A group of us were invited to Montigo in August, an instagrammable haven thirty minutes from Singapore. I find myself using the word Montigo freely, as if Montigo has become an island of it’s own, independent from Batam. For sure, that’s how it felt – the entire time we were there, we only left the resort compound once, to take a sunset cruise around the waters of Batam. There was no other reason to leave: the place is, in spirit if not in deed, an island of its own.
I’d seen Montigo popping up on my instagram and Facebook feeds frequently prior to our trip, so I had some idea of what the place looked like – a Santorini-esqe resort, dipped in the white and bamboo of luxury. So the fact that the place was beautiful upon arrival was no surprise, though met with the requisite oohing and aahing still. But something rarely mentioned in online ravings about the place was how perfect the reception and hospitality from the staff there was, and how much we were made to feel like royalty every second of our trip.
The kind of hospitality we were privy to was the kind to make one blush. We were hosted by Kasheef, one of the Montigo Resort staff, who was extraordinary in terms of both professionalism and friendliness. I would go as far as to say that he singlehandedly elevated the trip beyond the standard luxurious getaway to a uniquely memorable one.
I would say that hosting a group of bloggers isn’t the easiest thing in the world. I have strong feelings about this, actually, the idea of twelve years of education cumulating in a degree that you use to babysit bloggers. Because isn’t that a large part of what marketing and PR is these days? While not entirely true, many of the stereotypes one hears regarding this industry is somewhat legitimate – bloggers individually can be entitled, take too many photos of their food while letting it get cold, and have a bad sense of time. As a group they’re a giggling compound that’s hard to take seriously. Many bloggers do good, legitimate work, and take pride in creating quality content. But it would be silly to assume that this is the norm instead of the exception. Just ask any blogger’s boyfriend. I dont think mine has had a hot meal in two years.
My personal opinions on this are what give me such fierce respect for people – marketing, PR, or service – who remain absolutely unfazed and professional in such situations. I’m not proud to say that we kept the Montigo staff waiting on more than one occasion while trying to get the perfect picture of our food, or the sunset. The social media life is one that can turn obsessive, and it is a perpetual struggle to remind oneself to live in the real world instead of through tiny squares.The three of us (Amanda, Vera, and myself) are all guilty of that, and we know it. And yet, Kasheef and his team smiled at us through it all as if it were their idea that we made a detour to get a shot against a particular background, or of a certain angle. It was impressive.
The resort itself is beautiful, I dont think anyone in their right mind would dispute that. Each three-storied villa came with a private pool, an attached bamboo pavilion (for morning yoga, I suspect), an open concept bathroom, and a rooftop terrace that you could have a private chef come in and barbecue a fancy dinner for you on. We did that on our first night while slowly emptying a bottle of wine to the lazily setting sun. Like I said – the place was otherworldly.
A real effort was made to ensure that all guests have the option of creating their own unique experiences on trip beyond just lounging in the admittedly gorgeous compound. For example, we did this thing where we went fishing and then learnt to cook our catch in a three course traditional Indonesian meal. I think it’s called the Montigo Chef Experience. Just ask upon arrival. And even if getting hands on isn’t your thing, all the food served within Montigo was en pointe, whether taken at the restaurant or delivered to your room for a poolside meal.
Thank you for having us, Montigo Resorts! x