy of British spa brand Ila, or opt for the locally inspired Rice and Spice ritual that incorporates a temulawak (Javanese ginger) body scrub, floral shower, and back massage. The sustainability-minded should embark on a 60-minute guided tour of the resort’s on-site Earth Basket farm; fresh herbs and poultry from the facility go into the cooking classes led by executive chef Lambok Tambunan.

There’s also plenty to see and do beyond the boundaries of the resort. An island-hopping experience includes snorkeling sessions at Pulau Beralas Pasir (a.k.a. “White Sand Island”) and much larger Mapur, an uninhabited isle about a half-hour’s speedboat ride from The Residence. Nature-lovers will want to book a cruise on the mangrove-lined Sebung River, whose jungled banks provide a habitat for kingfishers, monkeys, snakes, and monitor lizards. Because of its location, the Residence Bintan is the ideal base for a culinary exploration of Tanjung Pinang or a history-filled day trip taking in Pulau Penyengat, a tiny island that was once the seat of the Riau-Lingga Sultanate, and the stilted Chinese fishing village of Senggarang.

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