Breakfast buffets are truly the way to my heart.
I can’t imagine anything better than breakfast buffets and swim-up pool bars with underwater seats and Lagoon has both so I was pretty much in heaven the entire weekend! We woke up to a gorgeous second day and headed to the shuttle bus to go into Plaza Lagoi – a shopping area/town center – to explore a bit more off the resort.
There were a great many more people who wanted to take the shuttle than there was room on the actual bus to fit them all. Luckily we managed to squeeze in but for such a large resort, they should really have some larger busses!
We arrived just around 1pm so headed straight to lunch at Food*Gram, a really trendy indoor food market! Designed with clean lines, lots of colors, and defined shapes, the market was an instagramming paradiso.
Each food station had its own menu of specialties – often with its Instagram handle displayed proudly above the stall.
You went around to the different stalls placing your orders, then chose drinks and paid your bill at the cashier stall all while a local band played in the corner and sang out classic favorites, with lunching people joining in every now and then.
Families and groups crowded the food mart. It was obviously the place to be in the AC with the sun blaring down outside. Couldn’t pass up the chance to order everything with the gorgeous blue table backdrop!
Green beans and garlic kailan in a peanut satay sauce
Honey charcoal chicken with rice
Pork and mutton satay
Grilled pork with rice
And a honey tea and mango smoothie! I ordered the mango juice and watched the man below peel two mangoes, throw them in a blender with some water, and hand it to me. Fresh af!
A few people had recommended the cheap Indonesian massages in Plaza Lagoi so off we went to get poked, prodded, and rubbed! At one point, my masseuse cracked my back with like a rippling cracking effect that was extremely alarming because it was really loud and she also laughed as though surprised which was even more alarming. She also didn’t speak english so there was no way to ask her not to attempt new tricks on me #prayers.
Having survived, and feeling utterly relaxed and ready for a nap, we headed to the beach to watch the sunset before the shuttle returned for us.
The tide was out and you could walk for what seemed like miles on wet sand before hitting the water. Families were picnicking, children ran through the waves, and thousands of tiny crabs were running around in the sand…which no one seemed to notice! Once we saw them, we couldn’t stop tiptoeing around which made our goings rather slow.
There was a great little bar space called Warung Yeah right on the beach. It was a multi-story building that kind of reminded me of a WeWork office. There were tables laid out on the first floor with some people eating, a few on laptops, others lounging and chatting. An empty space on the second floor which didn’t look quite finished. And an al fresco bar on the roof overlooking the ocean. We had some cocktails and watched the sun go down all the while pinching ourselves that this incredible beach with this incredible view and this incredible lifestyle was now our own.
Back at Lagoon, we dressed for dinner and headed back to Nayalan. It was the nicest resto on the grounds and the waterfront seating couldn’t be beat. For as great of an experience we had Thursday night, Friday night fell completely down the rabbit hole. They lost our reservation and after finally seating us, the waiters took hours to come over and then even more hours to bring us our wine. The dishes came out at all the wrong times with Tim’s main coming before the appetizer and then my main taking eons after the other two dishes to show up. Dessert was never even offered and we literally had to stand up to get the bill.
HOWEVER, this wasn’t a 5 star restaurant and we never expected it to be. We spent the evening drinking wine on the beach, chatting and watching the waves. What could be better than that? It was still a perfect night.
Despite all of my attempts to stay sunscreened, I ended up with my nose and forehead burned so I stayed under the umbrella Sunday. We lounged by the beach to take in our last hours before catching the ferry back to SG.
One interesting note – TT had read there there had been an oil spill a few years ago near Bintan which had really affected the water in the area. We didn’t find any reviews mentioning this so thought it wasn’t relevant but it was! There were big signs on the beach forbidding swimming because of tar contamination and TT actually wound up with black oily stuff on his foot when we dipped our toes in at Plaza Lagoi! You couldn’t see it and people were still splashing around and we definitely waded in on Sunday but the warnings were there. Too bad because while the pool was fab, the ocean is just always so much better. Maybe next time!
We had a fabulous time at Bintan Lagoon and would absolutely recommend it to anyone looking at Bintan for a weekend trip. It wasn’t a luxury hotel but the prices didn’t reflect a luxury hotel. It was cheap and fantastic and had absolutely everything we needed. The room was clean, our balcony looked right onto the ocean, there were plenty of activities to keep you occupied and having fun. And there was a swim up bar. I mean helloooooo, that’s the only point of vacation in my eyes. We can’t wait to go back!
Next up – Taiwan!!