Together, Yet Apart

Me-time, couple-time and family time – ELISA CHIA enjoyed them all during a four-day getaway at this Bintan resort.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

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My Reading Room

Should we leave our kids behind and go on a vacation? It had been a while since my husband and I spent quality time together.

It turns out that I’m not the only one who’s entertained this idea. A recent survey found that 41 per cent of parents in Singapore would do that, making them tops among families in Asia – ahead of Hong Kong (27 per cent), Taiwan (23 per cent) and Malaysia (19 per cent).

But when we broached the subject with the kids, our five-year-old son turned on the waterworks. Then there was the disappointed look on our 10-year-old daughter’s face.

Guilt won and we caved in. We would make it another family holiday, but at Club Med. The resort chain always comes to mind when we want to take a break from the children, yet cannot bring ourselves to.

We have fond memories of our two vacations at its Phuket property and we knew we could trust the staff – or GOs (Gentle Organisers) as they’re addressed – to keep the kids entertained while we enjoyed some couple-time.


This time around, Club Med Bintan Island was our destination of choice. It was relaunched in April last year after extensive refurbishment.

As we were led to our Deluxe Seaview rooms, we caught sight of the GOs playing water polo with their young charges at the pool. That instantly psyched our kids up for a day of fun.

We wasted no time in signing them up at the Mini Club Med for guests from four to 10 years old. What this means: We could drop them off from 8.30am to 5pm and 6.30pm to 8.30pm daily throughout our vacation.

“Don’t worry, Mummy! They won’t miss you,” Dina, a GO from the kids’ club, quipped.

Looking at the packed timetable, I knew she was right. Here’s a typical Tuesday’s activity:

9am: Trapeze

10am: Archery and ball games

11am: Aqua fun

12pm: Lunch

1pm: Energy boosting games

2pm: Aqua fun 3pm: Sports activities

3.30pm: Snack time 4pm: Fashion show rehearsal 5pm: Pick-up time

6.30pm: Dinner

7.30pm: Fashion show


With the kids in good hands, my husband and I could relax and choose our own activities. I looked forward to the 8am and 5pm daily yoga sessions at the beach-facing pavilion, while he signed up for snorkeling and golf.

We loved that the family could be together at the resort, yet apart if we wanted to. Metime, couple-time and family time – we had them all during our four-day getaway.

Almost all activities and meals were covered in our all-inclusive holiday package, so we didn’t have to touch the currency converter app to figure out if something was worth paying for. It also takes the stress out of researching and planning for a memorable trip.

Would we leave our kids behind for a couple-only holiday? I guess we really don’t have to.


My Reading Room
My Reading Room
My Reading Room
My Reading Room

Before you go

Pack these items for your child, so he can have a great time at the kids’ club:

• Hat or cap

• Swimwear

• A set of extra clothes

• Sunscreen

• Sports shoes and sandals

If your child is below four years old, he can join the activities at Club Med Baby (four to 23 months old) and Petit Club Med (ages two to three). You’ll need to take along his health booklet or medical certifi cate.

There’s also a Junior Club Med for kids from 11 to 17 years old.