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 18 beautiful Indonesian beach houses and pool villas, each with a stunning seafront location and private sala for beachfront massages, where your only soundtrack is the ocean. Affordable and far from pretentious, nearly all the ingredients, materials and products deployed are sourced locally; staff are local too. A sustainable pioneer, Nikoi's eco-friendly principles underwrite all that they do. There's minimal landscaping (building was limited to one area of the island) and no air con, the planting of indigenous plants, removal of plastic from the eco-system and solar-powered hot water. 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. You'll marvel at the most fantastic carpet of stars come evening too.
- Super-friendly, dedicated staff make the experience complete – they called us by name and remembered our favourite things
- There's a choice of swimming pools
- 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
- Book early – it's often full!
- Expect to see creepy crawlies, though each house has mosquito nets and coils to keep them at bay
- Bit of a schlepp to get to: a ferry from Singapore to Bintan, then a taxi and a private launch – but all in, only a journey of 2 hours
- No phones or TVs in the rooms – but there's mobile reception, limited WiFi, movie projectors and you can borrow books, mags and board games
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Beach Resort
- 18 beach houses
- Restaurant and bars (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Beach Nearby
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Car not necessary
- 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. There are also 3 2-bedroom villas with private pools for those looking for an even more exclusive space. 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.
Each house is open to the elements and has been created using driftwood collected over many years, and thatched grass alang alang roofs. The 2- and 3-bedroom beach 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.
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.
Sustainability is the overall focus. The houses were designed to not need air con, using fans, elevated bedrooms and open windows to allow for natural ventilation (the houses are all sea facing for that breeze). Minimal concrete, glass, paint and plastic were deployed in construction: the wood has been left unfinished and all furniture and carpentry was made on site.
- In room treatments available
- Mosquito net
- Safe box
Meals are created proudly using fresh, seasonal and organic ingredients, much from their farm; the rest sourced from local markets and small traders. Menus change on a day-to-day basis. Guests get 3 tasty and simple meals a day (in generous portions), which are taken at a communal table in the open-sided, sand-floor restaurant at the beachfront clubhouse. There is also a poolside restaurant with a Mediterranean theme – think small plates of falafel, lamb skewers and sumptuous salads – and a pizza oven for those after something more substantial. Those staying in the Pool Villas get priority booking in this restaurant, however there will always be tables set aside for Beach House guests. If you want more privacy, secluded picnics can be arranged on the beach or on a neighbouring deserted island.
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 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.
- Communal dining
- Kids' meals
- Vegetarian options
- If you're a watersports fan you're in luck. Swimming, sailing, island hopping, windsurfing, diving, kayaking, fishing – you name it
- The snorkelling is first rate thanks in no small part to the Foundations Nikoi set up to protect the Marine Protected Area, and remove plastic from coastal areas – the sea is teeming with little Nemos. Wreck diving can be arranged with advance notice. 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
- 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
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.
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available
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
- Sustainability tour for kids - visit the permaculture garden and chicken coup
- 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
Nikoi Island is located just 15 minutes (8km) by boat from Bintan Island, Indonesia. It's about 2 hours from Singapore.
Singapore's Changi (85km away) is the nearest airport. It's served by a huge range of international airlines - please click on the links below for further information.
It's a 45-minute high-speed catamaran ferry ride from Singapore’s Tanah Merah ferry terminal to Bintan. Ferries operate up to 5 times a day. You'll then take a 1-hour transfer across Bintan, followed by a further 15-minute launch ride to Nikoi. It's essential to book the ferry in advance if travelling at weekends or holidays. The resort can arrange transfers from Bintan for you; see Rates. It can also provide an information sheet before arrival and advise on travel to Bintan from Singapore.
More on getting to Singapore and getting around
- Singapore Changi 85.0 km SIN
- Beach 0.1 km
- Shops 8.0 km
- Restaurant 8.0 km