A sleepover in the sultanate is a pricier endeavour than in nearby Malaysia. Most of Brunei's accommodation abides by the old 'special price for you' market mantra, meaning that rack rates are usually much higher than what you'll actually pay. Unlike other Southeast Asian countries, the best lodging deals can usually be scouted on the internet. The Empire Hotel , Brunei's most luxurious sleeping spot, sometimes offers bargain-basement deals that can rival the midrange options - check its website for details.
During our visit we heard murmurs about homestays and B&B establishments starting up in Kampong Ayer. Check with the tourism board (p592) or Borneo Guide (above) for details.
Budget prices in Brunei are more like midrange options in the rest of Malaysia, and there's only one truly 'cheap' option in town.
Pusat Belia :No backpacker comforts here: this is the kind of classic youth hostel that should remind you of school trips or summer camps, and still caters to exactly that kind of local clientele. The single-sex four-bed bunkrooms are basic but adequate, with rather iffy bathrooms; reception is only sporadically staffed, but hang around and someone should find you. And no, that symbol's not a misprint -the youth centre really does have its own swimming pool (, open 9am to 7pm).
KH Soon Resthouse : It's quite a step-up in price from the hostel to this simple Chinese-run place, but you don't get a whole lot for your extra 25 bucks apart from more space, better service and plenty of local information. Still, it's the only other budget option anywhere near the centre, and the bus station's almost right opposite.
Nazira Guest House :Located near the Jerudong area, about 15 minutes from central BSB, Nazira is a homey (albeit slightly musty) option set on a residential block. Fully furnished apartments are also available.
If you're watching the pennies, the jump from budget to midrange accommodation can seem pretty brutal, though at least all rooms have air-con, TV, hot water and IDD phones.
Terrace Hotel :Even if you're on a tight budget, consider spending a little more to enjoy the comforts of this excellent midrange hotel. Rooms are clean and well taken care of, and there's a great little swimming pool and wireless internet access. Deluxe rooms cost about B$10 more than standard rooms, but are well worth the price.
Jubilee Hotel : Not quite as appealing as the Terrace, the Jubilee ofers simple and clean standard rooms (the deluxe rooms aren't worth the extra price). On-site facilities include a Thai restaurant and billiards. Rates include airport pick-up and breakfast.
Traders Inn :If you want to stay out of the centre, this comfortable business hotel is usefully located within easy reach of the Gadong shops. The bathrooms could use a bit of spiffing up, though - they are currently the colour of dirty teeth.
Brunei Hotel : Hovering at the upper end of mid-range, the Brunei is an earnest business hotel used to train hospitality workers. Huge hu-midifiers and slightly mentholated air-con help you breathe, and you even get a mini-bar (dry, of course). It's the closest midrange option to the bus station.
Grand City Hotel :Good value and near the shops in Gadong. Orchid Garden Hotel (233 5544; www.orchid gardenbrunei.com; Jin Berakas, Kg Anggerek Desa, Unmemorable but clean. Popular with tour packages. Free shuttle service links guests to Gadong and central BSB.
For those whose wallets overflowed!, and need to be in the city centre (usually business travellers), Bandar has a couple of solid options. If you're going to drop some serious bling, we highly recommend hanging your hat at the opulent Empire Hotel.
Rizqun International Hotel : The premier tourist hotel in the Gadong district is much more sophisticated than you'd expect for something growing out of a shopping mall.
Sheraton Utama Hotel : Brunei's only Western chain hotel flies the flag for international standards on the edge of the town centre. Amenities are rife, and the lounge bar has live music on Saturday, a rare treat in BSB.
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