Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by indohoyindohoy on 10 July 2012 • Tips
Accommodation, to me, takes an important role in making a comfortable and memorable stay at a destination. I could even decide to go to a destination just so I could spend a night or two at a hotel, hostel, guesthouse, homestay, or whatever the type of the accommodation. Here are 8 of the accommodations I’ve stayed at that make it to my ‘favorite accommodations list’, in no particular order.
1. Roemahkoe – Solo / Surakarta, Central Java
I stayed in Roemahkoe quite some time ago in December of 2007. But I can still remember how I loved the homey ambience of it. Roemahkoe is an old Javanese meets colonial building turned to a hotel, has a strategic location, on Jalan Dr. Rajiman #501.
The staff kept the room clean and tidy, amenities were complete just like any 3 or 4 star hotel room. Afternoon munchies and tea were served at the porch of each room and that was when I had my first Serabi Notosuman, the famous snack from Solo. Breakfast can be at the dining area or in front of your room, depending on the availability of the dining area cos sometimes it’s used for wedding reception.
Gamelan, the Javanese orchestral music, is sometimes played out from the back dining area when certain events are held. The instruments are displayed whether they’re being used or not. And from that gamelan area you can walk out the back door to a batik village called Laweyan.
Roemahkoe’s official website: http://roemahkoe.com/
2. Hummingbird Guesthouse – Bandung, West Java
It’s cute, clean, tidy, and located in a strategic location for those who love shopping, eating and going mobile by public transportation. I fell in love with the Hummingbird Guesthouse the first time I saw their website. Thank God my experience of staying there one night lived up to my expectation.
Hummingbird Guesthouse is attached to the Hummingbird Eatery, it’s located in the back of the eatery to be exact. The eatery is known to have lotsa yummy food, so you don’t need to worry finding something to eat. Breakfast is included in the room price, served in the eater, based on the eatery’s breakfast menu. Other than that, Jalan Progo, the street where Hummingbird is located, houses a number of restaurants, not to mention other restaurants and cafes around the area.
Hummingbird Guesthouse’s official website: http://www.hummingbird-eatery.com/guest-house/
3. Tigalima Homestay – Yogyakarta / Jogja, D.I. Yogyakarta
It was the one time I decided to travel because I wanted the experience of staying at the homestay. Mumun showed me the website of Tigalima Homestay, and having an urge to learn about running a homestay, I talked her into going to Jogja with me. Meeheeheee..
Long story short, I couldn’t stay in Jogja as long as I had planned. So I personally only spent 2D1N at 35 Homestay, and not even fully because we had so many places to go. Even so, I felt comfortable at all the hours I spent there, and oh I haven’t even talked about the room! OMG!
We stayed at the VIP room cos it was the only one left. It was huge (a double bed plus an extra bed and still left so much space to perhaps cartwheel at), with a huge nicely-decorated bathroom, and a porch to lay back when it’s not so hot out. Not to mention an AC and cable TV. All of that for only IDR 250,000 / night!
Tigalima Homestay’s official website: http://tigalima.wordpress.com/
Trivial fact: Tigalima actually means 35.
4. Pop! Hotel Tugu – Yogyakarta / Jogja, D.I. Yogyakarta
Getting a free stay is a good thing. Getting a free stay and liking the hotel very much is a better thing. We were lucky to have been invited to the grand opening of Pop! Hotel Tugu in Jogja on June 2012. Mumun couldn’t make it, so only I came to the event, along with journalists from online and print media (whew, bloggers count, how cool is that!).
Anyhoo, the reasons why Pop! made it into this list is because I like the simplicity in design, good location (only about 15 minutes walk from the train station, surrounded by many eateries and sidewalk diners), plus it provides the complete basic amenities you need in a hotel like towels, soap, shampoo, and cable TV. All that, you can get with a relatively affordable price (not more than IDR 388,000/night at the time I was staying there in 2012, and I think the price stays the same in 2013).
Pop! hotel chain has opened branches in cities like Denpasar (Bali) and Bandung (West Java) and will open in many more cities in Indonesia. They claim to support green living and proved it when opening this Tugu branch by, among others, tree planting around the neighborhood. What I think helps the guests is that they made a price list for becaks pooled in front of the hotel, so that guests didn’t have to worry about haggling and getting ripped off.
Pop! Hotels’ official website: http://pophotels.com
5. Karma Kandara – Ungasan, Bali
Who doesn’t love luxury? At least once in a while. I was, again, lucky to have a chance to stay at Karma Kandara resorts, Bali, for 2 nights, for free! The actual price for the villa I stayed at was about USD 1,300 / night. That much money could cover 4 to 5 Indohoy trips in general!
Karma Kandara is a resort in the Ungasan area, south of Bali, consisted of villas with up to 5 rooms. Each villa has its own small swimming pool and is known for the private beach that can be reached with an inclinator.
The beach is open for public at the rate of about USD 30. Facilities like restaurants, clubs, a swimming pool, a spa and a library make it understandable that resort guests don’t go out much exploring the island cos it’s just so heavenly to stay at the resort all day!
You know what made me feel like jumping up and down out of excitement, though? It’s the Greek look to the whole design. Well, I’ve only seen picture of Santorini, Mykonos and other Greek islands, but the villa exterior and paths amongst the villas really reminded me of those images in magazines etc. Loved it!
Karma Kandara’s official website: http://www.karmakandara.com
6. Black Marlin Dive Resorts – Togean Islands, Central Sulawesi
Black Marlin is one of the only 3 accomodations on Kadidiri Island, one of the prominent islands in Togean archipelago, Central Sulawesi. It’s fully booked most of the time in high season, but it’s at the same time difficult to book a room in advance because of the lack of phone and internet reception around the island. We had to wait for 2 nights in the next door resorts to finally get a room at Black Marlin.
I personally loved the stay because it faces the beach, it’s got a hammock on the porch, and it’s got the nicest design out of the 3 hostels. Divers or non-divers who’s interested in a try-dive like I was, can easily book a dive trip because Black Marlin is also a dive operator. They’re actually a dive resort, prioritizing divers to stay. I like that they take diving seriously because it does concern safety and nature preservation.
Just like the other 2 hostels, you can dine and socialize with other guests at the common area / dining area, and Black Marlin has their own gazebos on the beach – great for watching sunset. Books, mostly on diving, were available to be read on the spot.
Black Marlind’s official website: http://www.blackmarlindiving.com/
7. Wisma Apung – Karimunjawa, Central Java
Translated to “Floating Lodge”, Wisma Apung is built on a huge coral stone just 15 minute boat ride away from Karimunjawa Island. The wooden lodge is consisted of several rooms with and without AC, with some ponds amongst the rooms housing fishes, sharks and turtles.
I loved it because of the fact it that the lodge did not stand on solid ground, and that I was woken up by the waves hitting my room wall early on the morning. That’s a natural alarm, right there. Being unattached from the main land, Wisma Apung gets its electricity from the power generator, and its yummy food mostly delivered by boat.
Whoa, I’m surprised that Wisma Apung now has a website: http://wismaapung.wordpress.com/
8. Hotel Victory – Tentena, Central Sulawesi
Hotel Victory not really a hotel per se, it’s more like a hostel, but that’s what they name the business. Nonetheless, we had a good stay there. The room was clean, water was clean and abundant, and the most memorable for us was the hospitality of the owner, Aunt Doris, and the receptionist/manager, Debby.
We owe one to Aunt Doris for informing us about the Saluopa waterfall. “You’ve never been to Tentena if you’ve never been to Saluopa waterfall,” she said. Curious, we checked it out and proved her recommendation to be true! We’ve written about it here. Debby also gave us some local insight on the Megaliths that we saw at Bada Valley, having had archeologist guests in the hotel previously.
Breakfast is served in the spacious common area, and you can ask for tea or coffee to be served on the small table in front of your room. You can also kill time or enjoy some relaxing time with books provided in the reception area. You can’t bring them home but you can leave your read books in the shelf for other travelers to read.
Hotel Victory’s official blog: http://hotelvictorytentena.blogspot.com/
I forgot one more favorite accommodation! Thanks to Vindhya who reminded me in her comment below, I now am putting this one on the list:
9. Villa Monyet – Batu Karas, West Java
I love it because it’s cozy, has a strong laid-back feel to it, surrounded by trees which make it feel natural, and located just a few meters from the beach. I also love the design that combines concrete walls and thatched roof. Not to mention the semi-open bathroom, the hammocks, and the location by the beach. Oh did I say that twice? That’s just how I love it being by the beach, cos there’s no better lullaby than the sound of waves.
Dinner at Villa Monyet is 10 times better than in other places. Am I exaggerating? Maybe, maybe not. But you should try eating rice with barbecue fish, veggies and chilli paste with bare hands, together with all the other guests on huge banana leaves as the plates. It’s not just the taste of the food, but also the togetherness and unique way of presentation that will make the dinner unforgettable.
Breakfast is served at the hut beside the main house. The main house itself is where the owner family lives and also where 1 small room is downstairs and 1 huge room is upstairs. If you ever stay at the huge room of Villa Monyet, you really should try sleeping on the porch like we did. Waking up to a warm sunrise is toadily a splendid experience!
Villa Monyet’s website: http://villamonyetbatukaras.wordpress.com/