It is no secret that I love a good island escape. Over the years I have been lucky enough to stay at amazing hotels and resorts all over Asia, but this year I found a new favourite.
Cempedak Private Island is an idyllic, eco-friendly and innovative adults-only retreat which exudes a laidback and effortless form of luxury.
The island is located 9km off the coast of Bintan, Indonesia and 91km from mainland Singapore. The 17 hectare private island can be reached in just 2.5 hours from the Tanah Merah ferry terminal in Singapore, making it an easily accessible getaway, especially if you are travelling from somewhere in South-East Asia.
Fringed by picturesque white sand beaches and granite boulders, this tropical island is undeniably good looking, but this is just one of the many things that make Cempedak unforgettable.
The architecture and design of the villas is unlike anything I have ever seen. Constructed almost entirely from bamboo, the villas have crescent-shaped roofs made from a local grass which provide protection from the wind and rain, but also somehow enable perfect ventilation – rendering air-conditioning totally unnecessary.
Each villa also boasts the luxury of a stunning private pool. Shaped like a fish, these pool are designed in such a way that they seamlessly blend in with the rest of the villa design, as well as with the surrounding jungle.
There are two villa types – the seaview and the beach. If you have your heart set on otter spotting, the beach villas would be best. However, I personally loved my seaview villa. The higher elevation provided greater privacy and ventilation – meaning that I could snuggle underneath a thick doona at night and not get too hot.
The island is home to a great deal of wildlife, such as the critically endangered pangolin, hornbills, sea otters and much more.
I even spotted one truly terrifying looking spider! Apparently it was quite a venomous one, but that didn’t seem to bother this carefree staff member in the slightest!
As well as being perfectly ventilated and aesthetically pleasing, the villas are also designed in such a way that you could just about never need to leave. There are no minibars in these villas, instead you simply have an iPad! If you need anything, you just need to pick up your tablet and message your Cempedak guide and anything need will be promptly attended to.
There are no TV’s, but there is a superb set of bluetooth enabled speakers, allowing you to blast your favourite tunes whilst floating in your pool and knocking back a few beers!
The only reason you would need to leave is for sustenance! Cempedak do not offer in-villa dining, not because they don’t want to, but more because of the wild nature of the island and the high likelihood that the presence of food might invite unwanted guests into your open and airy villa.
There is only one restaurant, but the cuisine is very varied and utterly delicious – I never tried something that I didn’t like!
Another good reason to drag yourself away from your villa is the Cempedak spa. Situated on granite rocks, the spa is literally right next to the ocean. There is no need for calming spa music here, all you need are the soft sounds of the waves lapping against the rocks and the smell of the ocean to send you into an utterly blissful state.
I indulged in a 60 minute massage (which I booked using my trusty in-villa tablet) and it was easily one of the best massages that I’ve ever had. Ever.
It was utterly phenomenal and I cannot speak highly enough about the spa staff – they truly have magic hands!
The sunset Dodo bar is another memorable feature of Cempedak. I wish I had more photos of it, but there is an inverse correlation between my alcohol consumption and number of photos taken!
Basically, my stay at Cempedak exceeded every single one of my expectations. The accommodation is well designed, unique and just plain beautiful. The food was fresh, sumptuous and diverse, whilst the extensive drinks list will cater for even the most particular of palates.
The spa, bar and all other facilities are just the icing on the delicious cheesecake of goodness that is Cempedak. If you are looking to get away from reality for a few days, then this is absolutely the place to do it.
I can guarantee that you’ll leave totally blissed out, rejuvenated and probably a few kilograms heavier, but really, isn’t that what holidays are all about?
Getting to Cempedak: From Singapore, take the 90 minute ferry from Tanah Merah to Bintan. From Bintan, Cempedak is just an hours drive and 20 minute boat transfer away!
Cempedak Private Island: A stay here starts at $475 SGD per night during low occupancy which is any time other than the weekend! Click here to learn more
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 lenses and a DJI Mavic Pro drone
Remember: Don’t try and stick to a diet during your island getaway at Cempedak!