Hotel Review: Bawah Reserve, Anambas Archipielago, Indonesia by Carmen Caballero
Month Visited: October 2019
Type of visit: Couples
Length of stay: 4 nights
Bawah Marine Reserve is located in a very remote area of Anambas Archipielago and this is what really makes it such a definition of paradise and a real authentic experience in Indonesia. All of the area covered: the 3 lagoons, 13 beaches and 6 islands form the Bawah Reserve in the Riau Islands.
Check-in and first impressions:
Singapore is the closest and easiest way to start the journey to Bawah if you are traveling from outside Asia. From here, you will be picked up at your hotel and escorted by a driver in a business class Toyota to the ferry terminal where you will be greeted by a representative from Bawah and they will make the check in for you, and then you will take a short 40 minute ferry to Batam. There is a strict 15KG luggage allowance per guest for the seaplane, and excess luggage can be stored at Batam office free of charge. At Batam you will be again greeted by another representative from Bawah and then escorted to the airport where you will take an 80 minute sea plane ride to Bawah. Views from the seaplane are just incredible upon arrival, the best views of the reserves’ six islands.
Once arrived at Bawah, you will be greeted by the staff of the hotel and live indonesian music and then escorted to your villa (in my case was villa 19). Here the will explain to you your initial itinerary with activities reserved or suggested, at the island and also introduce a phone where you can chat with the staff at Bawah in case you want to change anything or have any requests. Our villa was walking distance from the jetty, it was a chic safari tent style villa with stunning ocean views.
Each room has a butler associated, who assists with activities, excursions, restaurant and spa reservations to ensure the stay is tailored to your needs and I found thy were very flexible. We made a couple last minute changes to initial itinerary and the concierge was efficient in making them.
Room type and first impressions– size, views, wardrobe, decor, welcome amenities… :
Our Beach Villa Suite N.19 was very unique and actually we would have chosen it in case we could. Although are villa did not have a number really, we had personalized plates with our names. We thought that at the hotel the beach villas were great and private and just metres aways from amazing coral reefs. In the case of overwater bungalows, since the tide was low at this time of the year it made no sense and they were located far from the hotels restaurants, beach and main areas. The distribution of the rooms was the same at both.
Our Beach Villa had a lovely porch where we could admire de ocean and exercise every morning and also the bed area was very comfortable and had anything you needed.
We were also able to visit the renovation of deluxe two bedroom beach villas which will be finished by Christmas, one jungle villa and the new construction of six villas which will be located in a private island for rental and which will have its own pool, butlers, gym, spa and restaurants.
Bathroom and amenities:
The bathroom is separated by a glass door from the bedroom and is partially outdoors. You really feel like if you were showering in the jungle due to its sustainable design but its protected by wood and a fan so bugs do not bother or appear. Bathroom amenities were organic and very good quality. Guests at the hotel are offered complimentary laundry service.
It was very easy to join and worked very well throughout the entire resort property.
Honestly, the pool area at Bawah is very nice however we did not find a moment to enjoy it since there were so many things to do at the hotel and enjoying the Indonesian sea was a priority in my case with so much variety of beaches and coastlines.
Breakfast was a la carte and the options offered were great. Specially enjoyed the Indonesian eggs Benedict, Avocado toast, and the freshly baked muffins of the day were too good. Pancakes and waffles were not amazing I think they could do a little more original. It is served at Treetop restaurant which really has a stunning view of the hotel and the islands and also makes you feel in contact with nature and the feeling of sitting in a kind of birds nest is also one of the things I found really attractive.
During our 4 nights, we had dinner at the Treetops restaurant which was absolutely excellent; another day we had a private dinner at the pontoon overwater which we really enjoyed- as always food was great and the lobster rolls with squid ink tempura was amazing. We were able to experience 2 theme nights, The Barbecue at the Boat House (Beach Restaurant). The food was very good although we found once we arrived that the menu was set and the other option was to dine at our villa. The staff at Bawah always offers you a solution for everything. We decided to try the Barbecue and we prefer the regular Boat House menu but it was not bad!
One of the things I really enjoyed at Bawah was the amount of activities it offers, included in the rates to guests. Bawah Reserve isn’t about enjoying your room, it’s about getting out there and enjoying nature.
From plenty of wellness options such as yoga or pilates, one massage per person/per day for guests (the arrival and departure dates will be 30 minutes and rest of the days 1 hour), sunset cruises, paddle boarding, kayak, private picnics in the reserves isolated islands, one of the best snorkel and diving sites of the world, stargazing, beach cinema, cooking classes, a great spa, gourmet food…
From my experience, both picnic sites are really amazing. At Turtle Beach you are able to enjoy two pristine beaches all to yourself and snorkel in one the best areas. At Coconut beach you will feel like Leonardo DiCaprio at ‘The Beach’ as it has one of the best beaches I have ever seen and has the most amazing views to enjoy a delicious breakfast. Consider it is just a picnic but the food was good and the attention too. You are given walky talkies just in case you need anything or you want to be picked up before hand.
What I love the most
∘ Remote, . 6 islands, 3 turquoise lagoons and 13 pristine beaches 80 minutes by seaplane from Batam
∘ Arrive in style by seaplane and admire the incredible landscapes of Bawah Reserve : mountains, corals and beaches
∘ Incredible coral reefs and marine bottoms which are azure blue. You can see turtles, black tip reef sharks, barracudas, lots of colored fish, and bump head parrot fish.
∘ Beaches are white powder sand
∘ Sustainability: Bawah Team makes a great effort to keep the ocean clean and educates guests and workers to be in compromise with the Earth
∘ Beach villas are just metres away from coral reefs and all around the reserve you are able to see them crystal clear
∘ Bawah offers guests many activities such as hikes, snorkel, diving, eating (the food is REALLY good), kayak, yoga and other wellness activities + 2 massages per day for guests, cooking classes, beach cinema. We really recommend the private picnics at Coconut Beach and Turtle Beach
∘ It is reasonable regarding price since the quality is excellent and the all-inclusive “a la carte” regime + all the activities the hotel includes for guests make it worthwhile
Disclosure: I was a guest of this hotel and even though the hotel may have offered complimentary services, my reviews will never be swayed one way or the other. Hope you trust you have received complete truth in each review.