3D2N with Spa Central Batam and Harris Resort Belarang
Yes, we did it! We visited Batam as a family for the first time and came home rejuvenated. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly and the kids, especially our 5 year old Buddy kept asking when we can return. This trip debunked the misconception that Batam is not a family-friendly destination. In fact, I think it makes the IDEAL destination for those long- weekend getaways!
Here’s sharing our itinerary and as usual, some tips to make that much-needed family getaway all that more enjoyable.
Day 1: Check-in to ‘Check-out’!
Given that it’s our first time travelling to Batam and also the CNY public holiday season, our friends had advised us to go early to the Ferry Terminal at Harbourfront to beat the queues. We are thankful for the advice as we were not familiar with the check-in process and the crowd did swell closer to boarding time.
The Discovery of a Gem: Spa Central Batam
Batam is famous for its spa but we were skeptical of dodgy spa places. After reading glowing reviews on Trip Advisor and from fellow parenting blogs, I booked a 2-day spa package with Spa Central Batam and a 3D2N stay at Harris Resort Belarang (with its own private beach).
Our ferry ride was smooth and rather enjoyable. We did not feel sea-sickness at all. Before we knew it, we had arrived at Batam Centre Ferry Terminal. After disembarkation, we were greeted by a friendly Spa Central Batam representative, Mrs Yus, who promptly whisked us away in their air-conditioned MPV lightly perfumed with pandan lemongrass scent. Our Batam holidays have gotten off to a dream start!
Upon arrival, we tucked into a hearty Indonesian lunch. The spa outlet comes with an exclusive, cosy dining venue which serves meals to its customers. How thoughtful that we do not need to meander through the streets in Batam looking for lunch, especially with kids in tow. Lunch was a selection of delectable local Indonesian cuisines. A must try among is the banana chocolate cheese side dish. That really took the cake although the rest of the dishes such as Mee Goreng and Nasi Goreng were also flavorful and delicious.
After the sumptuous lunch, it was time for some pampering. I had selected a child-friendly princess manicure session for our daughter Dana while her little brother, Buddy sat quietly in our couple massage room, watching child-friendly Paw Patrol videos on YouTube.
For our first session, we had both selected a 90-minute foot reflex and aromatherapy massage. We started with the 30-minute foot reflex session as it was straight after lunch. Then it was followed by the 60-minute traditional massage.
The 90-minute session at Spa Central Batam was nothing short of sublime. This is coming from a couple who are not foreign to the massages and spas, especially so for the hubby who is quite picky and fussy. The therapists here are very skillful, polite and unintrusive. The treatment was done with much finesse and professionalism. Of course, the best part is its affordability. The 90-minute spa session costs only about SGD30 each, unheard of but true.
‘Ho Ciak!’ Seafood Batam:
For dinner, we adjourned to Ho Ciak Seafood, a Halal seafood joint that is about 20 minutes drive from Spa Central Batam near the Ferry Terminal. Ho Ciak Seafood serves up Tze-Char dishes reminiscent of the kampong days in a rustic 2-storey bungalow next to a small lake. The menu had a modest selection of our favorite seafood dishes including Dana’s fav ‘la la’ clams and my fav ‘Green Dragon – Qing Long’ veg. The husb ordered the traditional fish head steamboat and I added a few other signature dishes such as deep-fried chicken with onion and roast duck. Homely fare at pocket-friendly prices. We saw diners at other tables ordering crabs and other seafood which are deemed cheap by Singapore standards.
The food at Ho Ciak lived up to its name: ‘Ho Ciak’ in Hokkien being ‘Good to Eat’. The husb loved the charcoal steamboat and quipped that it reminded him of CNY at his grandparent’s ‘kampong’ back in Setiawan, Malaysia, with the smell of burning charcoal wafting thorough the air. Added to that are chucks of fresh sea beam chunks ‘swimming’ in the thick broth, making it a nutritious meal in itself.
Accommodation – Harris Resort, Belarang:
After a long day of pampering, we looked forward to retiring for the night at Harris Resort Belarang, which is about a 40-minute drive from Batam Central. Check-in was fast and the kids were delighted to sit on the hotel’s in-house buggy to bring us to our room across the sprawling beachfront property.
Our seaview deluxe room comes with a large sea-facing balcony, complete with a long writing desk, wardrobe, well-furnished toilet and other basic amenities. It is so spacious that it can fit-in two additional single beds for our kids, with ample space for our luggage, and for us to move around freely.
Day 2: ATV and Archery!
The entire family had trouble waking-up. The comfy bed at Harris Resort had a part to play in this! But wake up we must for we had a fun-filled morning awaiting us. I had chosen Harris Resort Belarang in part due to its beach-facing location (rather than the busy streets of downtown Batam) as well as its slew of activities for families. Among them was our favorite ATV rides and archery.
The ATV activity was by far the best we’ve tried. We had opted for a double-seater ATVs, which can take an adult and a child. After a few minutes of briefing, off we went! Fortunately for us, we had ridden on ATVs and Snowmobiles before so we kind of know how to operate the vehicles. But for newbies, more detailed explanation may be needed. They also did not provide disposable hair nets so if you are concerned about hygience, please BYO.
Once we got going, the adrenaline kicked in! We were riding on dirt roads and going up and down steep slopes and rocky grounds. This was truly exciting! I was riding with Dana and helping her hold the handle bar while the husb rode with Buddy. We all had a thrilling 30 minutes, which flew past too quickly!
The archery station was conveniently located next to the ATV center. There, children as young as Buddy get to learn how to properly shoot arrows at the target. There are varying distances to aim for depending on one’s age and abilities. I must give credit to the staff who was extremely professional, witty and patient in teaching all 4 of us the basics of archery yet firm enough to maintain high level of safety. While archery was tough for beginners, it was an activity which we enjoyed as a family. We highly recommend it.
We booked the pick up service provided by Spa Central Batam and headed for lunch inside Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall which has a good sampling of local eateries. We settled for local Indonesian food at Coba Cobain Restaurant (recommended by the driver) and enjoyed an authentic meal of Ayam Bakar, Ayam Goreng and Gurame Fish.
Spa and Kidzoopia Surprise:
After lunch, it’s time for our epic 2.5 hour spa experience at Spa Central Nagoya Hill, located just 3-minutes’ walk from Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall. I had planned a little surprise for the kids. Dana will enjoy a short 60-minutes full body massage while Buddy will spend his time at the spa’s very own KidZoopia – an unique kids’ indoor experiential learning and play centre.
KidZoopia – The REAL Reason We Could Relax!
KidZoopia is located at the 4th level of Spa Central Batam’s Nagoya Hill branch. The main area is an indoor play area that comprises of a make-believe tree house with an amazing rope bridge. Next to it is a craft and activity area for kids to engage in art and craft as well as try simple science experiments! Finally, there’s the kids favorite petting zoo home to some exotic animals such as a hedgehog, an iguana, a sugar glider, a tarantula and more!
All these animals are cared for by a professional keeper. The entire KidZoopia programme is also planned and managed by a qualified primary school teacher who ensures that the kids get an enriching time so that busy parents, like us, can free our minds to enjoy a relaxing pampering time at the spa just two floors below.
I must say that the entire setup is really very impressive. It’s like nothing we have seen before, even in Singapore! The furnishings of the whole place is very modern, clean, well thought-out. Needless to say, Dana and Buddy both didn’t want to leave long after our spa treatment has ended. If only we can leave them here overnight!
‘Spa-tecular’ Spa Central Nagoya Hill
We had such an amazing massage and foot-reflex experience at Spa Central’s branch in Batam Center the day before and wondered if today’s spa experience can top that. In short, it did.
This time, the husb and I chose different massage experiences at Spa Central Nagoya but both ending with a soaking in Jacuzzi Milk Bath. The husb had chosen a 90-minute acupressure fusion massage complete with foot reflex while I chose a 90-minute aromatherapy massage with body scrub.
Once again, Spa Central Nagoya delivered an exceptional experience. Both our masseuses were not only good in their techniques, they massaged with finesse as well. We enjoyed it so much that we literally drifted into a state of total relaxation. On that note, it was also quite an novel experience to enjoy foot reflexology done while lying down. Seriously good.
The couple Jacuzzi Milk Bath that came after the massage ‘sealed’ the entire 2.5 hours spa experience for us. Spa Central Batam not only delivered plush spa ambience and finesse but the techniques of the masseuse were really good regardless of the branch we were at! Truly worth of all the glowing reviews they received!
Rock Salt Dinner at Harris’ Resort
For our final evening in Batam, I made reservations at the Rock Salt Restaurant back at the hotel. The restaurant serves a fusion of western and Indonesian dishes within its chic, breezy, casual environment fronted by a neon-lit bar.
We had a good spread of appetizers, mains and desserts. I must that that despite having tasted some of the delicious local food in town, the food served here is really delicious. Ending our stay at Harris Resort Belarang with a meal at Rock Salt was a fitting tribute to our first Batam stay.
Day 3: Wet & Wild Waterplay
For our final morning, we decided to take it slow and easy, especially since we’ve yet to explore the pools and their private beach. It was too tempting to resist going for a plunge with the kids in the pool before heading back to Singapore. We also took lots of insta-worthy pics on their swing.
Batam has surprised us in more ways than one. Thanks to an exceptional spa experience together with a relaxing stay that tick all the right boxes for a getaway. Time for ourselves, time for the kids and time for each other.
* All photos shot on the lightweight mirrorless Nikon Z6
Here are some tips to enhance your family’s experience at Batam:
- Harris Resort Belarang is a popular family resort. Book your rooms early and try to request for higher-floor sea-facing rooms.
- Bring your own room slippers for the kids as those provided by the hotel are beach sandals, which are too big and heavy for children.
- Go early to the Ferry Terminal, especially if you are travelling to Batam during public holiday season.
- Remember to exchange your ticket voucher for your boarding passes at the ferry company’s booth at Harbour Front Ferry Terminal.
- There is size and weight limitation on the baggage you wish to carry onboard. You can check-in your larger luggage during the stipulated boarding time.
- The ferry duration to Batam is about 45 minutes to an hour. We are thankful that the weather was good but we can imagine the seas to be quite choppy in bad weather. Do take the necessary sea-sick medication if you need to.
- Bring enough Indonesian rupiah to pay for your meals, shopping and spa. Some shops, such as the famous Le Moist where we bought Kueh Lapis from, charged an extra 3% for credit card transactions. Otherwise, bring along your YouTrip Card, like I did.
- Bring sunblock and insect repellant.
- Follow Spa Central Batam on their IG and FB as they often run promos. Book your massages and spa packages online before arrival so you can pre-arrange the complimentary one-way transport.
- It is very cheap and easy to get around Batam with Grab cars. So far it’s been safe.
HARRIS RESORT BARELANG PROMO CODE
Sign up as a My Tauzia Priviledge (MTP) Member on their website and apply the special code – LTM2020 to enjoy a special 10% + 5% discount off your accomodation booking. Valid for booking period 15 Feb to 01 March 2020, for stays 15 Feb to 30 Sep 2020.
Harris Resort Belarang (Nearest Ferry Terminal: Batam Centre)
Ho Ciak Eating House
Facebook | Phone: +62 778 4167069
Kidzoopia by Spa Central
Thanks to our sponsors, we are giving 1 loyal reader the chance to experience a 2D1N Stay in Harri Resort Barelang (2 Connecting Seaview Rooms, Weekdays only) with Breakfast for 4 Pax and a Family Spa Package at Spa Central Batam! Prize worth more than SGD300!
- Valid for weekday stays between 15 March 2020 to 30 September 2020.
- Guests over 12 years old are classified as adults and then the third person supplement applies for the extra bed + breakfast.
- Reservation to be confirmed by the resort reservations team and is subject to the availability of the resort.
- This prize is strictly non-transferrable and non-extendable.
Family Spa Package at Spa Central Batam consists of:
- 1 Central Couple for parents (2.5 hrs)
- 1 Aromatherapy Massage 60 mins for 1 Kid (*Aromatherapy can be changed to other treatment with lower or equal price)
- KidZoopia Entrance 90 mins for 1 Kid after the 60 mins Aromatherapy Massage (*Additional kid is Rp300K, which inclues a 60 mins Aromatherapy Massage + 90 mins Kidzoopia Entrance. If without massage, ala-carte entrance fee to Kidzoopia per child is Rp100K for weekdays and Rp120K for weekends.
- This package is redeemable only for Sundays to Fridays (excluding Public Holidays).
To participate, make sure you fulfill all these conditions:
1. LIKE AND FOLLOW these accounts:
a. Spa Central Batam FB and IG
b. Harris Resort Barelang FB and IG
c. Life’s Tiny Miracles FB and IG
2. COMPLETE the other steps in this mandatory Giveaway Widget (opens in a new window).
The giveaway ends 29 Feb 2020 (2359 hrs) and is open to readers in Singapore. The winner will be contacted via FB inbox and will have 24 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn. All steps must be completed and incomplete entries will be disqualified. Please note that all Facebook accounts (e.g. accounts set up purely to take part in contests with no or few authentic posts) will be disqualified. Please note that T&Cs and blackout dates apply. All the best!