“Eco-friendly luxury on a serene private island in Indonesia - just 2 hours from Singapore”
Situated just off Bintan Island, and a degree north of the equator, Nikoi Island is so unspoilt you feel you've rented the whole thing for yourself. The only buildings on the island are the resort's 15 beautiful Indonesian beach houses, each with a stunning seafront location and perfect sunset view. Affordable and far from pretentious, the resort has 2 pools, affable staff and eco-friendly principles (solar-powered hot water, sustainable buildings, sea turtle conservation). The clientèle are honeymooners, young couples or families whose kids can enjoy treasure hunts, pirate adventures and nature trails. You'll not be short of things to do - snorkelling, island hopping, fishing, sailing, beachcombing, wildlife spotting - or just reclining on a daybed, cocktail in hand.
- Super-friendly, dedicated staff make the experience complete - they called us by name and remembered our favourite things
- Beachfront massages in your private sala, where the only soundtrack is the sea
- Yummy food using locally sourced, fresh products
- Spacious, Zen-like beach houses that can accommodate 2-6 people
- Abundant wildlife including sea turtles, monitor lizards, komodo dragons, butterflies, monkeys, eagles and geckos
- The most fantastic carpet of stars at night time
- Book early - it's often full!
- Expect to see creepy crawlies, though each house has mosquito nets and coils to keep them at bay
- The food is delicious, but set meals are the only option (though special dietary requirements can be catered for)
- Bit of a schlepp to get to: a ferry from Singapore to Bintan, then a taxi and a private launch - all up, a journey of 2 hours
- No phones or TVs in the rooms - but there's mobile reception, limited WiFi, movie projectors, iPod docks, and you can borrow books, mags and board games
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Beach Resort
- 15 beach houses
- Restaurant and bars (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Tennis Court
A scattering of 15 Zen-like stilted wooden beach houses, each with 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms, lines the western coast. They're generously spread across 5 hectares - and the island's remaining 10 hectares are a wildlife sanctuary - so the place doesn't feel overly crowded (though we fear it would if more were built).
Each house is open to the elements and has been created using driftwood and thatched grass alang alang roofs. The 2- and 3-bedroom houses have spilt-level, spacious wooden walkways between the bedrooms and bathrooms.
Décor is cream and white with polished wooden floors. Rooms are enhanced with seashell-embellished furniture, cosy sofas and wooden deckchairs on the verandas, which face the ocean. Ceilings are high and vaulted with fans; windows are open and unglassed. Downstairs is an open sand-floored lounge area complete with daybeds and a massage sala. Each house has an iPod dock and speaker system.
The bedrooms are all on the upper floor and feature kingsize four-poster beds draped with mosquito nets and dressed with luxurious white cotton linen; this is changed every other day. Bathrooms are artfully crafted from natural stone and wood; you get a shower and basic toiletries such as shampoo and body wash.
Sustainable energy is the overall focus. The houses were designed to not need air con, using fans or open windows instead (hence the houses are all sea facing for that breeze).
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
- Ipod dock
- Mosquito net
- Safe box
Meals are created using fresh, seasonal and local ingredients; menus change on a day-to-day basis. Guests get 3 meals a day (it's a lot of food), which are taken at a communal table in the open-sided, sand-floor restaurant at the beachfront clubhouse. If you want more privacy, secluded picnics can be arranged on the beach or on a neighbouring deserted island.
Although not exactly fine dining, the resort serves up tasty simple fare in generous portions. The service is slick and attentive. The highlight of our stay was a seafood lunch: generous portions of juicy baked snapper, steamed bok choi with soy and garlic, fresh Niçoise salad and vivid saffron rice, followed by a warm, rich chocolate torte.
Dinner was a choice of tender steak or freshly caught fish with a rustic tomato pasta, a selection of stir-fried or steamed vegetables, and a melt-in-the-mouth dessert - ours was an apple tart. Breakfasts are quite basic - tropical fruit, cereal, and eggs with toast - but are still satisfying.
Cocktails at Nikoi are the order of the day - and priced very reasonably for a private island. Yogi (the famed bar manager) has an inventive streak and dishes up his own tried and tested cocktails alongside regular classics. The favourite - his ‘Yogicolada’ - was creamy (fresh coconut cream) and fruity with a nice kick. All drinks can be served in any of the 3 bars, or taken back to your villa.
- Children meals
- Communal dining
- Vegetarian menu
- Watersports are the order of the day here. Swimming, sailing, island hopping, windsurfing, diving, kayaking, fishing - you name it, you can do it
- The snorkelling around Nikoi is first rate thanks to its powder-white beaches and clear waters - the sea is teeming with little Nemos. Wreck diving can be arranged with advance notice. In general it's best to go diving and snorkelling between March and November
- Zone out on your daybed with a good book, or indulge in a deep-tissue Balinese massage in your sala
- Soak up the natural attractions: we saw lizards, tropical butterflies, golden orb spiders and geckos during our stay; dolphins can also be spotted
- Sea turtles nest on the beach from March to September. The resort runs a conservation programme and guests can sometimes help release hatchlings into the surf
- Take a dip in one of the 2 swimming pools located to the right of the villas. The pool bar and loungers overlooking the crisp ocean are perfect for sundowners. Beach volleyball and boules are available
- Visit neighbouring Bintan or other islands for mountain biking, adventure trekking or rock climbing - Nikoi teams up with a local group to arrange these
- Keen bird lovers should look out for the resident white bellied eagle on the hill. Bright yellow golden orioles and stork billed kingfishers can occasionally be spotted in the mangroves
- Send the kids off on an island adventure with the informally run Kids Club. We saw the staff taking children on treasure hunts, climbing the granite boulders, going on nature trails and searching rock pools with gusto
- Beachcombers will love the shells on the strand
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Plantlife / flora
- Scuba diving
i-escape's Best for Kids Awards 2013
Winner: Robinson Crusoe category
This is a great place for kids - the staff are very attentive towards children and are genuinely delighted to take them on walks and adventures. They can take care of kids of any age, and babysitters are always available.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
Some 2-bedroom houses have 1 double room and 1 twin room (others have 2 double rooms). Some 1-bedroom houses have a separate sleeping area with bunk beds, ideal for children.
Babysitting is available by arrangement.
- High chairs
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The informal Kids Club runs activities everyday, from making shell necklaces or bows and arrows, to nature walks, rock climbing and jetty jumping. Older children can enjoy watersports (including a floating trampoline), and the staff keep younger children entertained in the evenings with pirate treasure hunts and open-air screenings of children's films.
Food can be served in your beach house or in the restaurant and you can also order picnic hampers. Children are charged at half an adult rate. It is usual for children's meals to be served separately from adults' meals, so let the staff know if you want to eat together. The children's menu changes daily, but popular dishes include fish and chips, roast chicken, hamburgers and, of course, fresh fruit.
Kids Activities on site:
- Swimming, snorkelling and a wide array of watersports
- Island adventures with the Nikoi Kids Club staff: treasure hunts, rock climbing, nature trails and rockpools
- 2 pools, a cinema, volleyball, boules and board games
- A dressing up box with mermaid and pirate outfits
Kids Activities nearby:
- Boat trips
Families Should Know:
Because the island is surrounded by coral, toddlers and babies might need aquasocks.
- Airport: 2+ hours