Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by viravira on 18 August 2014 • Destination
Choosing a place to stay in Manado shouldn’t be hard because this seasoned tourism-city has a wide range of accommodations to offer. From the luxurious resorts to budget-travelers friendly. For a few nights of our trip in North Sulawesi, we chose two of the latter. If you’re looking for budget hotels Manado, either one of these (or both) might fit your needs.
Regina Hotel was listed as one of the recommended low-budget hotels in Lonely Planet. Usually what works for them works for us because we actually think that we, middle class Indonesians, have higher tolerance for less ideal conditions when it comes to accommodations.
Booking wasn’t available via Internet, so we did it by phone. The staff answered my queries patiently, like how far was it from the airport, how could we go around from the hotel, etc.
A friendly welcome greeted us upon checking-in. We were shown to our room on the 4th floor, taking the elevator. The floor numbers was pretty weird. I think I saw a 7 on the floor number display before arriving to our floor. But since it didn’t effect to anything regarding our stay, I took my own conclusion that it’s just what old elevators do.
Regina Hotel’s looks pretty old and not so well-maintained. The building still looks sturdy and intact, but the furniture – both in the room and in the lobby – seems to have been around since early ‘90s or older. However, it was enough for us. The room was spacious, the beds and pillows were comfy, the TV worked, the AC worked, and the whole room and bathroom were clean. The bathroom is equipped with a western toilet, a washbasin, and options of cold and hot water for the shower.
The complementary water didn’t come in bottles like usual. It was boiled water in jugs with a bit of specific flavor that comes when you boil water in stainless steel pots. It’s been a long time since I last drank boiled water and thankfully I don’t mind at all. It sort of takes me back to my childhood times.
Anyway. We didn’t get much choice for breakfast. In fact, we didn’t have a choice. On the two mornings we were in Regina Hotel, they only served one type of food each morning. Fried rice with sunny side up and yellow rice with chopped well-done omelet. Taste? Um, let’s just say that I finished my portion because I was hungry.
But, for IDR 220,000 / night for two people, it was alright.
When we came back from Tangkoko with our friend Vindhya, we came back to Regina Hotel. They charged an extra IDR 100,000 for an extra bed with breakfast.Hotel Regina Jalan Kol. Sugiono 1, Manado Phone: +62 431 850 090
Manado is the center of other destinations around the Minahasa area such as Bunaken, Lembeh, Talaud Islands, and Tangkoko. Being a hub, it’s the need for many accommodations, including budget ones, are necessary. Regina Hotel wasn’t bad but we found a better option with only slightly more expensive rate. Istanaku Guesthouse is a much newer hotel, the building looks crisp and designed in modern and simple style. Nothing special, just new and slick. Although, it felt more like a budget hotel rather than a guesthouse.
Then we walked upstairs and.. I take my words back about it being nothing special. The walls at the hallways upstairs are painted colorfully! One wall was full with roundish creatures, I can’t decide whether it’s dinosaurs, dragons or spiky worms. Another was painted with chibi (small or short) version of Marvel superheroes. I guess the guesthouse is stretching for younger customers or the owner is really into comics and cartoons.
With no elevator at this 4-storey building (I think), they make sure that you behold the artworks done on the walls that you pass when reaching the appointed rooms. Aha, clever artist! However, if you’re back from a long and tiring trip with heavy backpacks, I recommend you to ask for rooms in lower floors, at least you only need to hike up a level.
The bedroom is much smaller than the one in Regina Hotel. We got a double bed, leaving a tight space to walk around. There is absolutely no space left for an extra bed. However, everything works well – the AC, flush, hot shower, cable TV, and desk lamp. Everything is new and simple. So simple, it’s almost dull if not for the lime green wall and red plastic chair.
Breakfast was alright. They provided Indonesian breakfast, like fried rice and some condiments, and bread and jams. Guess what. That was where I had my first experience of TOASTING BREAD! I did it quite nervously and ended with a success!
Location-wise, Istanaku is quite convenient. We only needed to walk a bit to several dining places at night.
All in all, I would totally recommend Istanaku Guesthouse for budget travelers. Upon our stay in April 2014, it was about IDR 250,000 / night for two.Istanaku Guesthouse Jalan W.R Supratman (Komo Dalam) 6, Manado 95123 Phone: +62 431-840085
Do you have other recommended budget hotels in Manado? Let us know!
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