Anyone who has travelled with me knows that I have extremely low standard for accommodation. My logic is that since I will spend most part of the day travelling, I just need a bed to sleep and a clean bathroom to shower. I will normally opt for a hostel or a very cheap hotel, and so far both have worked fine with me. Rarely has an accommodation given me a bad impression that I do not wish to set my foot there again. In fact, I would recommend most of them to friends travelling.
Up until two weeks ago, I only had two places that I would advise anyone to avoid at all costs. First was the apartment that I stayed in Hong Kong. It was actually clean enough considering it looked very old, but for some reason it gave me the creep. As we were sitting down in the living room chatting away at night, we suddenly heard a surge of water bursting from the pipe in one of the bathrooms. We were understandably surprised and in a desperate attempt to push away any thoughts of ghosts from my mind, I went to check the bathroom and somehow came up with a scientific explanation to calm myself down that perhaps it was because the water in the heating system overflowed. As I’m writing this, I had no idea how I managed to talk to myself and my friends into believing that. As if to prove me wrong straightaway, my friend found a few sheets of test papers on top of a shoe rack and the name of the student was ‘Demon’. Now I know that Hong Kong people have an interesting way of naming themselves (Apple, Orange, Kitty, Ice, Star, Bambi, etc), but when a Demon appeared together with bursting water pipe, it was enough to scare all of us that we had to watch funny Bollywood videos to calm ourselves down.
Second was a hotel in Copenhagen that I stayed in summer 2013. I have never been so sure that poltergeists exist until then. I distinctly remembered putting my earrings on the table only to find the next morning that they were gone. After turning the room upside down, my dad found each side of the earrings at different corners of the room. What was even creepier was that they were not the only items that had moved overnight. I was charging my camera battery and in the morning the battery was no longer in the charger. Instead, we found the battery separated from the charger below our blanket. Either one of my family members had a case of violent sleepwalking that none of us knew about or my memory was certainly failing me or…
Anyway, the point is so far, only these supposedly supernatural encounters have created an impression so deep and deterring that I swear I will never go back again. Montigo Resorts have somehow found a loophole in this theory and gave me the next scariest experience than demons and poltergeists: cockroaches.
Yes, you read that right, cockroachES. With ES. Plural. Four to be exact. And I only stayed there for 2 nights. For a place that we paid quite a considerable amount for (even with the 1-for-1 voucher that my friend had, it was still quite a pinch), I was expecting at least a basic level of hygiene and that guests can be pretty much cockroach-free. But no, our first encounter of a huge cockroach was during our late-night dinner right on the first night and my friend saw something fly across the room. We (I) tried to ignore it and pretend that it COULDN’T have been a cockroach – what were the odds?
But as we were finishing our dinner, one of my friends exclaimed, “OMG, I see it now. And it really is a cockroach.”
Very understandably, I screamed and jumped up the couch, barely being able to stand because my knees had turned jelly.
We all stood in suspense until the cockroach crawled out of the villa. Only then did we dare to head back to our room, only to find another one was waiting inside our bathroom. And the next day, I saw another one at a different toilet. As an added bonus, we were also visited by a hairy giant spider. I felt I was right back in Nepal whereby everyday was a battle with a new species of crawling and flying creatures.
If not for the extremely comfortable pillows in the villa and my energy completely drained out from the shock of seeing cockroaches, I would probably have been insomniac over those two nights.
I’m not saying everything about Montigo is bad. In fact, I think the concept of the place started out as a big and ambitious dream. Unfortunately it lacked the finishing touches to upkeep the luxurious feel it was trying to portray.
For example, we requested for birthday cake to be prepared upon our arrival. Instead, this came.
And then I was so excited that they had beach soccer and volleyball after finding out that the tennis court was under renovation. But we went there to find that the sand was too coarse for us to play barefoot.
Each of the villa was actually equipped with Wii console. However, there was not enough games to go around, so we ended up playing whatever was left in the console. Which unfortunately was some NBA game and not ‘Just Dance’.
I suspect that much of the disappointment was due to misalignment in expectations. Since it was a resort, I was expecting to be able to have some sort of a beach that we could all just lie down at. But there was nothing. It was next to the sea alright, but no white sand to speak of.
I suppose I should stop complaining so much and focused a little bit more on the positive sides. Let me start with the breakfast. They were actually pretty good with wide variety. The porridge section was my favourite since it reminded me a lot on the porridge that I used to eat back home.
I think the private pool in our villa was pretty cool too. We certainly made full use of it (and attempted to extend the surrounding into a pool as well).
Even if I wanted to be extremely difficult, the one thing that I couldn’t find the fault in was the service at the resort. It certainly made up for the lack of cockroach-free feeling and some of the facilities that we did not get to use. The staff were all well trained, all smiles and very sincere in their service, so much so that the restaurant waiters went the extra mile to take us this shot.
Well, you get the idea.
Verdict: Good only if you get a huge discount and not afraid of cockroaches.
Montigo, good to know before you go.
- It is closest to the Nongsa Terminal. However, if you can’t get a ferry ticket back from there, Batam Centre is not too far away too (about 20 minutes taxi ride).
- There is a free shuttle service to Nagoya that departs from the resort at 10 am and leaves Nagoya at 4 pm. You have to book in advance as it gets full fast.
- If you are leaving from Batam Centre on Sunday, be prepared to face a MASSIVE queue that could take you almost two hours to go to the departure gate. So get there way in advance.
- Shop for lots of food from town unless you want to survive by the hotel room service. The resort is pretty remote and there is absolutely nothing in the surrounding.
- Presence of cockroaches is not for the faint-hearted.