Indonesia Hotel Picks

May 19th, 2010, in IM Posts, Travel, by

Boy picking noseLonely Planet's picks for the best hotel and hostel accommodation in Indonesia.

In every travel guide it publishes, Lonely Planet chooses a few of the best hotels and restaurants in the destination and gives it an extra recommendation: "Our pick".

Lonely Planet Indonesia

As written in the new 2010 edition of its Indonesia guide, here are the hotels that Lonely Planet has picked:

(Where applicable, follow the links for more information on the hotel or its location.)

JAVA

BANTEN

  • Griya Anyer Spa, Anyer
  • WEST JAVA

  • Cimaja Square, Pelabuhan Ratu
  • Cibodas Guest House, Cibodas (Puncak Pass)
  • Hotel Serena, Bandung
  • Mini Tiga Homestay, Pangandaran
  • Hotel Sare Sae, Cirebon
  • CENTRAL JAVA/YOGYAKARTA

  • Wisma Duta Homestay, Wonosobo
  • Losmen Setia Kawan, Yogyakarta
  • Phoenix Hotel, Yogyakarta
  • Rhoemakhoe, Solo
  • Hotel Bintang, Tawangmangu
  • EAST JAVA

  • Hotel Majapahit, Surabaya
  • Hotel Tugu, Blitar
  • Maro Utomo Resort, Kalibaru
  • BALI

    SUMATRA

    NORTH SUMATRA

  • Pondok Wisata Angel, Medan
  • Liberta Homestay, Samosir Island (near Lake Toba)
  • ACEH

  • Freddie's, Sabang
  • Hotel Renggali, Takengon
  • Friendship Guesthouse, Gunung Leuser NP
  • WEST SUMATRA

  • Spice Homestay, Padang
  • NUSA TENGGARA

    LOMBOK

  • Hotel Lombok Raya, Mataram
  • Sunset Homestay, Sengigi
  • Sejuk Cottages, Gili Air
  • Sunset Gecko, Gili Meno
  • Karma Kayak, Gili Trawangan
  • Seger Reef Homestay, Kuta
  • SUMBAWA

  • Hotel Suci, Sumbawa Besar
  • Hotel Aman Gati, Hu'u/Lackey Beach
  • FLORES

  • Bayview Gardens Hotel, Labuanbajo
  • Kongregasi Santa Maria Berdukacita, Ruteng
  • Villa Salverin, Bajawa
  • Hotel Mentari, Ende
  • Hidayah, Moni
  • Ankerin, Waiterang
  • Hotel Rulies, Larantuka
  • WEST TIMOR

  • Hotel Maliana, Kupang
  • Hotel Livero, Kafamenanu
  • Malole Surf House, Nemberala (Rote)
  • SUMBA

  • Hotel Merlin, Waingapu
  • Mona Lisa Cottages, Waikabubak
  • KALIMANTAN

    WEST KALIMANTAN

  • Central Hotel, Pontianak
  • Hotel Perdana, Ketapang
  • EAST KALIMANTAN

  • Hotel Gajah Mana, Balikpapan
  • Losmen Danakan, Pulau Derawan
  • SULAWESI

    SOUTH SULAWESI

  • Asoka Homestay, Makassar
  • Pia's Poppies Hotel, Rantepao (Tanah Toraja)
  • NORTH SULAWESI

  • Hotel Minahasa, Manado
  • Living Colours, Pulau Bunaken
  • SOUTH-EAST SULAWESI

  • Hillhouse Resort, Bau Bau
  • MALUKU / NORTH MALUKU

    MALUKU

  • Hotel Tirta Kencana, Ambon
  • Vita Guest House, Bandaneira (Banda Islands)
  • Aurelia Hotel, Langgur (Kei Islands)
  • Savawa Cottages, Ohvidertawun (Kei Islands)
  • NORTH MALUKU

  • Hotel Puri Azzalia, Ternate
  • PAPUA / WEST PAPUA

    WEST PAPUA

  • Kri Eco Resort, Raja Ampat Islands
  • PAPUA

  • Permata Hotel, Jayapura
  • Hotel Ratna, Sentani
  • Hotel Nirmala, Biak
  • Putri Dani Inn, Wamena (Baliem Valley)
  • Alberth Elopore's Guesthouse, Kilise (Baliem Valley)
  • I generally respect Lonely Planet and its opinions, especially after reading the story of its creation:

    Unlikely Destinations book
    "Unlikely Destinations - the Lonely Planet story"
    written by its founders: Tony and Maureen Wheeler

    However, after looking through the list, I ask myself a few questions, like:

    - What, aren't there any nice hotels in Jakarta?

    As the capital city, Jakarta probably has the most hotels of any province/region of Indonesia, except perhaps Bali. Yet, none of them apparently makes the grade to be an "our pick".

    Marcopolo Jakarta
    Marco Polo Hotel, Jakarta

    Curiously, in the previous edition the 3-star Marco Polo Hotel was an "our pick", but not any more.

    Possibly it might be because most of the places reviewed are budget losmen/hostels and guesthouses, many in the vicinity of the infamous Jl Jaksa.

    Jl Jaksa view
    Jl Jaksa

    Also, unlike previous editions there are very few 4-star and 5-star hotels reviewed - only: Alila Hotel, Kemang Icon Hotel and Dharmawangsa Hotel - and the first two have the same management.

    Dharmawangsa Hotel, Jakarta
    Dharmawangsa Hotel
    one of the most luxurious hotels in Jakarta,
    with e.g. in-room butler service

    However, luxury hotels in Indonesia are often cheaper than their peers in Singapore or Hong Kong, let alone e.g. Australia, Japan, Europe. So, it isn't like most visitors - readers of Lonely Planet guides included - can't afford them.

    Plus, after a long flight (and possibly almost as long a wait to buy a tourist visa), visitors are perhaps more willing to splash out a bit on a hotel than they otherwise might be.

    - How come so few hotels in Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Sumatra were picked?

    Looking through the guidebook more closely, it doesn't seem as though the hotels in these regions are all bad. But, if so, it doesn't seem clear what makes the difference between a positive review and an "our pick".

    On the other hand, it is clear the LP reviewers don't have a quota of "our picks" they have to give per province/island/region, and therefore they aren't just giving them to anyone.


    While I have travelled a bit in Indonesia - 11 provinces so far - I haven't stayed at any of the places listed above. So, I am wondering:

    1. Are these hotels worthy? If you have stayed at one of LP's "our picks", please share your experiences.

    2. Are there other hotels - especially those not reviewed by Lonely Planet - that are also particularly good (or bad)? Please list your recommendations (and/or warnings); either below or, where possible, please consider writing a review via the IM Hotels page or hotel list page using these guidelines.


    19 Comments on “Indonesia Hotel Picks”

    1. avatar Chris says:
      May 19th, 2010 at 11:07 am

      To get the ball rolling, here are my recommendations:

      FAVES IN JAKARTA

      5-star: Borobudur Hotel – see review for why

      4-star: Hotel Atlet Century Park – see review for why

      3-star and below: Yannie International Guesthouse, Jl Raden Saleh 35 Cikini.
      Useful location, yet surprisingly quiet. Rooms include private bathroom, hot water and basic breakfast.

      ELSEWHERE:
      I would happily recommend:

      - Toba Cottages, Samosir Island (next to Lake Toba), North Sumatra
      A really nice family-run place in Tuk Tuk.

      - Artini Cottages 2 & 3, Ubud, Bali
      Nice place, really nice swimming pool. #2 is closer to the centre of town.

      - Jati Homestay, Sanur, Bali
      Simple but nice design. No pool, but close to the beach anyway.

      - Watugaha Bungalows, Moni (near Mt Kelimutu), Flores, East Nusa Tenggara
      Cheap but good, with surprisingly nice breakfast. Blink and you’ll miss it, though.

      But I would stay away from:

      - Sahid Hotel, Medan, North Sumatra
      I stayed there two years ago and the room was nice enough, but the exterior was clearly in need of renovation. The hot water wasn’t working, which the management hid from us until after we’d checked in and paid. The breakfast was very limited, and the toaster also didn’t work.

    2. avatar aryanabatam says:
      May 19th, 2010 at 12:41 pm

      Very upset, there’s no Batam Island in this guide..?
      Coz’ we also have 5 Star Hotel here, Brother..

    3. avatar Chris says:
      May 19th, 2010 at 1:38 pm

      Hi Aryanabatam,

      Yes, Lonely Planet picked very few hotels in/around Sumatra (which is what LP categorises Batam and Riau Islands province under).

      However, Indonesia Matters does offer five Batam (and 10 Bintan) hotels for booking. For further information, see the list of hotels available here; Batam and Bintan hotels are at the top of the list.

    4. avatar Ross says:
      May 19th, 2010 at 8:41 pm

      Ya, Dude, I’m sure those fine places you recommend for Jakarta visitors are fine indeed, but they are not in the price range of back-packers, for whom Lonely Planet was, at least originally, devised.

      Back to Jaksa, mate! The istana Ratu is quite nice, under 3K, I think, and there’s a huge new one being built behind the old Ya Udah site. The Tator, my first Jakarta home, is cheap and cheerful, tho not for those who are too fussy. No TV, but A/C at least.

      In fact, Blok M has an old one, the Losari, where I stayed some time back, and several new ones on Panglima Polim, for about 400K, which I haven’t tried but am told are okay.’
      And that Marco Polo is said to be popular with Korean and Japanese business travellers.

    5. avatar Odinius says:
      May 19th, 2010 at 10:47 pm

      Not sure why Dharmawangsa is off the list, but hey…

    6. avatar timdog says:
      May 20th, 2010 at 11:02 am

      The “our picks” are often totally arbitrary – and if you know something of the time and financial constraints that guideook writers work under then you will perhaps have some sympathy and will understand why they sometimes just pluck stuff out of their pantats…
      It does have to be said, however, that some of the “our picks” in the current edition are particularly arbitrary…

      OK:
      Losmen Setia Kawan in Yogya deserves its listing. It’s a very quirky place with wacky artwork on the walls and a good atmosphere. That said, having been the LP’s darling for five years or more, it’s always full, and you can get a bigger, better room nearby for less…

      Hotel Tugu Blitar definitely deserves its listing – a proper boutique hotel but nowhere near as expensive as the other Tugu properties (but this place is, it should be noted, in an entirely different price range and market to Setia Kawan – another issue with the “our picks”).

      Hotel Rulies in Larantuka is a total joke. It may be the most pleasant – though not the “best” – place to stay in Larantuka, but the fact of the matter is there are no good places to stay in Larantuka, and to mention a grubby, worn-out little losmen at the end of the world in the same breath as the Tugu Blitar, or even Setia Kawan for that matter, is absurd.

      Hotel Maliana in Kupang is a pleasant enough place at the top end of budget, bottom end of midrange, but hardly worthy of an “our pick”.
      Merlin in Waingapu is just another of those hotels you end up staying in in one-horse-towns all over Indonesia – several storeys of rotting concreat and scabby white paintwork, broken AC units, dusty corners and slimy bathrooms. It might be the best place to stay in town, but that simply means that there is no place in Waingapu deserving of an “our pick” listing…

      These listings really don’t mean anything at all.

    7. avatar Chris says:
      May 20th, 2010 at 12:27 pm

      Timdog,

      Thanks for your comments on some of the hotels/hostels in the pick list. (Q1) It certainly sounds like you have also done a fair bit of travel in Indonesia.

      As such, would you like to give us some recommendations for other hotels? (Q2)

    8. avatar BrotherMouzone says:
      May 20th, 2010 at 1:09 pm

      I would add the Rimba (Timika) to the Papua list. Very scenic, nice pool, and the rooms are very comfortable. The gym is a bit crap though.

      Novotel Bogor may be part of a chain but it really is the nicest resort in Bogor and doesn’t really bear much resemblance to Novotels elsewhere.

      The choice of four and five star hotels in Jakarta just seems completely random but, as Ross points out, that really isn’t Lonely Planet’s market…

    9. avatar timdog says:
      May 20th, 2010 at 1:46 pm

      Chris, yes, I get around…
      However, as I generally stay in places at the bottom end of the market so I don’t actually have many recomendations for genuinely nice places.
      That said, just about everywhere in Padangbai Bali, and at least 50% of places in Ubud are more worthy of an “our pick” than some on the list…

      In Surabaya I always send backpackers to the “Sparkling backpackers”on Jl Kayun. It only opened last year so didn’t get in the new guidebook. It ain’t got much atmosphere, but for backpackers it’s a great deal…
      In a similar market I like Hotel Helios in Malang…
      The only genuinely good place that springs to mind for me is Newa Sumba – in Sumba, surprisingly enough. It’s a long way from anywhere, but very nice…

    10. avatar Mike says:
      May 20th, 2010 at 8:24 pm

      I would have to say Pondok Wisata Angel in Medan is a bit of a dump. The staff are friendly but the place is a dive.

    11. avatar Chris says:
      May 21st, 2010 at 8:56 am

      Small vaguely relevant pieces of trivia I read in The Jakarta Post recently, may be of interest to Patung and some others:

      1. Dian Sastro had her wedding reception at the Dharmawangsa Hotel Ballroom. Read more here.

      2. The Dharmawangsa Hotel also hosted a meeting in 2004 between BI Deputy Governor candidate Miranda Goeltom and allegedly a few PDIP members of parliament. Meanwhile, the meeting’s alleged host – Nunun Nurbaeti, wife of the anti-graft PKS’s future Jakarta governor candidate – is off in Singapore receiving treatment for “severe amnesia“.

    12. avatar Ross says:
      May 29th, 2010 at 11:42 am

      Had a friend stopping over this long weekend, who stayed in the Hotel Setia Budi, very nice, only 390K per night with breakfast. % mins from Sudirman, 10 mins from Rasuna Said. Pool under renovation, alas.

    13. avatar hary says:
      May 31st, 2010 at 6:12 pm

      The Sensa and the Amaroosa in Bandung are two hotels that are deliciously fancy. They will no doubt make the list when the next edition is out.

      The Majapahit in Surabaya deserves its place.
      Hidayah in Moni is fantastic with views and a ridiculously cheap rate. the Susteran in Ruteng is just clean. Its miles from the town.
      Hotel Lombok Raya is a joke, the Quinci Villas are far superior.

      LP forgot to pick Amanjiwo (Borobodur) and Amanwarna(Moyo, Sumbawa), both brilliant hotels with prices to match.

      Its probably a quick choice of the reseacher. Good as a rough guide I suppose.

    14. avatar Chris says:
      June 1st, 2010 at 12:10 pm

      Hi Hary,

      Thanks for your thoughts.

      LP forgot to pick Amanjiwo (Borobodur) and Amanwarna(Moyo, Sumbawa), both brilliant hotels with prices to match.

      They may not be an LP pick, but they did make another (arguably) more impressive list:

      1000 Places To See Before You Die

    15. avatar kingwilly says:
      June 10th, 2010 at 8:57 am

      TO be honest,once a place gets mentioned in the lonely planet I try to avoid it. (unless it is a negative review)

    16. avatar Kurtubi says:
      June 11th, 2010 at 7:26 pm

      Nice book, I’ve seen and very interesting easy understanding english and nice picture

    17. avatar Mircea Nistor says:
      March 15th, 2011 at 2:28 am

      Do you have the email address for the hotel Hidayah in Moni town (Flores)?

      Best regards,
      Mircea – Romania

    18. avatar Chris says:
      April 14th, 2011 at 8:48 am

      Dear Mircea,

      Sorry, I can’t help you with Hidayah contact details. Currently, Moni has no phones, let alone Internet.

      Most of the time, people can just roll up to the place you want to stay that night. That’s what I did on my visit there. Even in high season (June-August), it is highly unlikely you will have any problems finding a room.

    19. avatar radvrich says:
      September 28th, 2011 at 6:13 pm

      Chris, it is nice to know that you also make review on LP ‘our pick’, LP is the best guide ever made in this Earth, I do respect their choice of their pick, coz I have no standard at all on my pick list. So to timdog, I would like to say ; ‘what is the standard of accommodation that our pantat is deserve to have a nice break and nap? simple question, but I’m sure you need days to figure out. cheers



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