Jakarta has some excellent deals in the mid-range and top-end hotel sectors, with promotional rates slashed as low as US$50 a night for luxury places; check websites or call the hotels direct for the best deals. Falling visitor numbers have seen standards slip badly in many of the traditional budget haunts; backpackers should consider forking out for a midrange hotel in this city.
Jalan Jaksa Area
This is the travellers' ghetto in Jakarta, but today it's a shadow of its former gap-year glory and looking pretty rundown. The handful of remaining budget places are looking grungy, but the area does have some decent midrange options and plenty of restaurants and bars. Jaksa is conveniently located near Jakarta's main drag, Jl Thamrin (for the bus-way), and is a 10- to 15-minute walk from Gambir train station.
Hostel 35 : One of the better bets in the Jaksa area, this place has a large, slightly bizarre lobby bursting with tropical-style decor: bamboo and rattan furnishings and a fish pond. Offers a wide selection of clean rooms, all of which are well presented, with brightly painted walls and fresh bed linen; most have attractive suite bathrooms.
Bloem Steen Homestay :This place has is poistive points, with a nice little front terrace for chilling and a quiet location tucked down a side alley. Cleanliness is taken seriously (shoes off at the door, folks!) and staff are reasonably welcoming. The 18 rooms are super-Spartan but tidy, though the mattresses are ancient.
Hotel Tator : Lacks atmosphere but offers plain, functional and clean rooms (smell that bleach) and has a little cafe out front. Breakfast is included with the more expensive rooms.
Wisma Delima : The original guest house on Jl Jaksa, with poky, ultra-basic rooms, but it's secure and dirt cheap. Kresna Homestay , Its location on a quiet little side alley is a plus, and the owner is hospitable, but the cramped rooms were due for a makeover 30 years ago. Yusran Hostel .Nothing fancy, but this ageing, humble place has plenty of simple, sparse little rooms. It's down a narrow alley off Jaksa.
Hotel Margot : It's not exactly homely, but this place has the appearance of a half-decent hotel. The rooms are in fair shape, all with hot-water, en-suite bathrooms, TV and weak air-con. There's also an adjacent cafe-bar.
RistanaRatu Hotel : This brand-spanking-iu; place was just opening when we passed by and has really raised the stakes on the Jaksa strip with large, modern, stylish rooms with contemporary decor that have great beds, bright duvets and soft pillows.
Hotel Cipta : Looking like a cross between an alpine mountain lodge and a pagoda, Cipta is no identikit chain hotel. Rooms are well presented and comfortable, and there's a good restaurant on the ground floor.
Ibis Tamarind : Of the two very comparable Ibis hotels on Jl Wahid Hasyim, the Tamarind has better facilities (including a small gym).
Ibis Arcadia :The other Ibis option, the Arcadia has more in terms of style.
Cemara Hotel : This hotel does have some local character, with a Borobudur-style stone carving in the polished lobby and some paintings by Indonesian artists dotted around. Rooms are smart, though those in the old wing are looking a little dated. The rooftop pool is small but has great skyline views, and there's a small spa.
Hotel Paragon :A child of the 1970s, Paragon's multistoreyed design and concrete appearance is from another era, though the rooms and facilities are decent enough.
Cikini & Menteng
Cikini and Menteng (southeast and south respectively of Jaksa) have a selection of decent midrange hotels, a guest house or two and some excellent restaurants and cafes.
Gondia International Guesthouse : A good alternative base to the Jaksa strip, this friendly little guest house occupies a leafy garden plot on a quiet suburban street and has quite spacious tiled rooms with bathrooms, sitting areas and a few books to browse.
Vannie International Guesthouse : Two floors of plain, simple rooms with the odd textile to break up the monotony. The management could be a lot more welcoming, though. There's no sign, just a T out front.
Hotel Formule 1 : The formula is actually very straightforward here: this is a no-frills, nonsmoking, midrange hotel with a bright, zany colour scheme and great prices. Rooms are uncluttered, immaculately clean and have flat-screen TV and wifi, while the family rooms have good bunk beds. Downstairs there are restaurants, and there's a huge pool right behind the hotel.
Hotel Formule 1 :This second branch is located close by in Menteng, though there's no pool here. It's also nonsmoking.
Also worth considering: Hotel Marcopolo : An eight-storey concrete affair, this nonsmoking place has generously proportioned but slightly dated rooms, all with satellite TV. It's in a central location and the (free) buffet breakfast is quite a spread.
Jakarta Airport Hotel : Located right in the international terminal, this nonsmoldng hotel has comfortable, well-insulated rooms, a bar and a restaurant. Six-hour rates are available for US$78. Note that the room rate doesn't include the tax of 21%.
Alila Jakarta : Of the two hotels in the Alila group, Alila Jakarta offers top-end facilities married with modern design, a gorgeous outdoor pool, spa and gym and mighty fine complimentary buffet breakfasts. Note that you must add 21% tax to the room rate. Rooms are nonsmoking.
Kemang Icon ; In terms of location, this place -the other Alila option - can't be beat as it's in the heart of south Jakarta's buzzing Kemang area. Here all the apartment-sized suites boast cutting-edge design, iPods, and state-of-the-art bathrooms, plus there's a rooftop lap pool and restaurant-lounge. Note that you must add 21 % tax to the room rate. Nonsmoking.
Dharmawangsa : The most luxurious hotel in the city, the Dharmawangsa exudes style and class, with huge rooms and unmatched standards of service (each guest is assigned a private butler!). The leisure facilities (including two pools, spa, squash and tennis courts) and restaurants are also outstanding. Note that you must add 21% tax to the room rate. Nonsmoking.
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