Fresh from our trip to Bangkok, we went on a 2D1N “spa-cation” to Holiday Inn Resort Batam with the main aim of trying out their award winning Tea Tree Spa. Initially disappointed because the dates we wanted were fully booked, an email from The Missus to Holiday Inn Batam revealed that while they are no longer accepting online booking, we would still be able to secure a booking with them through email correspondence. Kind of strange huh?
To make it even better, they provided a list of packages that are not listed anywhere on their website. The package that we took up is listed below.
Holiday Inn Batam Spa Escapade Package S$160 Nett / Person
- Stay 2 days 1 nights at one-bedroom suite for 2 persons
- Daily buffet breakfast for 2 persons
- Two way ferry ticket for 2 persons (ferry ticket only)
- Free land transfer from/to Waterfront City and Sekupang ferry terminal
- Welcome drink upon arrival
- 60-mins traditional Indonesian / Balinese Massage
- 30-mins refreshing facial (we changed this to additional 30-mins massage)
- Free steam bath, sauna, and jacuzzi
- 20% discount for additional spa treatment
- Minimum travel for 2 persons
To get an idea of why the package listed that “ferry ticket only” is paid for, you’ll need to know the price structure for the ferry operator – Sindo Ferry. Essentially, the package is stating that all tax and surcharges associated with the ferry tickets need to be separately paid for, which amounts to an additional S$27 per person.
- Two-Way Return = S$20.00
Singapore to Batam
- Passenger Departure Fee = S$6.00
- Fuel Surcharge = S$14.00
Batam to Singapore
- Batam Tax = S$7.00
Our ferry departs from Harborfront Ferry Terminal, and would first make a stop at Sekupang Ferry Terminal, before arriving at Waterfront City. You can check out the detailed ferry schedule at Sindo Ferry website. We took the earliest ferry from Singapore at 11.30am, and returned from Batam at 4.50pm the following day.
I realized that I had forgotten to apply for overseas notification for the trip while I was at the ferry terminal. A quick search online revealed a simple solution. Simply SMS the following message to 36767 and reply “Y” to confirm it.
[box type=”info”]mnc <country> <departure ddmmyyyy> <return ddmmyyyy> <nric> <mobile number> [/box]
MNC stands for MINDEF Notification Centre, in case you’re wondering.
Compared to Sekupang, Waterfront City is pretty rundown in all aspects and the service can get a little slow. Be patient and enjoy the slower pace of life, shall we? We eventually cleared customs at 12pm Batam time. Batam time is one hour before Singapore’s time.
You do not have to worry about buying the ferry return ticket at this point in time. You can ask Holiday Inn’s reception to settle it for you while you’re at the resort.
A representative from Holiday Inn Resort Batam was holding a sign – pretty easy to spot. Anyway, the resort is less than 5-minutes drive away from the ferry terminal. In case of any mishaps, simply give the resort a call, you’ll be picked up and sipping a cocktail at the resort in no time.
Holiday Inn Resort Batam 1-Bedroom Suite
Arriving at Holiday Inn Resort, each of us (there were about eight guests being ferried in the minibus) was given a welcome drink while we waited to check in. Even though it was only 12.15pm, we were able to check-in immediately plus a free upgrade to a deluxe 1-Bedroom Suite! Our second upgrade in as many trips overseas, how lucky can we get?
Our room number is 3907 – we would be staying in Block 3, Level 9, Room 07. The room has an additional key card in the power slot. A cool, air-conditioned room awaits us.
Entering the suite, it leads to the living room in front, kitchen on the left, and bedroom on the right.
From our 9th floor suite, we had a good view of the pool below from the balcony.
Flanked by accommodation blocks, the main building in front of the pool is where the reception, Terrace Cafe and main facilities reside.
The kitchen is huge but under-utilized by us. Had a meal or two here, that’s all. It would be great for families I suppose.
A welcome card was thoughtfully left on the kitchen table. The only problem was that the name is wrong. Haha! We didn’t really care about this. After all, we’re not looking at a 5-stars resort here. I had digitally erased part of the name on the envelope.
Prices are all denominated in 1,000 Rupiah. At the time of writing, S$1 is approximately equivalent to 8,900 Rupiah.
The bedroom had a super comfortable, king-sized bed! We kept dozing off here!
A simple work desk that doubled up as a TV console.
Our suite came with a pretty luxurious bathroom! Huge bathtub? Check. Separate shower cubicle? Check.
On our first day at Holiday Inn Batam, we had a little problem with the water temperature. Even after turning the knob to the maximum setting, the water was only room temperature at best. However, there was no problem the following day.
The entire bathroom was decked out with marble tiles. The seal wasn’t that tight for the shower door, which caused something of a mini-flood! Be careful, it can get slippery!
Nope, we don’t have “his” and “her” basins here.
Full set of Holiday Inn bathroom amenities.
Food & Room Service
We ordered quite a bit of room service. Yeah, we’re lazy bums. Even though it was pricey, some the food turned out to be pretty awesome!
Batam Favourite Ayam Penyet | 120,000 Rupiah (recommended)
Deep fried marinated spring chicken served with boiled fresh vegetables, fried bean curd, bean cake, crackers, sambal and steamed rice. How can you go wrong with fried chicken?! The chicken was fantastic, but the rice seemed a little too sticky for our liking.
Sate Ayam Atau Daging Sapi (Half Dozen) | 98,000 Rupiah
Skewered chicken or beef served with spicy peanut sauce, onions, cucumber and rice cake. Very flavorful peanut sauce that is really hard to beat.
Nasi Bakar | 120,000 Rupiah
Grilled wrapped banana leaf rice served with an assortment of condiments ; egg curry, beef rendang, serundeng udang (fried prawn with grated coconut), chicken curry, stir fried vegetables, bean curd and bean cake.
Deep Fried Calamari Rings | 98,000 Rupiah
Deep fried crispy calamari rings served with lemon mayo dip.
Mie Goreng | 98,000 Rupiah
Stir fried egg noodles with prawns, fish cake, squids, mustard leaf, julienne carrot, bean sprouts, bean curd, potatoes, tomatoes, chili topped with sliced lettuce and fried shallots. Tasted a tinge of sweetness when we would have preferred more spiciness.
Fried Chicken Wings | 85,000 Rupiah (recommended)
Fried chicken wings served with Thai chili dip. Crispy on the outside, soft and juicy on the inside. Seriously the best wings we’ve had for as long as we can remember.
Baked Cheese Cake with Chocolate Ice Cream | 95,000 Rupiah
As above. First cheese cake we’ve ever had that came with sugar work. And kiwi. Funky.
There are a total of four restaurants located inside Holiday Inn Batam. Considering how deserted the place is (there is literally nothing outside the resort), this can be a blessing I guess.
- Terrace Cafe – International cuisine including Indonesian
- Akatonbo – Japanese Teppanyaki
- Thai Orchid Restaurant
- Dragon Inn Chinese Restaurant
Terrace Cafe is the only place that serves breakfast, which came included together with our spa-cation package. Didn’t bother to take much pictures at the Terrace Cafe. Pretty standard fare for breakfast buffet with an eggs station, local cuisine, pancakes, bacon, sausages, bread, cereal, fruits, pastry etc. Erm, you get the idea.
The age of the resort is really starting to show. Generally clean, the place does seem like it needed a makeover. One of the lifts was under maintenance while we were there.
The small building here is the gym which was adequately stocked with equipment.
Throughout the resort, there were notices like this advertising the daily’s special and restaurant deals etc.
Not all buildings are connected with a covered walkway. Use these umbrellas if it rains!
Tea Tree Spa
Here it is, the main reason we’re here in Batam. The award-winning Tea Tree Spa.
Located at one end of the resort, it was meant to be kept away from the hustle and bustle of the resort.
A 90-minutes Balinese massage treatment costs (580,000 Rupiah) S$63 before taxes, which was a steal. Turns out the treatment was great!
Having made the spa appointment previously, we arrived at spa reception but we had to wait a little bit for the guests before us to finish their treatment. We were offered a tamarind tea while we waited.
After five minutes, we were led to a villa where we had our treatment. We were given towels and asked to change into our disposable undies. Didn’t see any safe that we could use to keep valuables though. Better to keep them in your room.
We started with a simple foot wash, which was a nice surprise – haven’t had one of these since our trip to Bali! Then we were made to lie face down on the massage beds for 90-minutes of heavenly massage. The masseur were light-footed and didn’t make any sound that disturbed the tranquility when they walk.
The peaceful music was great. Even though the massage area wasn’t enclosed, it was comfortably ventilated by the ceiling fan. Remember to tell the masseur that you’d prefer a gentler massage if you have a low threshold for pain. Halfway through the treatment, it started drizzling slightly and the sound of raindrops added a different dimension to the soothing massage.
Verdict? Totally value for money. I would give it a 4.5 stars rating!
Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall
The following day, we checked out of Holiday Inn Batam Resort at 11:00am so that we could take the shuttle bus to Nagoya Hill Shopping for 3-hours of shopping. Payment are to be made in Indonesian Rupiah currency and not Singapore dollars. Holiday Inn Batam Resort used the exchange rate of S$1 : 9,000 Rupiah.
We left our luggage with Holiday Inn for collection when we’re back from Nagoya Hill. Hopping on to the shuttle bus, the journey took roughly 30-minutes. Cheap knock-off branded goods aren’t really our cup of tea, so we walked around a little bit, bought some household supplies at the hypermart (some stuff were incredibly cheap) and settled for a little bit of food.
At the top of the Nagoya Hill is the Studio 21 cinema, where they sell a kick-ass sweet and salted popcorn there. Just order the sweet popcorn. Must-try!
A&W ran out of curly fries @#$%^ so we were forced to make do with BFC – Best Fried Chicken.
Two-Piece Chicken Set | 40,909 Rupiah
Curly Fries | 19,090 Rupiah
Nasi Goreng | 18,181 Rupiah
Want to re-create our Holiday Inn Experience?
Saturday (Singapore Time)
11:30am – Sindo Ferry Departure
12:15pm – Sekupang Ferry Terminal (do not alight here)
Saturday (Batam Time)
12:00pm – Cleared immigration at Waterfront City Ferry Terminal
12:15pm – Check in at Holiday Inn Batam Resort (arrange ferry/shuttle bus timings)
4:00pm – Tea Tree Spa
Sunday (Batam Time)
10:30am – Check out
11:00am – Shuttle bus to Nagoya Hill
2:45pm – Shuttle bus from Nagoya Hill
3:45pm – Arrive at Holiday Inn Batam
4:00pm – Arrive at Waterfront City Ferry Terminal
4:45pm – Sindo Ferry Departure
Tip – Sindo Ferry is a two-stop ferry service, so most of the people would have already got on the ferry either at Harbourfront Ferry Terminal or Waterfront City Ferry Terminal. Getting on at Sekupang Ferry Terminal is generally a bad idea. If you are travelling with the elderly or kids and would like to sit together, it might be a problem.
[button link=”http://www.ihg.com/holidayinnresorts/hotels/us/en/reservation” newwindow=”yes”] Holiday Inn Resort Website[/button]