Last year suitcases&strollers hosted a competition for one lucky family of readers to win a holiday with kids at Nikoi. Sorelle Marchand, her husband Nick and daughter, Maya (3), have returned from the luxury Indonesian private island relaxed and rejuvenated. As a thank you, Sorelle gave suitcases&strollers her Nikoi review about why this is such a fabulous place to travel with kids. (And if you don't want to miss your chance to enter a suitcases&strollers competition in the future to win a fabulous prize like this, make sure you sign up to our mailing list.)

The beaches around Bintan are often noted for their convenience to travel to from Singapore for quick getaways but not particularly for their beauty. As a half-Sri Lankan family we are generally spoilt with the beaches on our family vacations to Sri Lanka. [To read more about Galle in Sri Lanka, read the suitcases&strollers story here.] We were pleasantly surprised that Nikoi lived up to its promise of absolute ease to travel to [and still] offered the most amazing beach in terms of the quality of the water and beach atmosphere.

We chose to leave on the earliest ferry and arrived at the Bintan immigration where a very friendly representative ushered us to the lounge while he processed our arrival papers. Once those were ready, we caught our very comfortable car for the drive to the private jetty. While the ride was significant – about 40 minutes – we were very comfortable and able to take in the sights, forested areas, palm plantations and local houses along the roadside.

When we arrived at the private jetty we were already made to feel very comfortable with the Nikoi staff handing us drinks and water and hustling us on to the speedboat for the short transfer to the island. We had stepped out of our door at home [in Singapore] at 6.45am and we were sitting on the beach at Nikoi by 10am Indonesian time; a completely painless journey. Since there was still time before lunch would be ready, the staff offered us a snack of some rolls and fresh fruit when we mentioned our early start. We couldn't wait to get to the beach and started our holiday well before our villa was ready an hour later.

The beaches were almost completely our own although there were a few other families there. Because the villas are quite far apart from each other it was like having a private beach for most of the time. The water was completely placid and safe for toddlers. We loved trying to attract the little fish to play with us and collecting the best of the seashells that cover one part of the island.

The best parts about our trip were the ease afforded by all the facilities, the smallest touches (like several outdoor showers to wash the sand out before enjoying the lazy hammocks) and the lounge furniture in the villa and in the general areas of the resort. The family-friendly dining area where the children were served their own kids meals was great and the staff were absolutely friendly and love to play with the kids so the parents could eat, get a massage or a drink at one of the beach bars.  

We can't wait to go back again to this truly family-friendly resort, with grandma this time!

To read more about Nikoi, click on the suitcases&strollers story here

To read more about the other Indonesian beaches near Singapore that you can access via car or ferry, click on the suitcases&strollers story here

By Sorelle Marchand