Sparkle in Paradise
Since its inception in the early 1990s, Banyan Tree Bintan has been the yardstick for luxury resort destinations in Indonesia. Just an hour’s ferry ride from the international hub of Singapore, Banyan Tree Bintan has always offered an unparalleled level of accommodation with its iconic white-washed luxurious individual villas overlooking the South China Sea. Combined with a stunning tropical backdrop of white sandy beaches and along with impeccable service, delicious fare and warm Indonesian hospitality, Banyan Tree has always been a mecca for travel enthusiasts globally.
However, with more and more resorts being built on Bintan Island, Banyan Tree has had to up their ante. And they’ve done so with some thoughtful and diverse offerings of bespoke activities and events for their guests. Think; high adrenalin sports adventures, luxurious day spas, conservationist activities and, of course, delicious food and wine events.
Words often fail to convey just how relaxed and indulged one is at Banyan Tree Bintan. The resort’s 64 villas are all built in traditional Balinese design with thatched roofs and big, airy spaces, and are perfect for couples seeking a romantic getaway. Marble flooring, a four-poster bed with mosquito netting and a daybed in your own private courtyard to drink in the picture-perfect views of the sea. Lie there and the relaxing sound of the gentle waves lapping on the rocks is worth the price of the accommodation alone.
Of course, there are options for family or group stays, but in reality, Banyan Tree is about pairs in paradise.
There are two beautiful swimming pools and an excellent Banyan Tree Spa with five treatment villas offering the most soothing of Balinese massages using tailor-made essential oils. For the sporting, the resort’s beautifully manicured, Greg Norman-designed 18-hole Laguna Bintan Golf course offers a real challenge as it hugs the rugged coastline.
To accommodate families and bigger groups, Banyan Tree has invested in two well-appointed nearby sister properties that can be accessed by the ever-present chaffeur-driven golf buggies or by foot. Angsana Bintan is more your traditional resort-style holiday, while the newly opened Cassia Resort offers self-contained apartments to indulge in a piece of Bintan without breaking the budget.
There’s plenty to do for any age from sea-based activities to bike riding, to tree trek walks and even conservation work. The main beach is a popular breeding ground for turtles and the resort has taken on the task of ensuring the future of these majestic sea creatures with a dedicated team managing their well being.
Of course, you can simply relax, eat and drink at a range of dining options. Treetops is an all-day Indonesian restaurant that also offers Western specialties at breakfast. Saffron plates up fine-dining Thai cooked with finesse, while The Cove serves delicious Mediterranean fare, with delicious fresh produce and contemporary plating in an airy room with views that seem to stretch endlessly across the blue waters of the South China Sea.
Le Duo Suisse
Phenomenal fare was the order of the day for the first ever Fine Dining and Culinary Event Series launched in February 2018. Held in conjunction with esteemed Champagne House Taittinger, the chef’s culinary experience of four nights of dining pleasure combined with four days of cooking masterclasses was Banyan Tree Bintan’s first foray into offering truly top end food and wine in paradise.
The inaugural event featured ‘Le Suisse Duo’, two renowned Swiss chefs from the three Michelin-starred B. Violier Restaurant de l’hotel de Ville in Crissier (near Lausanne) – Jeremy Desbraux and Josselin Jacquet. Jeremy first came to the attention of the culinary world when he won the 2015 Le Taittinger Prix Culinaire International, while 25-year-old Josselin Jacquet, was awarded Prix au Chef Patissier by the International Academy of Gastronomy late last year.
Poetry on the plate
Selector had a seat at the first night’s dinner, held at The Cove restaurant – a mouth-watering six-course degustation menu with each dish perfectly paired with a Taittinger Champagne. Highlights included Roasted Mustard Lamb & Fondant Potato matched with Taittinger Brut Reserve, King Crab & Citrus Shell Jelly with Taittinger Prelude Grands Crus, Pineau des Charentes Foie Gras with Taittinger Champagne Prestige Rose, and the pinnacle of the night – Roasted Sea Bass in Curry Sauce paired with the sublime Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2006. Stunning.
The following day, Jeremy and Josselin hosted a hands-on cooking masterclass teaching the previous night’s guests two dishes from their menu – Bresse Chicken and Raspberry Souffle.
Banyan Tree Bintan manager Nicolas Belzic said that while the event offered a Michelin-starred dining experience in the tropics, it also served to give some world-class culinary exposure and training to their local kitchen team.
“Most of them are very passionate about fine cuisine and spend their time off work reading or watching Michelin Chefs do demos online,” says Nicolas. “So this type of event is a good way for them to learn new techniques and develop new ideas for dishes.”
More to serve
Banyan Tree Bintan’s culinary event series will continue this June with the Taste of Thailand event at Saffron. Thai guest chef Pornthip Eumanan from Banyan Tree Bangkok will preside over a seven-day Thai culinary experience. If the inaugural event is anything to go by, then there are plenty of delicious reasons to plan your next South-East Asia experience.
For more details of upcoming culinary events visit banyantree.com/bintan