Telunas Private Island Resort is the perfect destination for a short getaway from Singapore. Located near Batam, one of the Indonesian islands near Singapore, this Indonesian resort island offers barefoot luxury at its best – it is the kind of resort where you kick your flip flops off when you come ashore and don’t even look for them again until it is time to leave.
Telunas Beach Resort has been a Riau Islands resort for 13 years, when in 2004 three American college friends created it as a back-to-basics beach resort. When its Private Island resort debuted in 2014, they decided to take things up a notch in terms of design and facilities, and the Private Island resort was quickly welcomed into the prestigious Conde Nast Johansen Luxury Hotel – Spa collection.
The resort offers 15 overwater villas, each with private balcony and separate kids loft bedroom. With no Wi-Fi or televisions on the island, it is all about relaxation and good old fashioned fun – spend your days kayaking, swimming, reading a book or indulging in a spa massage. There’s even a kids club to keep the kids entertained while you do all this.
Read on for our full Telunas Private Island review.
Bedtime at Telunas Private Island
The 15 Telunas Private Island villas branch out on stilts over the water, resembling a local water village or kampung. The villas are constructed using ethically-sourced local materials, where even the roofing comes from sagu leaves that are only collected once they have naturally fallen to the ground.
While these water villas may be Indonesian kampung on the outside, their interiors are all New England beach house, with white washed wood paneled walls, distressed wood flooring and shabby chic furniture repurposed from local fishing boats. All the fixtures and fittings are made from natural products, from the mirror frames to the light shades.
If I were to design a beach house, I would want it to look exactly like this. Out of all the private islands near Singapore, the rooms at Telunas are my favourite.
There’s no air-conditioning, but the villas are designed to provide “wind-conditioning”, making the most of the sea breeze. The overhead fans are more than enough to keep you cool. I was also impressed by all the little touches that demonstrate that a lot of thought had gone into the rooms, such as the multi-regional adaptors in the sockets (how many large international hotels can’t even get this right?!) and the provision of mosquito repellent and after-sun.
The generously sized master bedroom with King bed faces out to sea, from which extends a large private balcony with a double sunlounger and table and chairs. The balcony is completely secluded and the only view is out to sea and across to the Telunas Beach Resort.
Unlike some water villas I have seen in the Maldives, the balconies are completely secured with wooden railings to prevent little kids falling or jumping off. This means you can leave your balcony doors open and enjoy the sea breeze without fear of losing a small child into the water.
The natural stone bathroom features a spacious shower, with a rainforest shower head, while the separate living area has comfy natural rattan sofas and coffee table. A water dispenser provides both cold drinking water and hot water for making tea/coffee. There is no television, phone or fridge in the room. You can keep drinks in the fridge in the main reception area, but this is something to bear in mind if you have small children who like milk first thing in the morning, or you need somewhere to keep baby food.
My kids were so excited to discover the children’s loft bedroom, with single beds and beanbag. This is accessed by a very steep staircase/ladder and sleeps up to three children. There is a stair guard, but if you have very young children, you would probably feel more comfortable making up a bed in the living area for them. My kids are aged four and six and I was happy for them to sleep up there, although I woke up with every creak to make sure that they were ok coming down the stairs in the middle of the night.
Be sure to ask for mosquito nets for the kids bedroom. My kids got covered in mosquito bites on the first night, but the housekeeping team was quick to install nets when I requested them and we had no problems after that.
Playtime at Telunas Private Island
There’s no Wi-Fi or television on Telunas so it’s all about good wholesome family fun. We spent a lot of time playing in the sea-facing infinity pool, jumping off the jetty into the sea and even trying our hand at fishing off our balcony with the fishing lines and bait provided by the activities team.
A selection of kayaks and paddle boards are available, so the kids had a go at paddle boarding and we took a family kayak expedition around the island (it takes around 30 minutes to circumnavigate the island). Around the other side of the island we discovered a ‘secret beach’, which is also accessible via the nature walk. Head here and you will likely have the entire beach to yourselves!
One morning we took the 2-minute shuttle boat across to the Telunas Beach Resort (you can also kayak or paddle board across anytime you want). Although the accommodation at the Beach Resort is distinctly no-frills, it does benefit from a spectacular beachfront – a huge expanse of sand where we hunted for hermit crabs and mudskippers and splashed around in the shallow water. The shuttle boat goes across every morning and afternoon, but returns you to the Private Island for lunch.
The big advantage Telunas has over the other island resorts near Singapore is its fully supervised kids club. “Kids Kampung” may only be small but my kids loved spending time here. There were daily activities at 3pm and 4pm, which ranged from arts and crafts activities to scavenger hunts on the beach and hermit crab racing.
At other times (the kids club is open both morning and afternoon, closing at lunchtime) they were kept entertained with games of Twister and colouring in pictures, or playing tag with their new friends. One evening the kids club was even transformed into a movie theater with chairs on the sand and a movie projected onto the wall.
It’s not just the kids that benefit from organized activities. Every day there is a family/adult activity organized. These range from a cooking demonstration, to a 10km jungle hike or a visit to a nearby village. If you need evening entertainment, there is a huge selection of board games to choose from.
My personal favorite feature of Telunas Resorts Private Island was the overwater spa. This spa has the most gorgeous setting of any spa I have been to. While the kids happily played in the kids club, I indulged in an aromatherapy massage to the sound of the splashing waves and cicadas in the mangrove trees. Life doesn’t get much better than that!
Dinnertime at Telunas Private Island
All meals are served in the Grand Pavilion, where you can dine with beautiful views out to sea. All meals are included as a mandatory additional charge, charged at a flat per person per night rate.
Breakfast is a small buffet, with a nice selection of fresh tropical fruit, cereal and juices. The kids loved the waffle station, while the egg station provided a choice of eggs or omelettes dished up fresh to order. If you prefer to go local, there is a changing local selection. Although the espresso machine was still being set up while we were there, we appreciated the choice of different Indonesian coffees for plunger coffee.
Lunch is always a local Indonesian dish – usually rice, noodle or curry based. There is no choice, but if you don’t like the option you can request an alternative. Every lunch we had was delicious. The meal starts with a salad buffet and ends with a local dessert.
Dinner features a choice of western main dishes, with the menu changing daily. We ate meals as varied as Baked Crusted Cod with green mash and aromatic jus, Prawn Skewers with mushroom risotto, and Roast Chicken with jacket potatoes. Every meal was innovative, beautifully presented and very tasty. Evening meals were served with a starter and dessert.
A separate kids menu gave six options, including grilled chicken with rice, spaghetti with meatballs, fried rice and mac & cheese. They were always happy to let us order off-menu if necessary too – eg. Spaghetti with tomato sauce. They also indulged my children who fell in love with the chocolate mousse on the first night and continued to request it every evening thereafter!
There is a small wine list but if you want champagne or a particularly fancy bottle of wine, you should bring your own. There is blissfully no corkage charge at Telunas, so you are only restricted by Indonesian customs limits (currently 1 litre per person). You can keep any wine in the bar fridge. There are no wines by the glass, but you can ask to keep your bottle for the next evening.
We loved the Sand Bar, open every afternoon and evening, where you can drink with your toes in the sand, and there is also an ‘honesty bar’ in the hotel lobby, where you can help yourself to soft drinks and beer at any time.
Conclusion of our Telunas Private Island Review
Telunas Resort is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway from Singapore. Of all the private island beach resorts near Singapore, we found Telunas the easiest and quickest to get to.
It may not have the crystal clear aquamarine water or house reef of some of the other islands around Singapore, but we loved our four days here. The whole resort is gorgeous – from the rustic chic bedrooms to the sea-facing infinity pool to the overwater spa. Oh that overwater spa!
One of the major things that set this resort apart from the other private island resorts is the staff. The staff at Telunas Private Island were among the most welcoming and friendly of any resort I have stayed anywhere in the world. From the moment we were welcomed off the boat to the moment we were waved off again from the jetty, we were made to feel like we were very welcome visitors in their home.
We were greeted by Oki’s smiling face every morning and nothing we asked for was too much trouble for any of the staff. The kids particularly loved Dwi who performed magic tricks for them at dinner every evening and decorated balloons with silly faces, and Marcel who played hopscotch with them and chased them around the lobby.
If you are looking for somewhere to completely relax and unwind, then Telunas Private Island is the perfect option for you.
No Wi-Fi, no TV, no traffic – no problem!
How to get to Telunas Private Island
To get to Telunas resort you first need to take the BatamFast ferry from Harbourfront Ferry Terminal in Singapore to Sepukang in Batam, Indonesia. The ferry takes around one hour.
In Sekupang you will be greeted by the Telunas staff who will guide you to the private boat transfer to Telunas. The boat ride to Telunas takes around 1 hour 30 minutes. It is a pleasant boat ride though in traditional wooden long boat, past mangrove islands and local water villages. You don’t need to worry about sea sickness – my husband gets chronic sea sickness and he was absolutely fine!
We left our hotel in Singapore at around 9.30am and we were in Telunas in time for lunch.
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Note: Mum on the Move were guests of Telunas Private Island for the purposes of writing this review. This in no way influenced my review and all opinions, as always are honest and my own.