So for my birthday this year, we decided to take a twin trip to the highly raved about resort relatively near singapore- Montigo!
Montigo is actually a resort located in Batam, only about an hour boat ride away from Singapore’s Tanah Merah Ferry terminal. Quite a few reviews have been done out for this resort, so I thought I’d just share my opinion and experience on what Nongsa Batam has to offer!
How much did it cost?
Firstly, flash Deal! We managed to book a Sea View Villa for SGD $316. After Taxes, the one night cost us SGD $382.36 Nett. Also, we bought our ferry tickets from Batam Fast online, and the tickets to and fro cost us a total of SGD $92. So when you average it out, each of us paid a total of SGD $ 237.18 for the transport and accommodation.
I also asked and found out that that is the price for 2 people. Every additional person from the 3rd per villa adds on about sgd $60++ and the 5th person will cost $100 sgd. A maximum of 5 people can stay in a Villa.
We each changed SGD $100 for spending on this trip, and we didn’t use up all $100 SGD. So changing SGD $100 to RP was more than enough for this trip! We didn’t bring any important cards in case of an emergency, but I bought my nets card just in case!
Arriving at Nongsa Ferry Terminal:
When you arrive at Nongsa Ferry terminal, you will see many men around standing. For us, we had about 3 to 4 men standing around. They’d shout out your hotel names, “Harmoni!”, “Holiday Inn!” or “Montigo”! Don’t be fooled because they’re actually cab drivers who want you to pay for them to send you there. Instead, look out for the representative from the hotel who will be carrying a board with the hotel’s logo on it. Some can be quite persuasive and would follow behind you, so just stand in a lighted area where there are other people around, and be strong on your point and say No thank you.
Montigo is a five star hotel, and you pay for what you get. When you make your booking, you can liaise with the person in charge to arrange a complimentary pick up to the hotel. There is also a complimentary bus that you can take back to the ferry when you leave. Be sure to let them know in advance via email!
We had a complimentary welcome drink and warm towels upon arrival. The staff were warm and welcoming!
Check in and check out times:
Because our tickets were booked for BatamFast Ferries, we had to abide by their limited timings. Batam is an hour back from Singapore, and when we arrived at Montigo, it was about 9.30am in the morning. Their check in times are at 2pm, and check out is at 12pm the following day. Because we were so early, our plan was to catch the complimentary shuttle bus Montigo has to Nagoya Hill, a shopping mall about 45 minutes away from Montigo. These buses were based on a first come first serve basis and can only be done personally at the front desk (no email!). The bus they have only serves 17 people, so we ended up not getting a seat on the bus. Because we were extremely early with nothing to do, we decided to take a cab there and back to Nagyoa Hill to relax and have fun before Check in time, since the Villas were not ready anyway.
Montigo has a $100 SGD Deposit in case you burn down the villa or something. We didn’t bring enough cash in SGD so we managed to settle it with a $50 SGD Deposit instead.
Cabs at Montigo
Montigo has a list of drivers they can call. They are usually black cars with a small logo at the back where the boot is which has Montigo’s logo sticker on. These cabs fit 4 people at maximum. The front desk had arranged for a cab to take us to the city and back at $200,000 RP (22SGD) per trip, so there and back cost us $400,000 RP (44SGD). We were told that he would be a personal driver to us, and wait for us to finish our activities and makes sure we are safe and send us home. Montigo has a book where they will write the cab’s number down on a booklet at the entrance to ensure they know where their guests have gone to, in case something happens.
Our Cab driver agreed to meet us at 2pm at a set location, but because we girls were caught up with our manicure, we messaged the driver to tell him we would arrive at 2.45pm instead. On the way back to montigo, he claimed that because we made him wait for an extra hour, it will cost $100,000 RP ($11 SGD). I asked if this was the market rate and it was the normal thing to do and he said yes. Twin and I exchanged this dubious look and we paid him anyway. When I reached Montigo, I notified the staff because I wanted to check if this was really the case, and just as my gut feeling had it- It was not normal, and not the market rate. The staff assured me that they will get to the bottom of it and I retired to my villa. In barely 30 minutes, someone rang the doorbell, and it turns out they had taken back the money from the driver. That was very professional on their part and I was impressed! Me & Twin had a discussion and decided to give the $100,000 RP as a tip to the two ladies who helped us get back our money. A miss Marina and Yuri. I also mentioned them in my TripAdvisor review.
What’s there to do at Nagoya?
There are plenty of things to do at Nagoya, you’d be surprised!
The first thing on our list was to do the typical things girls love to do. Spa day! After reading quite a lot of reviews on the Spa Secret on Trip Advisor, we decided to try it out. You can also tell your taxi uncle to go the spa secret, it’s so prominent that the cab uncles sometimes even recommend it! The spa opens at 10am, and you have to make a deposit (we just paid full) for a 2 hour spa massage, which cost us about SGD $44 for a 2 hour full body massage (You will never get this kind of price in Singapore……). It was definitely very relaxing and a good experience! We can also choose the type of oil we want and we both went for the mandarin oils, which smelt the least pungent to me among the rest.
Tripadvisor reviews talked about the Spa Secret’s lack of professionalism. I however felt that the staff were very professional and they knew exactly what they were doing during the massage. If I really had to point out one thing, I would say they partitioned the walls, so it’s quite easy to hear people walking around and talking sometimes that it disturbs your zen mode or sleep mode. But other than that, It was a very good massage.
take note that the spa secret is a street away from Nagoya’s shopping mall. If you had a cab like we did, the uncle’s job is to drive you through the busy streets there! So don’t risk your life by crossing the extremely dangerous and crowded road.
If you’re not picky to do your nails, you can look for this shop called “the beauty world”. It’s exterior is actually a branded bag shop, but inside it has a little shop for manicures and pedicures, and is run by one lady. She can speak chinese (so please don’t talk terrible things about her in Chinese or try to bargain the prices) She charged us only RP $80,000 (SGD $8) for nail with nail art. Although it took quite a fair bit of time to do, it was beautiful! I really liked my nails! Blue for me and black bases for twin!
We chanced upon this shop from afar, the discs only cost $10,000 RP (SGD $1). You don’t have to worry about quality because the guy lets you TRY the disc before purchase. He was relatively honest because we actually wanted to buy another disc but he told us the quality was bad and let us see the difference in quality.
Montigo has dvd players that work extremely well. So you can watch the movies at the comfort of your own villa.
Eat at the famous A&W
I used to eat A&W in my early primary days before it fizzed out from the Singapore scene. I tried their fish burger and their curly fries can really compare with McDonald’s twister fries. However, their cheese fries cannot beat KFC’s ones, and sadly when we were there their ice cream machine was down so we didn’t get to try the iconic root beer float. Twin was so disappointed but hey we’d be back next time! It was quite expensive for a fast food meal in Batam, cost about sgd $8 in total per person.
Shop at the local supermarket
One thing that’s different about Batam supermarkets and Singapore supermarkets…. their aisles are not labelled, and everything is everywhere. I was searching actively for a packet of noodles and found them among the……… detergents. Also, their foods are pretty much self service, you have to pick and choose not only fresh foods, but also processed foods. Eg: The potato fries in the picture below. So give yourself a little more time than usual to spend if you’re deciding to go to the supermarket to get some food for dinner to cook!
Montigo has stoves, a pot and a pan. We bought prata and instant noodles to cook for dinner, as well as chips and swiss rolls for snacks. We bought our beer at the duty free on our way to Nongsapura.
There will be 2 cards per Villa, and you have to return both cards when you check out (keep them safe!). We were given Villa 82, which were the sea view villas. They have buggies all over the place to bring you around, so you don’t have to worry and let the sloth fill you. It’s a very slow paced life in Montigo.
Montigo has wifi all over the place. It’s usually the ID of your Villa, followed by the password being your surname. For me, it was 82, Ng.
Sea View Villa @ Montigo
The villas were huge. There was a total of 2 bedrooms, 3 toilets and an infinity pool. Three stories high, fully air conditioned. Music docks for Ipod and Iphones in the master as well as in the hall. It was absolutely amazing.
However, I have to state that the cleanliness of the floor was really not there. The supposedly white floors had black stains and in the beginning we actually took out our slippers, but decided against it when we saw how dirty the floor was.
Infinity pool facing the sea
the highlight of the trip for me was definitely the pool and the fact that it was facing the sea. The pool is well kept and maintained, and because it is facing the sea, privacy was definitely well ensured. I sat by the pool reading a book while twin blasted good music on the dock as we tanned by the beach. In the later evening, we watched the beautiful sunset. It was really my kind of wind down, and I enjoyed it tremendously. Also beer and chips by the pool- awesome.
I don’t know about you but big moths terrify me. We had to close the sliding doors in the night because there were so many moths at our poolside once it turned dark. So if you’re scared of moths: remember to close the door or be prepared to sleep with them.
Montigo has a pot, a pan and a convection stove. I spent 5 minutes wondering why my water wasn’t heating only to realize there is a flick switch underneath beneath the cupboards. However, montigo does not have scissors (i called housekeeping and they don’t provide scissors because it’s a dangerous item……..) so if you want to cook, by all means but remember not to get food you need scissors to prepare with. Also, you don’t need to clean up your dishes. Housekeeping will do that for you!
They have a small fridge too but the fridge is generally weak and takes a long time before your food becomes cold. It also has no ice or freezer.
So in conclusion:
Montigo was an amazing get away from the bustling life of Singapore, and I was really glad that I was able to take this last minute trip out with my ever spontaneous twin who never fails me! The quiet and slow paced life of batam as well as the luxury of staying in a 5 star resort like montigo definitely made it the ideal short get away that I was looking for. I hope this post has helped anyone of you who were planning to go, and I will persuade you to take a break there should you really need to. I will definitely be back again!
With much love, xx Cal