If you're seeking a digital detox, here's a comfortable option you might want to consider. Banyan Tree Bintan just launched its Kelong Villa which opens July 15. It is built and named as a tribute to the traditional offshore stilted platforms used by Indonesian fishermen. Also called the floating villa, it is an eco-friendly hotel room that drifts in the middle of the ocean, 250 metres away from the modern Laguna Bintan integrated resort.
From $840 per night, the Kelong Villa launch offer includes daily breakfast, Indonesia afternoon tea, a kelong dinner, a welcome footpath ritual, a 60-minute full body massage, and return land transfers. The experience begins by boarding a pokchai (motorised wooden boat) at the beachfront. Arriving in just under two minutes, you'll be greeted with the customary sounding of a terompet (local handmade horn) by the Banyan Host as you disembark from the boat.
The first order of business is to taste the traditional welcome offerings of kueh putu ayu (steamed rice flour cake filled with palm sugar) and a healthful elixir of carrot, pineapple and ginger. You can then dip your toes into a luxurious foot bath with traditional herbs and pandan juice, and shed your footwear in favour of traditional pandan sandals. Because, barefoot luxury – or whatever they call it these days.
If you’re feeling hungry, pick from an in-villa menu with culinary options hand-delivered through pokchai by a Banyan host. Call it a floating Deliveroo or GrabFood, if you wish.
In line with the whole digital detox theme, the Kelong Villa offers a curated selection of amenities and activities that’ll encourage guests to disconnect from your social media feeds. Think board games, books, fishing rods, and kayaks.
At the end of your stay, the check-out is just as ceremonious as the arrival. There’s the farewell elixir of sweet papaya, baby spinach and honey juice – served alongside lapis Surabaya, a local snack. To end it off, experience the local tradition of freeing a handmade banana leaf boat and scattering flower petals in the ocean while making a wish. It might all seem a little OTT, but this is truly a stay steeped in age-old traditions.