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WHERE TO STAY: Montigo Resorts, Nongsa, Batam

The modern marvel of Montigo Resorts, Nongsa, shies away from traditional-styled hotel designs without waiving its warm Indonesian hospitality.

Batam is the perfect place for Singaporeans to head to for a quick getaway — but do not make the same costly mistake we did. If you’re heading to the Indonesian island’s lesser-known Nongsapura Ferry Terminal, be mindful that ferry services are not from HarbourFront’s Singapore Cruise Centre.

Instead, services run from the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal. Here, you can even charter a well-appointed yacht via Aqua Voyage for a stylish 30-minute cruise to the beach-blessed part of Batam.

Several hotels face the secluded northern shores of Nongsa, but Batam’s first ever luxury outfit, Montigo Resorts Nongsa, opened about five years ago.

The all-white, all-villa Montigo Resorts faces west towards the sparkling blue South China Sea and offers a vapourous view of Singapore’s undersized skyline, refracted by distance and light. The Lion City-connection doesn’t end with just a panoramic view. The hotel is KOP Properties’ first seafront development outside of Singapore.

We checked into our minimalist two-bedroom villa with a gorgeous bleach-accented sky terrace on the top floor, which conjures iconic postcard shots of Santorini. Later that evening, a private barbecue dinner was set up on the rooftop, decked with an elegant dining table, chairs and standing lamps. Our own personal chef and server were present as we tucked into our brimful plates of surf and turf grills, such as rosemary lamb chops, king prawns and basil snapper fillet.

Besides in-villa dining options, Montigo has three restaurants that offer different variety of cuisines. Do not miss a chance to dine at Pantai, a rustic space that resembles a fisherman’s hut, serving Indonesian-Chinese specialties. We recommend the winter melon chicken soup, a nourishing and cooling start to your meal, and the mind-bogglingly hot and spicy chicken served on ice, as well as the mud crab smothered in black pepper sauce.

There is also the adults-only Tiigo Beach Club, a shack-like corner dressed in recycled wood and accentuated with industrial furniture and old-school paraphernalia, overlooking a swimming pool, or dare we say, party pool. It is airy at night and every once in two months, it plays host to local DJs and singers for a vibrant scene, drawing locals and international guests alike to enjoy the bar’s signature cocktails and beach-side vibe.

After dancing the night away, be sure to make an appointment at the Montigo Spa. Bamboo-bountiful therapy rooms and antique huts imported from Sumatra are worlds apart from the resort’s overarching contemporary layout. Straw mat wall coverings and the use of local Bakau wood add to the feeling of being one with the tropics. For a truly natural spa experience, opt for a traditional facial using restorative and organic ingredients. It is therapeutic, and rather amusing, trying to guess what went into each scrub and unto one’s face — from blends of banana and egg white to rice powder and turmeric.

These unique combinations of longstanding genteel local culture and New Age glamour, clean design and functionality, make Montigo Resorts Nongsa stick out from other resorts in the area — in a good way. We say give it a go.

For further information or to make a booking, please click here.