R & R in Batam, Riau Islands

Because our favourite spa haunt is a mere hour ferry ride away and is such an easy trip, we find every excuse to visit as often as is deemed necessary. Nothing like a nice massage to gently knead away aches and lets us escape into lavender scented bliss, finding peace. Precisely because of this, Tea Tree Spa at the Holiday Inn, Batam is hallowed grounds for us. For the price of a 90min long spa session in Singapore at a reasonably well-established outlet, you get an overnight stay with breakfast, return transport, and a 2.5hr long spa –at a very good spa – in Batam. How great a deal is that? It’s simply irresistible.

There is another good option – Tempat Senang Resort & Spa, run by a nice caucasian couple. The rooms here are extremely interesting and luxurious – each one is of a different theme and there is even a treehouse, though small in number and on the pricey side. Their beer-can chicken which was offered for dinner is simply to die for. Oh, and they’ve a pretty impressive library of DVDs that you can rent for free or stick the thumbdrive that comes together with your room key into the computer’s hard drive to download. Of course you have to return them in the end!

For each room booked, there’s a 3-hrs spa package that comes along with it. I must say that the spa experience was mediocre at best, and I was horrified to find a big wild lizard peeking at me when I was washing the cinnamon scrub off myself at the outdoor shower. I was in and out in a flash, and made sure the door was tightly shut behind me!  But the property was nestled in a nice jungle-ly nook, next to a golf course. So it comes with the territory.

We also like to run around the shopping complexes while we are there – Megamall, Nagoya and a new one Habourfront Mall. Our staples include Ayam Penyet (crushed fried chicken with rice and a side of tofu and soybean cake) for lunch, JCO donuts & latte at tea-time, Matahari Supermarket for munchies, gum, buah keluak nuts, occasionally a movie (nice theatre at Megamall) and the other shops for a variety of trinkets & knick-knacks.

Super good for a weekend getaway!

 

[First published: 25 June 2011]

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