During my maternity leave, we planned to go on a family holiday since the husband would be on sabbatical and we could also celebrate our wedding anniversary. Initially, I considered going back to Krabi – which is one of our favourite getaways as a childfree couple – but decided not to because I wasn’t sure how Zac would fare on the plane.

In the end, swayed by a summer flash deal, we plonked our money on a 3D2N stay in Montigo Resorts in Batam.

Of course, things never go as planned in our household. The boys got sick and Zac was hospitalised one day before we were due to depart. GAH! Thankfully, the staff at Montigo Resorts were very accommodating and allowed us to postpone our trip, as long as we were able to show them proof of hospitalisation.

But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise – all of us enjoyed ourselves so much! The resort was family-friendly, beautiful and comfortable, and it was a truly rejuvenating break for us after all that we went through.

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Getting there
The nearest ferry terminal to Montigo is Nongsapura Ferry Terminal from Tanah Merah and it is just a short 10-minute car ride from the resort. You can then arrange with the resort for the land transfer.

We travelled on Batam Fast, which was decent and comfortable enough for an under-60 minute journey. You can purchase the tickets online and we collected them at the Harbourfront counter a day before departure. That was a smart idea of the husband’s because it was then that we found out that the timing we had wanted was already full!

Do note that every single headcount requires a ticket. Yes, we had to purchase a ticket for Zac! And he was not even four months old at that time, bah.

We opted for the 11am ferry and since check-in was only at 3pm, we had time to hit the nearby mall for lunch and to do a grocery run. The resort arranged for the car ride to and fro, which cost us about S$20 in total.

Accommodation
We opted for a Hillside villa, which is the cheapest. I decided that there was no point splurging on the Seafront villa since the kids wouldn’t care for the view. And it was a good move! The view from our Hillside villa was just as lovely and the sunsets were truly beautiful. Other than the view, the villas were all the same in terms of the interior.

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Each of the villas comes with two bedrooms, lap pool, kitchenette and a rooftop sky terrace. We didn’t use the second bedroom at all since the boys were sleeping with us. We hardly went up to the rooftop too although the resort does provide a BBQ dinner service.

Now, the villa. It was as gorgeous as the pictures showed. We were all in awe. It was a large, airy space that was tastefully decorated. True, there were some flaws here and there, but overall, we were quite pleased with it. In fact, I told the husband that I wanted to be a permanent resident there.

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The master bedroom was amazingly huge. Aidan could co-sleep with us comfortably on the bed while Zac was in the cot next to me. The adjoining bathroom had a gigantic bathtub which could fit two adults comfortably and Aidan LOVED it. I brought along our bubble bath solution and the kid was lounging in the tub for the longest time. He wouldn’t get out!

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Once we put the kids down to bed, we took off downstairs to chill for a bit. Oh, do bring along your baby monitor for that purpose! We were able to relax in the lounge room for a bit and watch some TV in peace.

The kitchenette was really handy for families with small children like ours. I packed travel-sized packs of jam and butter, pasta and a jar of pasta sauce along. We picked up bread, instant noodles (INDOMIE FOR TEH WIN), eggs, milk, yogurt, juice and snacks at the supermarket. The villa provided a basic set of utensils – a frying pan, pot, plates, cutlery etc. – and I could whip up simple dishes for Aidan at the villa, which meant that the adults could order spicy Indonesian food for our meals. YAY!

Food
We were rather conservative and ate in the resort for almost all our meals. The breakfast was pretty standard – western buffet servings of eggs, bread, ham etc. We found the ala carte Indonesian dishes pretty yummy and really enjoyed their nasi goreng. It was affordable too.

On our first day there, we took a car ride to the nearby mall and ate at A&W. Erm, I wasn’t terribly impressed! The root beer float was a nice nostalgic touch but come on, I have had better fried chicken.

The husband put on his hardly-worn culinary hat and made scrambled eggs and toast for Aidan every morning. Methinks he should do that every weekend, hah.

Activities
I loved, LOVED the swimming pool in the villa. Every morning, the kids would go into the pool and expend their energies. Whee! We stupidly forgot to bring our Zogg float and had to buy one from the resort shop. But Aidan was so, so happy to be in the water and he would stay in there all day long if he could!

Zac took his first dip too and seemed to enjoy it, heh. Our little baby turtle.

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During our stay, the resort’s pools were closed for maintenance so we couldn’t utilise those. Shame – they looked fun!

We also brought Aidan to the kids club and he was in heaven. There were toys galore and even a large slide with a ball pit. I wanted to go down that slide! But I couldn’t because I was baby wearing Zac. Meh.

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Overall, we hardly did anything. Which was great, because after all that trauma of Zac’s hospitalisation, we just wanted to take a break. And it was a perfect first holiday for our newly-minted family of four. We spent 24/7 together, just the four of us. And it was a holiday to savour.

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