Living in Singapore, we are surrounded by fabulous beach destinations, many of which are only an hour or two away. Each of the following special locations has the beach as well as something extra to make your getaway memorable.
Where: Nusa Dua
Why: Building on its reputation as a welcoming retreat for families, friends and couples, Club Med Bali has unveiled the impressive results of a recent upgrade, including the launch of a new Zen Pool, gourmet lounge and restaurant, children’s clubs for kids of all ages, brand new family space (including a Splash Park area for water-play), and refurbished deluxe rooms. Kids can enjoy activities with other children under the careful supervision of Club Med’s famously friendly staff – known as “G.O.s”, from the French term gentils organisateurs; there’s everything from bungee-bouncing and flying trapeze to dance lessons and arts and crafts. The Baby, Petit and Mini Club Med are optional childcare extras, with every kind of facility for little ones aged from four months up to ten years.
What else: New gourmet lounge The Deck boasts a terrace extension offering a relaxed atmosphere by day, and a colourfully lit and memorable setting by night.
Where: Canggu Beach
Why: Located just a stone’s throw from famous Canggu Beach, Bali Dream Villas’ private three- and four-bedroom villas are ideal for family or group holidays. Offering a combination of modern-day comforts and Balinese authenticity, both villas are furnished with exotic antiques and set within lush tropical gardens with natural stone pools. Guests can expect warm Balinese hospitality from the resident chef and butler, along with the villa manager, who can arrange all kinds of holiday extras, including in-villa massages.
What else: The villas are fully equipped for families, with an international-standard pool safety fence, baby monitors, cots, high chairs, kids’ crockery and cutlery, toys, baby bath, changing mats and car seats for the villa car and driver.
Where: In Seminyak, Bali
Why: Peppers is a luxury villa resort in Seminyak, within easy walking distance of designer boutiques and a host of world-class restaurants. All 48 private villas boast private swimming pools, sundecks with reclining loungers, indoor and outdoor marble bathrooms, and green tropical surrounds. The fully equipped gourmet kitchens feature open-plan living and dining areas, while each air-conditioned bedroom has a private ensuite bathroom. Petitenget Beach is a short walk away and offers a wide range of activities including surfing, stand-up paddle boarding and beach volleyball. Adventure-seekers may choose to go further afield for white-water rafting or jungle trekking; a day-trip to Ubud can also be arranged – just book at the Peppers tour desk. Rooms start from $300 a night.
What else: Expat Living readers can enjoy a 20 percent discount on the best available rates.
Where: In the heart of Seminyak’s upmarket Oberoi district, a few minutes’ walk from the beach and some of Bali’s top restaurants
Why: This elegant, four-bedroom private holiday rental villa, with its white-on-white colonial architecture and interiors, is a wonderful retreat for family and friends. Flanked by semi-open-air living and dining pavilions, and a two-storey, air-conditioned bedroom pavilion, the azure swimming pool forms an inviting centrepiece. Bamboo and wicker steamer chairs, casually draped mosquito nets, brass ceiling fans and white-panelled walls ornamented with vintage travel posters hark back to an era of exotic ocean voyages. On hand to assist with every holiday need is a staff that includes a private chef, butlers, housekeepers and an experienced villa manager. From US$950 a night.
What else: The villa manager can help arrange transport and make tour bookings for a wide range of nearby attractions; and don’t forget to ask other members of staff about the local area, as they’re likely to be able to give you interesting insights into Balinese life and culture.
Where: In the heart of Seminyak, a short stroll from the beach
Why: Villa Jajaliluna is a chic pad in Bali’s most sophisticated neighbourhood. The elegant four-bedroom villa is hidden behind vine-clad walls and shaded by coconut palms, and offers peace and privacy in a tranquil courtyard setting. The décor of neutral tones offset by bright splashes of colour make for a calm and soothing oasis to return to after exploring Seminyak’s boutiques, galleries, restaurants, spas and bars. With an in-house chef, private butler, swimming pool and media room, it’s also ideal for families, and for those who would rather just stay put and absorb the serenity. From US$975 per night. Villa Jajaliluna and Villa Lulito (above) are adjoining properties, which makes them ideal for large groups.
What else: The wide, black sandy beach near the villa stretches north and south as far as the eye can see – ideal for running, walking, building sandcastles or lazing in the sun. Sun beds with umbrellas can be hired from local vendors.
The Sanchaya, Bintan Resorts
Where: In Lagoi Bay, on the northern coast of Bintan, Indonesia.
Why: Just 50 minutes by ferry from Singapore, Bintan Resorts boasts a number of independently owned and operated beach resorts, along with designer golf courses, pristine beaches and an array of recreational facilities and attractions. The latest development, Lagoi Bay, includes residential villas, outdoor activities and Lagoi Beach Village with a new shopping mall, Plaza Lagoi. It’s also home to The Sanchaya, a luxurious estate of 21 villas and nine suites, positioned on one of Bintan’s most spectacular beaches. In addition to the Tasanee pool and exquisite beachfront, The Sanchaya Spa offers rejuvenating treatments, and the fully equipped gym is open 24 hours. There’s even a pristine croquet lawn, and archery and petanque are also available. From US$620 for Junior Suites, US$795 for Villas.
What else: Prices include express immigration service and a shuttle to and from the resort, a welcome drink, breakfasts, Wi-Fi, butler service, complimentary minibar and more.
Rawa Island Resort
Where: A 20-minute boat ride from Mersing, Johor, in Malaysia’s Sultan Iskandar Marine Par.Why: This beachfront resort within easy driving distance of Singapore features 77 rooms (Beachfront Chalets, Hillside Bungalows, Waterfront Chalets and Frangipani Villas), each individually designed to blend in with the natural landscape. Modern furnishings provide the comforts of home, while the island’s natural beauty and the resort’s friendly Malaysian hospitality help make Rawa the ideal spot for breaking the daily routine. The resort offers a comprehensive range of sea-sport activities, including snorkelling, kayaking, scuba diving, hobie-cat sailing, and island-hopping. Rooms from RM575 (S$210).
What else: Take a hike to the top of the island for a panoramic view of the surrounding islands and the South China Sea.
Turi Beach Resort by Nongsa Resorts
Where: Batam Island, 35 minutes from Singapore by ferry and 15 minutes from Hang Nadim Airport
Why: Set on more than eight hectares of green landscaped gardens, and recently acclaimed as Batam’s best resort by the Batam Tourism Office, Turi Beach Resort features modern, minimalist accommodation in its Tirta wing, and Riau- and Balinese-style accommodation in the Riani wing. The 140 rooms and suites are spread across the beachfront and hillside; all are sea-facing. Along with two pools, there’s a wide range of sea-sport activities available, from banana boating and kayaking to parasailing and knee-boarding, as well as cycling, golf, paintball, wall-climbing and jungle-trekking. On the culinary side, guests can enjoy authentic Indonesian favourites, along with delicious Western and Chinese dishes at Taming Sari, and Japanese specialties at Nogusaya Teppanyaki & Grill.
What else: Relax and rejuvenate at Turi Beach Resort’s Tspa, which draws from original healing and beauty concepts found across Indonesia, and uses local and natural fruits, herbs, oils and spices in its treatments.
Where: Koh Phangan, Thailand
Why: Bay Villas is Koh Phangan’s premier luxury residence, occupying a prime location on the island with breathtaking ocean views over the sandy bay of Haad Salad. The three- and four-bedroom villas all have private infinity pools and open-plan living, with outdoor sunken lounges and covered dining areas, perfect for relaxing with friends and family. Haad Salad has an easy, laid-back feel, unspoilt by development; the shallow waters and protected bay make this a popular beach for families. At night, local long-tail boats are illuminated under the moon, and lanterns light up the shore. Daytime activities include snorkelling, kite-surfing, boat trips, kayaking, jungle treks, yoga, cooking and massage. A new airport is opening soon on Koh Phangan, making getting there from Singapore even easier. Villas are available from 13,000 baht per night (S$550) to rent, and are also for sale from 12.9 million baht (S$540,000).
What else: Expat Living readers can enjoy a 5 percent discount on rental prices and 2 percent on sales by quoting “BVSNG15” as a reference
Where: On the island of Ko Racha Yai
Why: Set beside white sand and pristine waters 12 nautical miles south of Phuket, The Racha is a collection of 85 luxurious eco-chic villas spread across 20 acres of verdant tropical grounds. A host of complimentary beach activities and facilities are available, including snorkelling, paddling, canoeing, cycling and yoga, or, for an additional charge, guests can try ATV adventures, diving, island excursions, trekking to viewpoints, fishing or Thai cooking classes. Villas start from THB 8,200 (S$345).
What else: Expat Living readers can enjoy a free third night in a pool villa with every stay of two consecutive nights. Breakfasts are included for the two-night stay and are a compulsory charge on the free-night stay (approx. S$25 per person).
This story first appeared in Expat Living’s May 2015 issue.
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