5 Jakarta hotels for under US$100
When it comes to hotels in Jakarta, most places require either forking out US$100 for a small double in the central business district or enduring a drum 'n' bass and bedbug-infected joint along Jalan Jaksa.
From Kota to Kemang, these five hotels not only offer a great value, they also offer personal twists.
Rasuna Icon Residence
Don't be put off by the "residence" in the name, this is by far the best central hotel in Jakarta.
It also offers long-term accommodation.
Just across the street from the Pasar Festival mall, and on a street filled with affordable massage parlors and even cheaper eateries, the Rasuna Icon is centrally located within the business district and near major highways.
There's free Wi-Fi, free (large and delicious) breakfasts delivered to your room, a gym, roof garden, kitchen to cook your own food in, and, best of all, super-friendly staff willing to help with any request.
Owner Hengky is often behind the front desk.
Design magazines and local and international papers line the modern lobby, punctuated by a full-grown palm tree that reaches nearly as high as the ceiling.
Tip: Book ahead through Agoda.com and you'll can get a double for US$59.
Jalan Karet Pedurenan No. 3, Kuningan, Jakarta, +62 215201642; www.rasunaiconresidence.com
Just down the road from the Rasuna Icon is another gem: a modern glass-fronted building, on the corner of Jalan Professor Doktor Satrio and Karet Pedurenan, where an extensive indoor courtyard boasts benches made from tree roots and a large koi pond.
If it all sounds a bit posh, the hotel, at just US$55 a night, is a good value.
The main drawback is the lack of free breakfast.
That said, Karet (as the main street and area is known) is filled with an amazing variety of restaurants.
The sunny lobby has an adjacent business center with computers. If you need Wi-Fi, the hotel staff will provide a cable for your room.
Tip: Go for rooms on the higher floors -- they offer panoramic views of the city.
Jalan Karet Pedurenan No. 19, Kuningan, Jakarta, +62 2152960022; www.avissasuites.com
Those interested in hanging out in Kota, Jakarta's beautiful old Dutch district, will like the Batavia, an old hotel christened after Jakarta's former colonial name.
While Kota can be a bit shoddy at night, the neighboring plaza lights up in the evenings when people from all over the city come to sell their wares, ranging from handmade keychains (made on the spot) to henna tattoos and, randomly, teeth-whitening products.
The hotel is a glittering, 1930s reminder of times past. It's close to the Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics, the Puppet Museum and the Cathedral.
Rooms start from US$80 with facilities including a pool, gym, garden jogging track and two restaurants.
While the Kota area may not be the most convenient overnight option, it is easily one of Jakarta's more interesting areas for exploring.
Tip: South Jakarta is where the Sunda Kelapa Harbor is situated. Built in the 17th century, the picturesque old harbor is one of Jakarta’s hidden tourist gems.
Jalan Kali Besar Barat No. 44-46, Kota, Jakarta, +62 216904118; www.batavia-hotel.com
Jakarta Bed and Breakfast
A leafy outdoor garden and sun-splashed swimming pool welcome visitors to this home-styled, two-year-old venture of the Sitompul family in the south of the city.
Daughter-mother team Siska and Mrs. Clara run the bed-and-breakfast, a traditional home where typical Indonesian ceremonies like birthday parties and anniversaries take place, allowing guests the chance to see the "real" side of Indonesia (the family is of the North Sumatran Batak tribe).
Mrs. Clara's English is excellent and her cooking even better. She holds traditional Indonesian cooking classes, with students regularly hailing from foreign embassies, travelers from other hotels and local expats.
Rooms start at US$18 and include breakfast, all-day coffee and tea, Wi-Fi and use of the pool.
Backpackers can sometimes be found crashing on the couch, refusing to move on.
Tip: The pick-up service from the airport is available at US$35 for four people.
Jalan Mohamad Kafi I, gg: Jamblang 27, Kramat Pela, Jakarta, +62 81315577787; jakartabedandbreakfast.com
Bangka Bed and Breakfast
Run by the ever-youthful Budhi and Yanti and their son Ardha, Bangka is located in the expat-popular Kemang district, home to local food markets and the Ragunan Zoo.
The family speak impeccable English, but also offer Bahasa Indonesia teaching to interested guests, who can enjoy the free Wi-Fi, breakfast and use of living and dining rooms.
Rooms start at US$27, but discounts are offered for stays of seven days and over.
While it's not the central business district, Kemang has lots of cool bars and is a good place for travelers to experience the "other" side of Jakarta -- slightly less frenetic, more family-oriented and calmer than the center of the city.
Tip: Kemang is one of the few places in Jakarta where there are spacious sidewalks, so get off the ojek (bicycle taxis) and get walking.
Jalan Bangka XI A, No. 26, Kemang, Jakarta, +62 21 719 4552; www.bangka-bnb.com