When you think Club Med, you imagine an all-inclusive experience where you get to participate in activities and meet people you wouldn’t necessarily come across at home. And you’d be right.

But an important thing to consider is that nothing is compulsory at Club Med. You don’t have to limbo dance until four in the morning. You don’t have to go kayaking or brave the flying trapeze. Even the (spectacular) nightly shows are entirely optional.

Travelling in a diverse group of 13 – lucky for some! – Team CN&CO’s recent trip to Club Med Bintan Island proved that there’s something for everyone at the resort. Even the grumpy old men loved every minute.

Here are a few things to do that may or may not be in the brochure:

  • Sit up at the Panorama bar with a book and a beer. And if you didn’t bring a book, it’s okay – there’s a cupboard full of them for guests to enjoy! And if you don’t like beer, there’s also wine, spirits and cocktails – some of which are not pink
  • If you don’t fancy a public space, you can sit on the balcony off your room
  • And if you didn’t bring a book, there’s free Wi-Fi available across the resort so you can download something to read. You can keep in touch with the office or spend the entire day on Facebook if that’s your thing
  • Play a round or two of golf. Bintan Island is home to some of the world’s top golf courses
  • Drink a bottle – or even four – of premium champagne. We chose Moët & Chandon Ice Impérial, a dessert champagne that’s actually made to be enjoyed with ice… and other ingredients like lime, mint leaves, cardamom or ginger!


  • Go for a walk (or a run, if you’re feeling energetic) through the forest. To the end of the forest and back is about 3.5 km on a paved walkway. Extend your walk/run around the perimeter of the golf course to bring your total journey to 10 km or so
  • Sit on a bench in the Zen area and watch the resort activity from afar. It’s really peaceful up there, and the trees above provide some very welcome coolth
  • Have a meal at the Terrace restaurant. The food options are more selective than in the main dining area, but just as delicious! You’ll love the peace and quiet, as well as the awesome service from the team. In fact, everyone who works Club Med Bintan Island is beyond incredible


  • Get a massage. Ask what specials are available when you’re there. We scored a fat 40% off our massages because we were willing to go a little earlier in the day. And they were good. Wake-yourself-up-snoring gooooooood.
  • Chill in the pool. The lifeguards are quite strict, so be sure to follow the rules – of which there are VERY few across the resort. In fact, there are hardly any rules at all at any Club Med.
  • Explore the rocks on the edges of the beach. Find a comfy place to sit and look out to sea. The floating fishing huts just off the coast are fascinating to watch
  • Charter a boat. Go snorkelling. Have a fish braai at one of the kelongs (wooden structures built over the water) on the other side of the island
  • Visit the gym. There’s a great selection of cardio and strength equipment to help you stick to your weekly workout regime


  • Play some squash with a fellow grumpy old man
  • Or have a drink with him at the beach bar. You don’t even have to talk to him, except to ask if he feels like another
  • Shoot some arrows in the archery centre. You’ll end up with an impressive bruise on the inside of your arm that you can show to all your mates when you get back home
  • Take a nap on a lounger on the beach. The thatch umbrellas provide great shade, while the loungers ensure zero sand in your trunks. Cool off afterwards in the sea or under the shower. You don’t even have to schlep a towel. Just pick one up at the towel kiosk on your way down
  • Sleep… a lot. One grumpy old man slept for 21 hours on the day we arrived.


  • If all else fails, you can sit in your room and watch an old Van Damme movie – or CNN, if that’s your thing. But consider the possibility that you could be a grumpy old man precisely because you watch old JCvD movies or CNN. No judgment, of course. Just an observation

Remember, your Club Med holiday is about you. So whether you choose the beach or the snow, your ultimate objective is to enjoy yourself. And boy, did everyone enjoy themselves at Club Med Bintan Island! Even the grumpy old men.


Disclaimer: Not everyone featured in these photos is a grumpy old man. Perhaps (because of the header image) you think it’s Carel and Colin? You may be right. Or not. #nojudgement

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