Tune Hotels, Bali

Dec 31st, 2009, in IM Posts, Travel, by

TuneThe arrival of the cheap Tune Hotels chain in Kuta and Legian has Bali hoteliers upset.


Tuning Into Accommodation Needs

When I was a wee skinny teenager I wandered the highways of Europe and was happy to use the youth hostel network, a clean, safe series of places to sleep and eat and meet all manner of equally gauche young travellers from all over the world.

I've seen several signs in Indonesia outside losmen purporting to be members of the IYHA, or Hostelling International, as it has since renamed itself. I suspect, however, that these are not the real thing, but haven't had time to investigate.

It was therefore with some pleasure that I heard that Air Asia plans to open cheap, clean hotels in Bali. There are of course many such, around Legian, cheap that is, but cleanliness is not always included.

Tune Hotel Room

Thus I found it surprising to learn of the protests from rivals about the opening of Tune Hotel Legian and Tune Kuta - here's a bit from the Globe today.

Bali in Budget Beds Battle

Hotel owners in Bali are crying foul over the latest arrival in Indonesia’s premier tourist destination.

They claim that Tune Hotels, the Malaysian budget accommodation chain owned by Air Asia founder Tony Fernandes, will "damage" the island’s image by offering spartan rooms for as little as 98,000 rupiah ($10.50) a night. Perry Markus, secretary general of the Bali Hotels and Restaurant Association, said that other low-cost hotels were unhappy with the arrival of Tune in Kuta and Legian.

With such a low tariff, it is damaging to Bali’s image, which is to uphold quality tourism

Perry declined to name the unhappy hotels but warned that if Tune does not increase its tariffs, they may report the company to the Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU) for unhealthy business practices.

This refusal to name the aggrieved hotels is alas all too typical here, exemplified by high-ups blaming 'certain groups' for wicked subversive plans, but declining to identify them.

We don’t want them to screw up the current situation, which we have been trying very hard to maintain. It’s been very difficult to increase hotel rates since the Bali bombings

How on earth can serious competition hurt the existing hotels, which often charge too much for young travellers to afford their basic beds?

Using a similar model to Air Asia and other budget airlines, Tune Hotels eschew the usual frills such as swimming pools, spas and room service, but offer cut-price rates for basic, clean rooms with just a bed, hot shower and ceiling fan. Guests must pay extra for every additional service from towels to air-conditioning.

Surely the more alternatives, the better?

We in Jakarta, if visitors drop by from overseas and we don't have enough space to put them up, are faced with choices of outrageously priced international hotels, or certain grisly joints, a la Jalan Jaksa, which are okay for the purposes they are often devoted to, but not for today's equivalent of Mrs. Mckay's Wee Boy who just wants a kecoa-free, secure place to leave his luggage while inspecting the sights of the Big Durian.

(PS -I know there are a couple of decent hotels on Jaksa, but outside of those, economical accommodation is thin on the ground!)


31 Comments on “Tune Hotels, Bali”

Pages: [1] 2 »

  1. avatar Farah says:
    December 31st, 2009 at 6:56 am

    Hey i like this hostel, 3 star hotel accommodation with price of home stay ! i think its time indonesian hotel to compete with this kind of hostel, better service and easy on price. I stay in bali tunes if i went there again for sure. Worth the budget. I hope they will open it in other big cities in Indonesia.

  2. avatar ET says:
    December 31st, 2009 at 9:39 am

    Isn’t there already enough tourism in Bali? The building craze has struck again. Ricefields are going up in thin air and all day long one hears nothing but the noise of chainsaws cutting the trees and clearing the land. Why not build these backpackers hostels in other places like Lombok or Flores that need a boost much more than Bali does?

    If the chainsaw massacre of trees and the accompanying racket doesn’t bother you, come and spend your holidays in Bali.

  3. avatar Oigal says:
    December 31st, 2009 at 9:56 am

    People complain about the “low rent” type of tourists attracted to Bali yet they approve this kind of thing. Be careful what you wish for.

  4. avatar Ross says:
    December 31st, 2009 at 9:57 am

    Fair point, other places could do with such. But I got the impression this new place was to be in an already developed area.

  5. avatar Burung Koel says:
    December 31st, 2009 at 10:19 am

    I’d rather stay in a slightly grungy homestay/losmen with atmosphere than a clean, cookie cutter Tune/Formule1 hotel with no soul.

    I think that room picture says it all.

  6. avatar Laurence says:
    December 31st, 2009 at 11:14 am

    As a traveller to Bali, was there 6 days ago, a new budget well managed hotel chain may force the others to lift there game. I would not want to stay in a Tune hotel but a big problem with Bali is the crappy service and dirty linen/room etc that all medium budget hotels offer.

  7. avatar ET says:
    December 31st, 2009 at 11:59 am

    a big problem with Bali is the crappy service and dirty linen/room etc that all medium budget hotels offer.

    The more tourists will come the less service you will get. Tourism in Bali has become something taken for granted, like manna falling out of the air, a gift from the gods that requires prayer rather than service. It has been better for a while after the bombings but since tourists are flocking in the easy buck-syndrome strikes again.

    With my apologies for all the homestay owners that indeed do offer value for money.

  8. avatar sputjam says:
    December 31st, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    Indonesian hotels are overpriced for travellers from fellow asean countries. Last year, Thai students booked months in advance for a 3 day stay in penang tune hotel for only Rm10/night, minus air-con and towels.I think tune will focus on the potential 500 million travellers from asean than anyones else, just like the airline.

  9. avatar Ross says:
    January 1st, 2010 at 1:54 am

    There seems to be a well of ill-will outt here, but i can recall my first visit to Bali. in 1985.

  10. avatar Farah says:
    January 1st, 2010 at 10:38 am

    I’d rather stay in a slightly grungy homestay/losmen with atmosphere than a clean, cookie cutter Tune/Formule1 hotel with no soul.

    I think that room picture says it all.

    well people does have their preference…

    For me hotel/hostel just a place to sleep, as long as it affordable, fulfill the basic needs, safety, clean sheet, aircon/fan/ free breakfast perhaps, i wont care about whether it had soul or not, because i spent more time out of the hotel room rather than just stay in and check the interior… went out at 7-9 am until late night and crash the bed sleep, and the same routine for the next day. Better if they had swimming pool or near beach, so i could swim in the morning, or at night if its too hot/the air is nice.

  11. avatar Ross says:
    January 1st, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Yes, Farah, personal choice -that’s why I am on Tunes’ side. The old Bali I saw in 1985 still exists, but not in Kuta or Legian. yet many people like going to those places, as indeed do I.

  12. avatar Laurence says:
    January 1st, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    I like the Suka Beach Inn on Jl Benasari, cheap and basic but has big rooms, pool and a nice garden in the middle of Kuta if Kuta is your thing in Bali. I have also stay with friends in their Balinese house when away from the main tourist areas and do enjoy the interactions with the locals there. The family there have told me its good to have a bule staying there, just like the old days before the hotels came and the masses.

  13. avatar timdog says:
    January 1st, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    It’s not hard to find yourself a room in Kuta for well under Rp50,000, with a morning banana pancake and a cup of Bali coffee thrown in for free. Have a look in the vicinity of the very place Laurence mentions for a start – Bali Manik, Bali Dwipa, Bali Indah, Cempaka on Jl Benesari. All of them are basic, but with clean tiled floors, a fan, an attached cold water bathroom and a couple of creaking bamboo chairs outside the door. Anyone looking for more than that has no right to call themself a “backpacker”…

    But as for these whinging hoteliers complaining about damage to Bali’s image, they ought not to forget what the basis of Kuta’s tourist industry was: my uncle was there in Kuta in, like, 1970 or something. Jalan Legian was a dirt track, you could eat as many magic mushrooms as you wanted for, like, 20 cents or something, and folks with long hair and acoustic guitars (like my uncle) were unwittingly blazing the trail for the hordes of drooling Australian package tourists and pissheads (“You got any of that Balinese money, Kelly?” I heard a lady of the Antipodean persuasion say to her friend in a Kuta Circle K recently; “I’ve only got dollars…”) and equally for the truly ghastly folks in floaty white with their Bali-style and their boutique villas, and their books about finding themselves…
    Also, if those hoteliers have a problem with Saint Tony Fernandes, perhaps they should politely ask him to remove Bali from the Air Asia network; definitely don’t want all those ghastly budget airline passengers do we?

  14. avatar brian astaga says:
    January 1st, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    secret garden inn on poppies, reccomended for price 300,000. nice pool everything. The staff too nosy, wouldnt stay there again. :(

  15. avatar Laurence says:
    January 1st, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Secret garden bar/resturant just sold new owner. Never stayed there though, see some old bules there.

    When stay with locals is free, although thats not the important thing. They have also banned Bintang singlets at Kudeta, good move I hate seeing people in them.

  16. avatar Odinius says:
    January 4th, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Why anyone would want to stay in Kuta is beyond me :)

  17. avatar Adam says:
    January 5th, 2010 at 7:51 am

    I have not been to Bali yet but where I work in Western Australia, you would not believe how many people go there for a holiday! I know of 4 at the moment who are either there or will be in the next week or so.

    It is definitely the No 1 destination for people around here. So, it seems that whatever is there now must be considered accceptable otherwise they would not go.

    Personally, I like nice clean rooms but I also like a bit of space so not sure if I would like these tiny rooms.

  18. avatar ET says:
    January 5th, 2010 at 7:57 am

    and equally for the truly ghastly folks in floaty white with their Bali-style and their boutique villas, and their books about finding themselves…

    Wait till this movie with Julia Roberts comes out. I don’t know its name but I think Brad Pitt is the producer. It’ s about a divorcee who comes to Bali to ‘heal’ and find herself and then wrote a book about it. Prepare yourself for hordes of emotionally disturbed 30 and 40-something sheilas following her trail, taking yoga lessons and spiritual guidance, never go out without a flower in their hair, spend their evenings in jazz-cafes and generally behave in a self-absorbed way that makes my toes curl.

  19. avatar Ross says:
    January 5th, 2010 at 9:39 am

    I don’t think the movie will precede such a development, which already exists, judging from some of the aging ladies I noticed around the island last month. At least they weren’t wearing Bintang singlets! And they don’t brawl in the streets.

  20. avatar ET says:
    January 5th, 2010 at 10:59 am

    At least they weren’t wearing Bintang singlets! And they don’t brawl in the streets.

    O, but the blessings of tourism these ones bring.

    “Hallaaauw! Transpot? Massaaas?”

  21. avatar Oigal says:
    January 5th, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    You market it as the haven of lotus eaters in one area and as the cheap beach party destination in another. You are expecting what to turn up?

  22. avatar Ross says:
    January 5th, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Only nice folks like us!

  23. avatar ET says:
    January 5th, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Only nice folks like us!

    But will they come back?

  24. avatar timdog says:
    January 5th, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    ET:

    Wait till this movie with Julia Roberts comes out. I don’t know its name but I think Brad Pitt is the producer.

    It’s called Eat Pray Love (or perhaps those same words in a different order).
    As Ross says, there’s no need whatsoever to wait for the film for the phenomenon to develop. It was there already anyway, and all the more so over the last couple of years. The film is from a book of the same title, a “true story of one woman’s search for inner peace” or some such nonsense. The book was – is – huge,especially amongst wealthy ladies of a certain age…

    If Eat Pray Love is for Ubud, I would like someone to write the Kuta version: One middle age Australian barmaid leaves her husband Derek (a welder) and goes to Bali where she gets a tattoo and braids her hair and finds herself (on the pavement outside the Bounty Club at 3 am), and finds love in the arms of a 24-year-old Javanese hustler from Kuta Beach cally “Ricky”… In an echo of it’s floaty Ubud counterpart the book could be titled Drink Fuck Vomit

    Odinius – why would anyone stay in Kuta? Because it’s cheap, totally unpretentious, you can get a decent pasta carbonara or margarita pizza and a vanilla milkshake for about a third what you’d pay for the same product in Surabaya. And as someone who spends a reasonable amount of time in the more remote corners of Indonesia – and is therefore totally immune to sneering about “Kuta not being the real Bali/Indonesia” from the Ubudinistas (what? Like, Ubud is???) – I find it incredibly funny. I always laugh, enjoyably, at the sheer ridiculousness of Kuta when I’m there. Love it (but only once in a while).

  25. avatar ET says:
    January 5th, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    and finds love in the arms of a 24-year-old Javanese hustler from Kuta Beach cally “Ricky”…

    … with dreadlocks, of course.

  26. avatar Ross says:
    January 5th, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Thanks for the inspiration, timdog. I won’t use your suggested title, as I’m too old-fashioned, maybe, but the basic theme could sell well on Jaksa or indeed your suggested title could be put in banner form at each end of that little street, its motto!

    I agree with you that Kuta and Legian are not unpleasant places for a wee break. Have you tried Warung Indonesia, on a little side street off Poppies. Javanese food, plus Padang? Fills you up for about 25,000 per person, plus big Bintang at under 25!

  27. avatar Odinius says:
    January 5th, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    timdog:

    Odinius – why would anyone stay in Kuta? Because it’s cheap, totally unpretentious, you can get a decent pasta carbonara or margarita pizza and a vanilla milkshake for about a third what you’d pay for the same product in Surabaya. And as someone who spends a reasonable amount of time in the more remote corners of Indonesia – and is therefore totally immune to sneering about “Kuta not being the real Bali/Indonesia” from the Ubudinistas (what? Like, Ubud is???) – I find it incredibly funny. I always laugh, enjoyably, at the sheer ridiculousness of Kuta when I’m there. Love it (but only once in a while).

    Crowded, smelly, bintang singlets, bad food, worse bars, people vomiting everywhere.

    Places like that are a dime-a-dozen along the tropical resort ring. Ubud, despite being just a different type of tourist trap, at least has some uniqueness to it.

    …and for the record, the best pizza in Bali is in Seminyak at Trattoria, hands down. :) Actually shockingly good. Too bad the franchises elsewhere in Indonesia don’t quite cut the mustard. :(

  28. avatar timdog says:
    January 6th, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Ross, go for it – though I demand a free copy as payment, which would, I suppose going to Jaksa and revealing my true identity, but never mind…

    I understand the reluctance to use the title suggested, but seriously, if you got your hands on a copy of Eat Pray Love, and then deliberately parodied its structure I reckon you could have a potential hit on your hands.

    I’ve not read the book, but I did flick through a few pages in a bookshop with a sneer of contempt on my lips (a prejudicial sneer, I’ll admit, but I read nothing to prompt its removal).
    The first line was “I wish Giuseppe would kiss me…” (it may not have been Giuseppe, but it was definitely a poncy Italian name).
    So, for Drink Fuck Vomit you could kick off with “I wish Ricky would…” Nononono! I was about to be spectacularly crude but caught myself just in time. I’m sure you get the idea though….

    I know Warung Indonesia well, it’s very nice. There’s another newer (and smaller and cheaper) place doing really great Padang food not far away on Jalan Benesari too…

    Odinius, tastes differ. Bars? bad, yes – but I’m not much of a drinker anyway. Bintang singlets? One of the things that makes me laugh… Vomiting? Only in a very limited area within Kuta (the middle section of Jl Legian) and only after midnight. You make it sound like they’re vomiting everywhere, round the clock! (Actually, that would really make me laugh if they were!)
    And bad food? but as someone rather enjoying the occasional milkshake and plate of unimaginative but well-seasoned pasta, and generally unable to find such a thing in big city Java without spending the better part of Rp100,000, it’s nice to be able to get it for under Rp30,000 in Kuta. That’s all.
    Ubud’s pleasant alright, but I’m not sure if there is any tourist resort (and make no mistake, that’s all it is) surrounded with so much bullsh*t anywhere in the world….

  29. avatar Ross says:
    January 6th, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Yeah, timdog, I’m contemplating deeply, but being a geezer, I would have to write such a story from a guy’s perspective, which would mean the ‘hero’ would be an older bule who finds love, or something similar, in the shape of a much younger Indonesian lady.
    Such a tale would surely lack credibility!

  30. avatar timdog says:
    January 6th, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Oh c’mon Ross, embrace your inner Sheila – I’m sure you’d be up to it. Or else write it from the perspective of Ricky the Javanese beach boy.

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