These are destinations known more by Australians than Europeans, but they are more accessible to us now, with convenient flight connections via Singapore Airlines from London’s Heathrow.
Any vacation should start as soon as the head of the household is safely lodged in the cattery, the central heating is set to just ticking over, you have informed the neighbours for security and to make them jealous, the front door is closed and you are off to Heathrow.
Yes, only off to the airport but that can be the beginning of a week or so of pampering, accessible luxury and full-on relaxation. The Singapore lounge awaits and it’s deliciously garnished, marvellously appointed and your first holiday-mood enhancer. The experience starts here. This is the SilverKris Lounge at Heathrow T2. SilverKris Lounge for First and Business Class customers is a land version of Singapore Airlines’ travel concept of worldwide ‘home away from home’, although much more comfortable than many homes.
Located in T2B close to gate B36 Heathrow, Singapore Airlines’ SilverKris Lounge has more than 200 seats which are arranged in a thoughtful fashion to offer convivial spaces for small groups, work solitude for pressed business trippers, and upholstered chairs for travellers accompanied only by a good book.
The lounge isn’t just for sitting. It’s also for some rather classy casual dining, tempting not only with British dishes but also those from Singapore and Malaysia. Your gastronomic extravaganza starts here.
Arrive and unwind with a glass of chilled champagne – there are also beers and wines – although this seasoned traveller recommends only one glass of alcohol in the lounge; hospitality continues on the flight, meals being lubricated with classic wines and spirits. Grab a magazine, find a cosy corner and wonder why they don’t offer vacations just to the lounge.
First Class customers are treated to goods from the self-service buffet area, as well as an à la carte menu which changes throughout the day. There might be Singapore Laksa and the famous and ubiquitous Hainanese Chicken Rice. There is also the very traditional British afternoon tea menu, which is obviously a favourite with those flying home to the Far East from these shores.
But you are off to Batam or Bali and this is only the first step. Those islands are nearer than you think, with just a change of vehicle at Singapore. The beautiful island of Bali, just a connecting flight away from Singapore airport, has many facets. It appeals both to those with an interest in learning more about the fascinating Indonesian culture, and to those others who are party animals. The two experiences co-exist and are flourishing.
Batam is just a short ferry ride from Singapore and offers a tropical paradise, with a hotel providing calm after time spent enjoying the cosmopolitan vibe of the modern and energetic city state of Singapore.
A tranquil world away
Montigo Resorts Nongsa, on Batam, is a property which thinks it’s a village. The 88 seafront villas provide everything that you expect from the perfect vacation home. There are light and airy living rooms, private patios for romantic alfresco dining, secluded plunge pools, cooking facilities, sumptuous bedrooms and modern and well-appointed bathrooms. So close to Singapore but a tranquil world away. This stunning resort is ideal as part of a 2-venue holiday. Discerning adults will love shopping, museums, entertainment in Singapore. Equally they will appreciate the sophistication and quiet of Montigo Resorts Nongsa. The kids will be thrilled by swimming pools and the kids’ club with its host of activities here. All the family will enjoy the resort’s restaurants which will appeal to every taste.
Montigo Resorts Seminyak, on Bali, has an outstanding location. It’s surrounded by smart bars and boutiques but the island has more to offer than cocktails and retail therapy. There are craft villages, temples, tourist shops, rice terraces and jungles to entice the visitor away from beaches and pools. Montigo Resorts Seminyak is indeed a tropical idyll but laced with the best of modern comforts and technology.
There are more than 100 stylish and spacious guest rooms and suites which are ideal for both families and couples. The restaurant offers outstanding Asian and European dishes; they have a bar which is becoming noted for its classic and exotic cocktails. High-end, yet family-friendly luxury.
Travel review by Chrissie Walker © 2018