the name sri lestari [of tugu hotel blitar] is somewhat surprised my mum. no wonder, since in javanese language, 'lestari' means 'ever after' and 'sri' can be 'the' in english or 'the highness' also can be said beautiful.
we choose to stay here, since i like old buildings. and reading the presentation on the net, yes sounds suit my point of interest, something "old". and even more, since in the original building was located a luxurious suite that ever been used by first president of indonesia, ir soekarno of affectionately called as "bung karno".
Unique Quality: don't get me wrong if stay in tugu sri lestari is not matching with by budget as backpacker. of course i don't take the historical suite or superior or any other room which are labeled up to usd180.
i was happy with my choice to take a budget room [even not as original as the main building] with ambience that remind me to the original poppies hotel in kuta, bali. and i wasn't wrong with the option, since i still can get the old colonial sense of its hotel by visiting original building anytime whenever i was stay there.
there are several rooms with price range usd20 - 39 and the historical presidential suite itself is usd180. mine was usd25, quite small cozy room with old tiles and antique furniture.
We stayed one night on our way to Bali, following a recommendation by a friend. Subsequently we stayed again twice, the last time four nights to explore the neighbourhood of Blitar.
On one's arrival in the afternoon one is welcomed with a Javanese "high tea" in the Waroeng Tugu. The service is very pleasant with personal touches, like one's name written on a leaf at breakfast and dinner table.
The showpiece of Tugu Blitar Hotel is the Sang Fajar Suite where the late president Soekarno used to stay and which is full of Soekarno memorabilia (rate Rp 2,25,000 but cheaper with a package deal - see the website.
Room rates (2010, add 21 % tax and service):
Mungil room: Rp 150,000
Superior Room: Rp 275,000 (TV and AC, no hot water, no fridge).
De Luxe Room: Rp 330,000 (TV and split-AC, not water, no fridge).
Executive Suite: Rp 500,000.
Tugu Suite in the old building Rp 750,000.
Unique Quality: The core of the hotel is an ancient building dating from 1850, which was a government building at the time. The oval emblems over the doors were borrowed by the Dutch from the Majapahit empire. Reception and lobby, as well as the restaurant have been added later in the style of the original building. The same is true for the cheaper rooms. The rooms for those who can afford it in the historic building are furnished with antiques.
Excellent eclectic restaurant. Enthousiastic English and Dutch speaking staff. No pool, but a shady yard with ancient trees.
Directions: A short distance west of the town square.
The hotel was about 3 kms from the bus station. I called the hotel to arrange for a pickup. A motorcycle came to pick me up but I had to pay for the ride. It would have been cheaper had I hired one of the motorbikes that were waiting for fares outside the bus station. The air-conditioned bus ride from Malang was comfortable and cheap but it would have been better if I had taken a minibus that would have picked me up from my hotel in Malang and dropped me off at the hotel in Blitar.
The room I was offered for a price of 30,000 IDR plus tax was not a luxurious suite by any stretch of the imagination. It was medium in size and modestly decorated. The bathroom was not what I would have liked it to be. Instead of a bathtub or a shower it had a kind of large basin made of masonry, which could be filled with hot/cold water. A large mug was provided to fill with water and throw it on your body. It was just adequate. The bathroom was missing a wall. The open ventilation shaft next to it was open at the top as well. I had to keep the door of the bathroom closed to keep the cool air of the air-conditioner in and the mosquitoes out, of which there were plenty.
I stayed at the hotel for two nights. The first morning the breakfast was a buffet which was quite good but the next morning, for some reason, the breakfast was a choice between a meagre platter of Indonesian food or continental breakfast consisting of 2 toasts, jam and butter with coffee.
The service was good, even great. The staff were courteous, friendly and helpful in every way. The wi-fi was not working in the room but it was in the lobby. To sit in the lobby, especially in the evening, you had to be brave enough to face the mosquitoes. Luckily I had a repellant cream which I daubed on my arms and face to keep the pests away.
Unique Quality: What I liked about the hotel was its ambiance of a garden. It wasn't as good as the ambiance of the Taman Bali hotel in Lovina that I stayed in, nor that of Duta Garden in Jogja, both of which were fabulously decorated with greenery and artwork. The entrance was through a path that was lined on both sides with climbers with shoots that were hanging down like a curtain. The lobby and the reception desk was on the right and the dining room on the left. Beyond that there was another large room that could be used by the guests to sit and relax. It was decorated for the Chinese New Year. The paths that led around it were surrounded by greenery. There were rooms on both sides with a garden in between.
The tearoom where I was offered tea with snacks on both afternoons had the decor of a traditional country eating place and it was decorated with the Javanese Wayang style figures. Just outside it there was a statue of a Hindu goddess. At the entrance of the dining room there was a sculpture in some plastic material, all red, of Garuda with Krishna riding on its back. A painting hung inside my room just above the bed which showed peasants working in a rice paddy. The way the Javanese, who are mostly Muslim, have kept their link to their Hindu traditions alive, was refreshing.
Directions: The hotel is centrally located in the busiest part of the town on Merdeka between Lawu and Dr. Wahidin. The buses for Panatran and the Sukarno Memorial leave from the corner on Lawu.
Jl. Merdeka 173, Blitar
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