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Some hotels have their stories EINDHOVEN - Over about seven years of travelling to Indonesia, I have spend many of my nights at houses with relatives in Jakarta, Bali and Yogyakarta, but as a traveller it's not possible to forget all about the hotels, even if you want to. But in fact, most hotel guests won't mention their stay there when talking about their holiday with friends and family. Probably because hotels are a need and not a desired place of stay during their holiday. Why stay in a hotel when you have all the luxury at home? That is holiday of course.

During my trips I have made in Indonesia, I have seen several dozens of hotels, each with their own atmosphere, environment, staff, food and guests. Since a long time I have collected many of the bills that I got when checking out, so I thought it was about time to disclose some of my hotel experiences in Indonesia. Most of them won't be shocking at all, but most of them will be familiar to most travellers who haven't only slept in a four star hotel in Kuta.

Hotel Atlantic hotel in Jakarta

Already dating back two years now, I still remember this hotel vividly. I booked the hotel online because I wanted to stay some nights in Jakarta without disturbance of friends, but as usual, that didn't prove to be a success. Some of my friends were about to travel to Jakarta by train as well, because someone had to go back to school after summer break. That was a guarantee that some more people would to go Jakarta as well, to celebrate the last few days of our holidays.

Within one day, I was in the hotel. Hotel Atlantic is the kind of hotel that probably used to be a good hotel, but has now become a place for businessmen to spend the (short) nights between office hours in foreign cities. Many of the light bulbs were broken and those who weren't didn't produce the amount of light I would like to see in a hotel. The floor was dirty and the carpet in the rooms even dirtier, like it had not been cleaned in years. In my room, I had to do it with one light as well, the other one was broken. Making a report didn't produce any action with the hotel staff.

Later that night, a Dutch friend showed up for a meeting in the nearby Jalan Jaksa. Not my place to have a drink, but since I was invited, I could at least be polite and have a drink there, maybe I would like it as well. Some of my friends showed up at the hotel desk as well, the three ladies asked for me. Probably leaving the hotel staff stunned, they sent them to my room. Just a while earlier my Dutch friend also reported to that desk as well. I have a slight idea what the staff of the hotel thought of it. Especially when we left the room only around nine in the evening to go to Jalan Jaksa for a drink and some food.

Five years Hotel Kota in Yogyakarta

Back in 2000 I brought my first visit to Yogyakarta. Then I stayed in Hotel Kota. A nice small hotel directly across the main train station of the city, easy to reach and in the heart of the city, close to Jalan Malioboro and some tourist locations. I was in Yogya to bring a visit to the Prambanan and Borobudur temples. The tour was arranged by the hotel and didn't cost a lot of money back then. Now, the entrance fee for both temples is the Rupiah equivalent to 10 U.S. dollars, but the hotel has nothing to do with that of course.

The room service of the hotel was good and quick. I don't desire much, but my room was clean, tidy and was cleaned every time I got back from a day out in Yogya. The air conditioning was an old one, but didn't produce much noise, as some of them intend to do when they get old or aren't maintained. The hotel has it's own little parking area right at the corner of two roads and you can sit down there or inside in a kind of patio with some chairs for every room and a small garden.

Less than four years later I returned to that same hotel with the expectation that I would have a nice stay there. Outside the fact that I got sick, other things had not improved as well. The air conditioning now made sounds as if a bunch of cikcak had been locked up in there, the room wasn't clean anymore and the toilet didn't work as well. The walls had not been painted for at least those four years and service had degraded dramatically. Too bad my expectations of this hotel weren't met anymore.

Just recently I passed the hotel several times and noticed that there has been some renovation to it. The small front garden has been completely removed so there is some more space for cars. The old sign has been replaced and the restaurant which used to be in open connection with the outside world, had been closed with walls and windows. However I like open spaces, I can imagine that it will be more quiet inside now, with a main street in front of the hotel.

The forgotten hotel name

During my very first holiday to Indonesia, I also visited Bali for five days. Back then flying was more expensive than nowadays and on top of that I was just graduated from high-school so I didn't have too much money to spend. I had to work for 6 months to earn this holiday. But memories from that very first Indonesia experience sometimes flare up sometimes. This includes the first hotel in Indonesia for me as well.

The hotel was located in the heart of the tourist area in Kuta, at just about 100 meters from the beach. The name has been erased from my memory since, but until today, I still remember the front of the hotel was no more than a door with a narrow path that brings you to a reception in the open air. A small garden with grass and some bamboo chairs welcomed you there. Because of the two-storey buildings around the hotel, there was no open view or anything, but the handful of rooms that this hotel had to offer, were all situated that their front balcony have you a view on the reception.

Back then I paid something about 7 Dutch guilders per night per room. One morning I bought a Jakarta Post in Matahari at Kuta Square and walked back to the hotel to read it on one of the bamboo chairs in front of the room. A small table was big enough for my early morning newspaper and a cold glass of Coca Cola with ice. When I'm thinking of it now, this is probably one of the most early memories from Indonesia, outside the fact that I had spend five days in Jakarta already.

Last January I had the chance to take a look for the hotel again, since I was planning on going to Bali anyway. I wasn't in need of a hotel, since I would spend a few nights at a friends bungalow near Amlapura, but I was just curious if I was still able to find the hotel after all those years. Two years earlier I was on Bali as well, but I didn't even think of it, so only now I went looking for it. It was easy to find the area in Kuta, as it hasn't changed concerning road layout in recent years. The hotel however, was a little bit harder to find. I had difficulty locating it because many building had changed or were completely gone for the sake of higher and more modern buildings.

Another round over Jl. Pantai Kuta and back to Jl. Legian again by motorbike took about ten minutes, at least much faster than by car, but I had to find my old hotel this time. I parked the bike near a cafe across the street and went looking for it. I started walking from the corner at KFC, as I still remembered the way to the hotel, hoping my memory would also tell me how far it used to me. It didn't. I found a door with a path behind it, enclosed by different buildings than those from my memory. I peeked inside and didn't see a reception, a bunch of chairs or anything that looked like a hotel. The door was locked. That's Indonesia too.

Posted in Travel @ 23 July 2005 by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

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