Saturday, August 24, 2019

Holiday Inn Resort Batam - A Great Family Weekend Getaway

It really isn't an easy decision for us when it comes to finding a suitable place for a family vacation when we have to take into account our family size. We got to cater for transport for 7 pax and usually have to end up paying for 2 hotel rooms. With all these costs, a short holiday anywhere, even to neighbouring countries, can still add up a fair bit.

The kiddos were pretty excited to be going for their first family trip for the year!

Then again, booking a local chalet or having a staycation doesn't cut it too. The cost of hotel room or chalet can still be substantial, but somehow because we are still on local soil, it just doesn't seem like a proper break. No feel lor. Do you feel the same way too? Maybe it would be okay after taking into consideration the convenience lah but we would prefer somewhere further if possible for sure!

Felt like a holiday the moment we arrived at the resort!

It wasn't too long when we visited Holiday Inn Resorts Batam for a short getaway and now the school holiday beckons again. So what is it about the resort that we liked? Well for one, it is really just an under an hour ferry ride away from the Harbourfront Ferry Terminal and totally convenient! Absolutely no worries about the horrendous queues at the CIQ that you are almost bound to encounter when going up north during the holidays.

The resort provided free 2-way shuttle services from the ferry terminals to the resort and all we needed to do was look out for the resort staff and their company minivan at the pick-up point at the entrance of the ferry terminal. You can either arrange to alight at either Sekupang or Waterfront ferry terminal. You would have more choices for the ferry timings for the former but is about a 20-30 minutes ride away from the resort, while the latter is just a stone's throw away!

Our room card!

I just love how it felt when we first arrived at the resort. I just felt like leaving all the worries and work behind, and looking forward to create beautiful memories with the family in the wonderful resort setting in the 2 nights we will be there. We were definitely happy with our 2-bedroom Family Suite on the ground level with direct access to the pools through our balcony!

Can walk through the balcony door to the pools!

The spacious "pantry" area as I would call it.

The view from our balcony!

The entrance to the common toilet on the left and master bedroom on the right.

All the kiddos get a welcome gift with coloring book an pencils.

The common toilet was big and spacious!

The main bedroom with attached bathroom.

The kiddos loved the bathtub for sure!

This is the second bedroom fully decorated with the kiddos in mind!

What To Do There?

Well this is definitely not a resort where you pay through your noses for every conceivable activities to be included as part of the premium package, which you may or may not utilize ultimately also. But that doesn't mean there's nothing to do at Holiday Inn Resort Batam!

Relax at one corner and watch other guest swim.

This is how everyone ended in one room!

Two types of pillows for you to choose!

Ok they are quite family-centric and do have activities planned for the kiddos when we were there the last time. My kiddos enjoyed cookie-making and henna hand-painting as part of their Little Junior Enrichment program. Then of course, they also have the Panda Kid's Club where the little one can play or catch a movie indoors, in a safe and air-conditioned environment.

There are kids' activities for your little ones to take part. Just enquire at the reception!

We had a cookie-making session with the Executive Chef  Tonny no less!

All had fun making cookies in their favourite shapes!

The final photo before sending them into the ovens!

Never expected to meet such a talented henna artist amongst the staff! Ms Eka!

The kiddos' favourite staff, Ms Eka who took care of them at the Panda Kids Club!

Then of course there are swimming pools aplenty! There is one lazy-river styled waterplay area with a slide, a children wading pool, a free-form resort pool with a gradient slope and a lap pool behind the chinese restaurant for your exercise needs too! I was told there there are also bicycles for free usage but never had the time to try though.

Look at the white slide at the back!

Another play area where toddlers can enjoy too!

There are also floats available for free use at the free-form pool.

Hee hee... the wading pools looked really clean and inviting lor!

Having some sibling fun!

There is a KTV on level 2 of the main building if you feel like singing some songs and that is also where the kiddos discovered the game room on the same level where they can play playstation, practice their table soccer or have a game of pool too.

Steffi's first try with playing pool.

Leroy playing games with new friend.

You can also take up the KTV packages, but just do not expect posh setting ok?

But for those who cannot stay still and die die must do some shopping in the town area, the resort also provides free shuttle services to bring you to Grand Batam or Nagoya Hill for shopping or massages and back, albeit only at specific timings.

Must check out the timing for the shuttle services if you wanna go shopping!

Or you can also hire your own driver to take you to other places.

We ending up going to Grand Batam to look see and play the claw-machines!

Of course one definitely must go for massage while in Batam mah, and you can go for a totally relaxing and luxurious one right in the resort at Tea Tree Spa. Very Bali-resort feel and very pampering. The prices is cheaper than similar ones we can find in Singapore, but more expensive than other dingy ones in Batam though. I totally recommend it, and you can leave your kiddos at the nearby Panda Kid's Club while you relax!

What To Eat?

I had never really requested for Indonesian food back in Singapore but since we were there, trying their local food was a must. And I was definitely wowed by the first lunch we had, which consisted of delicious Indonesian staples like beef rendang, scrambled eggs and potato cakes. Yummy! The kids had their safe options of western food though.

Grilled chicken and the potato cakes. Chicken was tender and sweet despite the looks.

Beef Redang was how I imagined it to be.

This tastes a little like our rojak. A little spicy but a great appetizer!

This egg is delish!

Very oriental desserts indeed.

The kiddos selected from the kids menu though.

How their fish and chips looked!

For those who crave dim sum, you should check out the Dragon Inn Chinese Restaurant within the resort that serves up quite a wide range of food at reasonable pricing. Quite authentic I would say, especially the fried stuff which were pretty good, but their congee could be better though.

I think we had to order extra portions of the fried wantons!

Har Gow was not bad!

Dumpling in soup.

Char Siew Bao were fluffy and nice too.

Ok I am gonna be honest here, the international buffet at Terrace Cafe was definitely acceptable to us but nothing great to shout about too. You can find the usual spread such as cereals, eggs, waffles and sausages for breakfast. Beyond that, nothing spectacular and I hope they had better drinks other than the fruit-flavoured syrup water. Coffee was okay though! They do have special BBQ nights on Saturdays too with satays and grilled meat that added to the variety and great when fresh off the outdoor grills!

It was nice to have a cuppa and just relax by the Terrace Cafe.

The most memorable food we had at the resort, would have to be the teppanyaki dinner we had at Akatonbo Teppanyaki Restaurant. The seafood was fantastic and beef cooked to perfection. My kiddos loves udon and so I ordered two portions for them but they were disappointed when the chef prepared the udon in front of them.

The kiddo were waiting for the performance to start!

We thought it was just simple udon in soup, but the ones we ordered turned out to be fried udon instead. And guess what, they tried and loved the fried versions too and I ended having to order another portion as they gobbled them down, vegetables and all! The lobsters were absolutely delightful and I can still imagine the crunch of the super fresh meat in my mouth!

This plate of Fried Udon was the first we ever tried and the kiddos requested for more!

Missing the very flavourful beef lor!

This is truly heavenly! Very fresh and succulent lobster chunks in garlic butter!

Our Verdict

My family enjoyed our stay at Holiday Inn Resort Batam very much, as the kiddos were very much entertained by the various free facilities on site, while the wife relished the wonderful massage sessions at the spa. Oh, kids also get to eat for free to at the restaurants. For me, it was a great break from work and a good chance for me to unwind!

Starri wasn't too happy to be going back to Singapore!

Well, we all weren't too actually!

Had to take a shot at the place where the kiddos enjoyed over 2 nights!
One thing about the resort however, is that there are signs of wear and tear throughout which is not really unexpected for a property of its age. Seeing past that, it is definitely worth a visit for the family. I was told that they do have special promotions (that are not shown on their websites) at times , targeting Singaporean families . So my tip for you is to drop them an email to check if they have any ongoing deals first!

The resort lobby sure looked grand and we wish to be back again soon!