Goodbye overwater bungalows, hello floating villas at Banyan Tree Bintan resort

When Singapore-based Banyan Tree Luxury Hotels and Resorts recently launched its latest luxury villas, it was literally fishing for compliments.

These new eco-friendly villas are afloat in the ocean – albeit securely anchored in one spot – and have been directly inspired by offshore kelong, the more rickety, roughly-hewn age-old timber fishing platforms that dot coastlines of Southeast Asia.

The first few floating kelong villas, along with an existing kelong-style restaurant for up to two dozen guests, recently opened for bookings at the Banyan Tree Bintan resort on the eponymous Indonesian island, just 45 minutes by ferry from Singapore.

After landing on the luxury kelong's expansive deck, guests receive a ritual foot bath in their novel accommodation, which contain almost all of the mandatory mod-cons you'd expect from a typical five-star villa back on terra firma, 250 metres or so away.

There's a king-sized bed, reliable hot and cold running water in a semi-al fresco bathroom, plus a twin wash-basin bathroom.

There's even a fully stocked minibar and espresso machine in the villa's living room.

Delicious Indonesian-style delicacies arrive from shore via pokchai, a traditional small motorised barge, for afternoon tea, dinner and breakfast.

Sea breezes substitute for air-conditioning and while the villa, crafted from local timbers, can get a little creaky during high tides and high winds it's all part of the soft adventure experience (lighter sleepers: pack earplugs).

Aside from kayaking, swimming and relaxing, it's also possible to dip a line off the side of your villa, just like the kelong fishermen who can be glimpsed practising their centuries-old skills from the vantage point of your luxury floating platform.

A special launch offer stay at one of the kelong villas starts from $US610 a night, including breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner, a foot bath, a 60-minute full-body massage and transfers between the resort and ferry terminal. See banyantree.com

Anthony Dennis stayed as a guest of Banyan Tree Bintan.

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