Cassia Bintan, the newest addition to the Banyan Tree group, which officially opened end-August, embraces this concept.

Laid-back, fun and uber cool, the resort has wide open spaces - perfect for you to kick off your flip-flops and bury your toes in the sand.

To further embrace your free spirit, Cassia provides the flexibility to tailor-make your resort experience and beach vacation to fit you.

With its two swimming pools, a plunge pool, verandah and direct beachfront access, it features a number of exclusive amenities and offerings to satisfy any resort lover or beach goer.

Dining is also free and easy, which is good news for fussy foodies.


Photo: Asnah Ahmad


You can choose from more than 10 restaurants within the Laguna Bintan property where Cassia is located, including the Kelong Seafood Restaurant.

You also have the option of a do-it-yourself meal in the comfort of your room, cooking up your favourite food in the fully equipped kitchenette.



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Meats, vegetables and other ingredients are available at the resort's in-house minimart.

If you are travelling with a group of friends, you can opt for a private barbecue at your very own terrace - the portable barbecue pit is ideal for a small gathering.


Photo: Asnah Ahmad

There is even a set of steamboat appliances in the room if that is what you prefer.

I personally would go for the most effortless option - themed hampers.

These are customised food baskets prepared to suit your needs or occasion. I must say it makes having breakfast in bed an appealing idea.





I love the fact that the whole resort is self-contained so there is no need to worry about not having anything you need. They even provide flip-flops for all guests in case, like me, you missed that out in your packing.

Cassia is also home to the first beach club in Bintan, ideal for party animals.

Huge canopies, signature beach umbrellas and ample seating for beachfront dining make XANA Beach Club a cool space.



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As evening falls, with the spectacular sunset as the backdrop, it is easily transformed into a state-of-the-art entertainment venue.

Being part of the Laguna Bintan Integrated Resort, guests at this beachfront property are free to use its 18-hole golf course or other facilities at Angsana Bintan, including its world-class spa.

Unlike its sister resorts, Cassia positions itself as an apartment-hotel, one that will certainly appeal to those looking for a chalet or service apartment-style accommodation with the extra frills and comforts of a hotel.

It is spread across five contemporary apartment blocks, and you can choose from one-bedroom, two-bedroom and loft-style apartments.

Block 1 is the closest to the beach and Block 5 the furthest.

Long corridors connect one block to the next.

Although most of the sea-facing rooms in Block 1 were under construction when I visited last month, I could already guess what amazing views they would have.

The living space with a separate sitting area, balcony and open terrace inspires guests to mingle and connect.

This concept of social and communal interaction is especially evident in the resort's lobby.



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Open, casual and inviting, it provides a comfortable space for guests to hang out with their travel party over a coffee or cocktail, or even get to know other guests.

The vibe is so informal that it makes it easy to open up to new acquaintances.

Cassia is also brimming with colourful art - huge murals painted by local street artists can be seen on walls, in the rooms, inside elevators and some even at unexpected corners.

While the ones in the common areas are brightly coloured and more dramatic, those in the rooms are understated and nature-inspired. Single- or dual-toned drawings of marine creatures and wildlife that blend in subtly with the cool colour schemes are a symbol of the resort's conservation efforts.

Book now and enjoy special opening rates starting from US$88++ ($120) a room a night for stays until Dec 20, inclusive of daily breakfast for two and return land transfer by coach.


This article was first published on The New Paper