Cassia Bintan Review
Almost five years back, we went to Bintan for our mini honeymoon. This time, we booked a spontaneous couple trip to Bintan in September. It was baby Ex’s very first night away from us, after more than 2 years. Because the trip was last minute, we didn’t get good ferry timings to maximise our short 2D1N in Bintan. With all the waiting and delays of the ferry and hotel shuttle bus, our short time in Bintan became even shorter.
Hence, I would recommend at least 3D2N for the effort and sunk cost to Bintan. The ferry tickets do not exactly come cheap.
Ferry to Bintan (Tips)
Get discounted tickets for the ferry to Bintan. We got ours at a discount from Changi Recommend’s weekend promotion. You can also get your tickets on Klook, or Bintan Resort Ferries (BRF) website with your NTUC card.
With your reservation email or vouchers, exchange for ferry tickets with QR code at the two ferry terminals — Tanah Merah (Singapore) and Bandar Bentan Telani (Bintan).
According to BRF’s website, “check-in at least 1 1/2 hours before departure time. BRF reserves the right to cancel booking if boarding pass is not collected forty minutes before departure.” We checked in an hour prior though. To avoid a rush, you can reach the ferry terminal earlier and settle your breakfast or brunch at Kiliney cafe. They have one outlet before immigration and another smaller one after.
At the waiting area, the queue might form early at the gate. Be sure to look at the screen above to enter through the right gate. Join the queue if you want to sit together with your group. I saw groups boarding among the last few and had to sit separately in empty pockets of seats.
About Cassia Bintan
Cassia Bintan (“Cassia”) is newly built in 2017 and is part of Laguna Bintan, an integrated resort complex with Banyan Tree Bintan (“Banyan”), and Angsana Bintan (“Angsana”) and an 18-hole golf course. Banyan is for the luxury travellers, Angsana is for the families and Cassia is for the millennials. All three resorts are situated side by side, sharing a private beach and all dining options. Guests at Cassia and Angsana can simply walk over and use each other’s swimming pool.
Instead of the usual resort style, Cassia is more practical with its serviced apartment units designed for long term stay. It is also an investment property resort under Cassia Residences, which means anyone can buy an unit for investment and earn rental yields.
At Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal, Cassia has a waiting room converted from one of the shops. It is shared with other guests from Banyan and Angsana. The complimentary shuttle bus ride from the terminal to the hotel is about 15 minutes. Inform the staff about your arrival and hand him your luggage. You have to wait for the rest of the guests before you can hop on the shuttle bus to Cassia. We were the first few to arrive, and so had to wait for quite a while before everyone came.
Banyan guests, on the other hand, had private van transfers. Hence, they left for the hotel as soon as they arrived. Even the staff of Banyan was dressed up nicer than staff of Cassia and Angsana. Btw, the Cassia staff seemed to be moonlighting, giving out a massage brochure and promoting it to selected guests. We overheard that the massage services can only be reserved through him and not the hotel.
Once you reached the hotel, quickly head to the check in counters. It helps to sit near the front of the shuttle bus. Otherwise, you have to wait a long while before the bus load of people check-in. The staff will keep your luggage in a room and you can collect them after you check-in.
Cassia’s hotel lobby and restaurant share the same compound, with the check-in counter seamlessly connected to the counter-top of the restaurant. Almost confusing, but I guess that’s versatility for the millennial. We got our room upon check-in, but overheard that some other rooms were not ready. It’s 3:15PM, past the check-in time at 3:00PM. We took the 2:00PM ferry from Singapore.
There’s no point taking ferry with early timings. Because most rooms in Bintan wouldn’t be ready until check-in time. The departure of previous guests are quite standard because of the ferry timings.
Cassia Bintan Review
I knew what we were getting into when we booked Cassia, but still thought it would be more resort-y than how it looked on the website. My first impression of the place was disappointing. Yes, the overall looks new and nice. However, it looks like chalet resorts in Singapore, catered for groups of young people and children. More for BBQ than candlelight dinner. Cassia doesn’t have the kind of ambience for a romantic getaway. The whole place looks more young and functional.
The service staff at Cassia generally spoke good English. And laudably, all the staff we met around the premises, whether housekeeping or technician, had a friendly demeanor towards us, the guests.
One thing to point out, the lift always has an insect repellent smell, but it could be because there’s quite a bit of flies/mosquitos around. I even spotted a big fly in our room, even though our windows and balcony door were closed.
We stayed at Block 4 and it’s the second furthest block from the reception area. Furthest is Block 5. Avoid these two blocks if possible. We had to climb up and down a steep slope between our block and the main area with the dining and pool.
In the end, we took the easy way out, walking through the other blocks. Taking the lift at block 2, we reached level 4 to walk through the (open air) room corridors. Then, we took another lift to our room at level 7, the highest level. Talk about complicated. Block 2 is nearest to the main area, yet possible high traffic from guests going through to their blocks — best to avoid block 2, level 4.
Request for garden view if possible.
I felt like we entered an Airbnb rather than a resort in Bintan. Such premises would be perfect if we were travelling elsewhere for a holiday to explore.
In any case, it’s a well designed apartment that makes smart use of spaces, the toilet in between the kitchen and bedroom, acting as a divider. The living room came with a television with cable channels such as HBO. The bathroom stocked with the usual essentials and kitchen well-equipped for you to whip up a meal — microwave, kettle, utensils, etc. But why cook when relaxing in Bintan? Unless you are preparing baby meals.
Okay, you might decide to cook and avoid the overpriced food in the resort. Without much options, you’re kind of stuck with the resort dining options. Even the sister resorts’ food are expensive.
We paid about S$15 for a plate of fried rice and S$3+ for a can of soda. But unlike the Bintan Spa Villa Beach Resort, which had overpriced food too, this was delicious! We almost ordered another plate, but decided to return to our abode for our cup noodles. Yeap, the number one tip to save money in a Bintan resort is to bring cup noodles. If you are travelling in group, you might want to order a mookata set from the resort to share.
Since it’s hard for non-guest to stray into the resort, there was no checking of room number during breakfast. Monday breakfast was relatively crowded but there were always seats available. Poolside tables were not that popular too because of the morning sun. Breakfast food was average, with standard options like juices, milk, cereal, bread and sausages. Some Asian staples were available too.
For party folks, a beach bar is open to guests for all three resorts. From late afternoon till late, enjoy the music and alcohol in the sea breeze.
The Pool and Private Beach
The infinity pool is not situated on a high vantage point nor does it overlook a beautiful scenery. It’s nice to be looking out into the beach, but with its low height, the infinity pool design doesn’t bring the usual wow.
Putting design aside, the pool water was super dirty. It was Sunday afternoon when we went for a swim. We couldn’t even see a thing when we swam under the murky waters. After a while, it just felt gross. We played with the many basketball sized balls floating in the pool, taking turns to throw into the hoop beside the pool. Next day, we found out that these balls were actually meant to be soccer balls at this play area. Yikes at the hygiene.
The private beach was clean n nice, shared by guests of the three resorts. It’s not huge, but big enough to lay your mat without bumping into another. Sunbeds with shelter were also available throughout. Although there were warning signs of jellyfish in water, many people, including children, were playing in the sea waters.
Golf and other water sports activities were available at the resort.
Overall, it was a pleasant stay but not one that I would return for a couple trip. Perhaps only with my children or when in a group.
Leave a comment below to share about what you heard or experience at Cassia Bintan. Love to hear from you!
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Affiliate link means I’ll get a small commission if you make a purchase. There’s NO extra cost to you. I appreciate your support to maintain this website, so that I can share more tips with you. Thank you!