Sounds like I'm starting the write their advertising slogan, but it's a place that's easy to fall in love with.
As soon as you chug past Sentosa Island, Singapore’s playground, on the Batam ferry, you literally leave everything behind to maroon yourself on a tropical island. Think Robinson Crusoe, with a luxury edge.
The relaxation is almost forced on you. No phones can reach you; no emails invade your peace and quiet. You're cosseted in nature. It's a relief to leave the technological world behind. Life is put on hold.
Telunas Private Island has only been open six months, but it's right across a short stretch of water (1.4km in case you wish to swim it) from the Telunas Beach Resort, which has already celebrated a decade as one of the best-kept secrets.
Here's what to expect
- You stay in beach cabanas on stilts. For some reason a shed on sticks is an exciting place to stay. Madeleine, our seven-year-old, has declared it to be "the best place on the planet".
- The cabana has two bedrooms, a lounge, a private balcony and a bathroom. One bedroom in on a mezzanine reached by a ladder, but rather thoughtfully, a stair gate is provided at the top of the ladder, to prevent young sleepwalkers from tumbling. The main bedroom opens out onto the balcony. If you get into the au naturel spirit, just mind the fishermen rowing by.
- The rooms are comfortable and simply decorated in sympathy with the surroundings, and there are none of the modern trappings or distractions of a city hotel (do you really need a trouser press, when you live in shorts? Do you really need a full-scale gym, when you can take out a paddleboard or swim in the infinity pool?), although the bathrooms are impressively appointed with rain showers, toiletries and flushing toilets (you're in a villa on stilts, remember).
- That's not to say the resort doesn't make an effort. Every day there is a different activity: a jungle walk to the area's only waterfall for a refreshing plunge; a cooking demo; a bonfire complete with marshmallows; a relaxed dining platform with children's books and family games. There's even a nod to technology: A Kindle loaded with books is also on loan for the duration of your stay - just don't drop it over the side.
- You are completely surrounded by lapping water, open sea on one side, twisted, knotted, impenetrable mangrove on the other.
- The island, surrounded by a handful of tiny fishing hamlets, is accessible only by boat, which means that all supplies, including diesel for the generators and food and drink, are brought in the same way, except for brown water, captured from rain water and put to work in the toilet system.
The sky is endless; the sea breezes bring cooler air; you can watch the sun rise over the water and then set again; you can sit on your balcony in perfect tranquility. What more do you need to help you recover from life in the city?
The practical bit
What you need to pack: passport (you’ll be visiting Indonesia); US$15 per person for the visa on arrival in Batam; your ferry ticket; swimming costume; sun glasses; sun hat; sun crème – can you see a theme developing here?
Transport: You’ll need to book a ferry from Harbourfront to Batam. We used Batam Fast. You’ll need to liaise with the Telunas booking staff as they will collect you from Batam and you’ll take a second boat (bumboat) to Telunas. The second leg takes an hour and a half: the scenery is beautiful, but little children may get bored. From Habourfront to Telunas the journey takes about three hours in total.
Cost: A weekend would cost around S$1,300 in January. This is based on two adults and two children sharing a cabana for two nights, and includes three meals a day, activities and transfers from Batam.
We’d like to thank the Telunas team for hosting us and making us feel so welcome.