Over the last weekend, my darling Sulastri and myself headed to Batam for a short relaxing holiday for just the two of us girls so that we can talk non-stop about our wedding plans while we spoil ourselves with massages and indulge ourselves with food all at such an affordable price! We’ve been meaning to do a list of #2017bride Things-to-Do (yes, with the hashtag) and we’re so excited to finally have this opportunity to do a spa retreat together.
Off on our 45mins ride with Majestic Fast Ferry to Batam where our first #2017bride adventure begins!
Here’s a funny story to start the trip. Upon our arrival at Batam Ferry Terminal, our driver greeted us warmly and brought us to the car that will take us to the hotel. I haven’t been to Batam for a while so I forgot how their parking system and roads work. We noticed that there was a big Sedan parked horizontally behind our car with no driver. He opened the back doors of the car to let us sit while he stood there for a few minutes analysing how to get his car out. We were quite comfortable chatting away in the car when he knocked, opened the front door and apologetically said, “Maaf Ibu, sebentar ya, saya mahu tolak mobil (sorry Maam, please hold on, I will be pushing a car)”. And he went to the back of the Sedan and tried to push it! Then the parking attendant came and tried to push it with him! This went on for about 5mins. They gave up pushing so the parking attended told our driver to get back into the car and he will direct him on how to get out of the space. Our driver got back in and proceeded to follow…
“Okay, ke depan (to the front), ke kiri (to the left), ke kiri lagi (to the left again), lurus (straight), lurus lagi (straighten some more), kiri (left), ke kanan (to the right)…” and it went on for the next 10mins while me and Susu were wondering how in the world our poor driver was going to get out of that tight space but the attendant was really confident! It was so comical, we were trying not to burst out laughing. In front of the Sedan was a red car that was not locked and our driver casually asked the attended if he could kindly drive the red car to the side! The people in Batam are really patient and so trusting not to lock their cars and just drive it to the side! Unfortunately (or not!), the Sedan was locked. Our driver finally gave up and both him and the attendant went to look for the mysterious Sedan’s driver. 15mins later, they all showed up and the driver of the Sedan drove his car to the side. The mysterious driver turned out to be a polisi (policeman)! LOL! They all left the carpark like the fiasco was the most normal thing in the world and went their merry way. Made me think, maybe we take life a little too seriously?
We booked a night’s stay in a Deluxe Room at Grand I Hotel but we were pleasantly surprised when we realise we were upgraded to a Suite! How apt for our #2017bride experience, princess treatment! Susu stayed here on a number of occasions because it is very accessible to the Nagoya shopping district and its posh looking! Whoever said Batam doesn’t have posh hotels haven’t been to Grand I! Service was good too except that they took quite a while to serve us our tea at breakfast but overall experience was more than I expected.
One of the things we were looking forward to do was to go swimming. So of course we wasted no time dipping into the pool, soaking in the Jacuzzi and making use of the Steam Room.
Breakfast at Grand I was good except, as mentioned earlier, they took awhile to serve our tea mainly because we were seated next to the window and there were so many Singaporeans, hence their kiasu-ness of asking for too much when they get hold of a waiter/waitress. The buffet spread was the standard western breakfast but I reached for their Indonesian fried rice because I couldn’t get enough of it. I love Indonesian fried rice with ikan bilis (anchovies)!
I’ve officially marked Grand I Hotel as one of my favourites in Batam after Montigo but I will recommend Grand I for a cheaper alternative and if you’re looking to have a spa day because it is literally a 10mins walk to Nagoya Hill and the stretch of massage parlours. It is so conveniently located that even a walk from my house to the MRT takes me longer.
Here’s a list of what we’ve done during our #2017bride Retreat.
- Massage, Scrub & Milk Bath
- Strawberry Cream Bath Hair Mask
- Jacuzzi, Steam and Swimming
- Ear Candling
- Face Mask
Most of our time was spent around the Nagoya Hill vicinity because most of the massage parlours and salons are located here. Nagoya Hill also has quite a number of fast food chains and cafes where you can snack or have coffee before your spa appointment. Since we visited on the weekend right before the fasting month, most of the things/places we wanted to try out had issues. Machine ‘spoil’, kerepek ‘sold out’, salon ‘under renovation’. We suspected that most of the employees went back to their kampong for the month and their kerepek were shipped to Singapore to be sold at the bazaars for Ramadhan.
Susu brought me to a parlour where we did ear candling and my cone was black as hell. Eww, so gross, of course I’ll spare you the sight of how disgusting the insides of my ears are but here’s one of us in a salon in Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall called Konad having our Strawberry Cream Bath Hair Mask.
This cost us about SGD $8 each! You can choose from a few different flavours but Susu and I went for Strawberry and our hair felt so soft and we wanted to eat our hair because it smelt yummy.
After a day of swimming, steam baths and ear candling, we took a late night session at Majesty Spa & Massage across the road from Nagoya Hill where Susu frequents. Our package included a 3hour massage, scrub and milk bath for 2 ladies that cost us about SGD $170. Majesty Spa is very hospitable and they have snacks available for their guests – Sardine Bread (that Susu and I were obsessively stuffing, its so damn good!), Cup Noodles, Coffee, Tea, Milo, even fried rice served warm and so many more! All these and the place is still kept so clean and comfortable. The people here sure know how to attract customers, especially us Singaporeans! And they won’t rush you to proceed to your room on the dot at your appointed time especially when you’re eating, you just have to let them know when you’re ready and everything will already be prepared for you with 3hrs from the time you start. I’m definitely coming back here for my massages the next time we go to Batam for their VIP treatment.
We dozed off during the massage. During the body scrub, I was awaken by a very familiar powdery smell… *sniff sniff… Chanel No. 5??? How can this be? I immediately looked at the cream they were scrubbing onto our bodies and asked Susu if she knew what it was because it smells of No. 5 (which is my absolute favourite scent btw) and she told me that the cream they were putting on us is called lulur, a traditional Indonesian body scrub. Its a creamy consistency that you rub off once its dried and all the dirt will come off. I thoroughly enjoyed it and Susu brought me to Mega Mart the next day so that I can buy a bottle to try at home at only $1.60!
Later at night back at our suite, Susu and myself put on our animal face masks to complete our spa day while ordering room service and watching Wedding Cakes on TV. But first, Snapchat filters (add me @lovebellavida)…
We went to bed soundly that night in our huge-ass bed after a long day of massages and non-stop chatter. Gotta love this tiger.
Eating in Batam is easy especially for Muslim friends as almost every eatery is halal. Here are some of the food we ate.
A&W is a must-have for every Singaporean when they’re in Batam or JB/KL because its a childhood treat for us since we don’t have any A&W diners left here in Singapore. We made a bee-line for the A&W at Nagoya Hill Shopping Centre because I was craving for Root Beer Float and Susu really wanted waffles and we were both hungry upon arrival on our first day here in Batam.
I noticed that while Starbucks in the malls here were filled with Singaporeans (as usual, hogging the space with all their bags and one cup of frappe while speaking loudly), the J.Co cafes here seem to be a favourite for the locals. We decided to have drinks here and chill for a bit and its here I learned a new word – Gratis. It means free! We got a donut gratis when you buy a drink and dine in! Yay! Its no wonder the locals love it here, who doesn’t want a donut gratis?
One of my other must-haves while in Batam is to have Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice). I love how Indonesians make their fried rice and with a variety to choose from. Here we had Nasi Goreng Kepiting (Crab Fried Rice) and Mi Goreng (Fried Noodles) with Teh Botol (Tea in a Bottle) to go along with our food. Go local or go home y’all.
Guess we still have our Indon blood running in our veins, heh. Btw, it was a no makeup weekend so that meant no eyebrows too.
I had a really wonderful weekend chatting, gossiping, snapchatting, laughing, shopping, planning and spa-ing, with this wonderful girl – my happy pill and sister. I hope you had just as much fun in Batam as I did Susu darling, I can’t stop grinning at our Snapchat videos. To more #2017bride moments, we still have many more to strike off our list and I cannot ask for anyone better to make these memories with. I love you my favourite #2017bride.
Follow our #2017bride journey to wedded bliss together here on Love Bella Vida.
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