“A private-island resort ringed by 8 white-sand beaches and unspoilt coral; ideal for relaxed romance, diving and family stays”
The stilted wooden villas are styled on Malay kampungs and carefully positioned among the trees to afford maximum privacy. All have four-poster beds swathed in mosquito nets, a large private balcony, and a sprawling bathroom featuring a rainfall shower and a huge standalone tub. Some have children’s annexes with bunk beds, too.
We stayed in a palatial Ocean Villa, which boasted spectacular views across the azure water; the Ocean Deluxe Villas sit in a slightly more elevated position, with an even better vista. Beach Villas have direct access to Sunrise Beach, while the Jungle Villas are set slightly further back from the shore, amid lush rainforest.
Poolside Villas have 2 bedrooms (a double and a twin) and are located directly behind the infinity pool and restaurant. We loved their huge verandas with sofas and tables, and their 2 private outdoor bathrooms (one with a shower, the other with a tub). They also seemed slightly cooler than the other villas due to their thicker roofs (all have air-con), though it's worth noting that they're a little less private.
Meals are a relaxed affair, served in an airy, open-sided pavilion nestled between 2 large stones (‘batu’ in Malay, hence the resort’s name). Tables look out over the sea to neighbouring Pulau Besar (‘Big Island’).
At breakfast, the buffet table (carved from a cengal tree felled in the 1970s) groans under the weight of fresh fruit, yoghurts, cereal, and freshly baked pastries and bread. There are also numerous cooked options, all made to order; tucking into fluffy pancakes or buttery scrambled eggs as the sun rose made a wonderful start to our mornings.
The 2-course lunches and 3-course dinners feature a daily changing menu of local and Western dishes. Highlights for us included a crisp salad with olives, butternut squash and feta; fried tofu with sambal and a vegetable dhal; and a slow-cooked beef rendang made with the island’s own coconut milk and lemongrass.
Note that no meals are included in the rates, so you'll need to purchase a meal plan which covers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Drinks and side dishes are charged as extra, as are cocktails from the sea-facing bar and laid-back beach bar.
This is a paradise for outdoorsy kids, and families are welcomed with open arms. As well as the beaches and watersports, there's an unstaffed playhouse and the chance to release turtle hatchlings.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Many of the Ocean, Jungle and Beach Villas have annexes attached to the main bedroom, with 2 bunk beds for children; the most popular are the Beach Villas, as they're located near the pool and restaurant. There are also 2 Poolside Villas with 2 bedrooms (a double and a twin) and a covered veranda with a living area. All villas can accommodate baby cots, and all except the Poolside Villas have daybeds which can be made up for additional guests, meaning they can sleep 3-5 people in total.
Some of the Ocean and Jungle Villas are accessed via lots of steps, which may not be suitable for little ones. There are also a few creepy-crawlies and mosquitoes (coils and nets are provided in the villas), plus occasional jellyfish in the sea (staff recommend you buy jellyfish repellent).