I’m told this is the best hotel in Maumere. We did try, without success, to find a better one.
We got a bit stuck at Hotel Sylvia here and though we didn’t really like it, we stayed three nights. Despite my slightly grumpy comments below, it seems a very good option and good value if you are in transit and not sticking around long enough to get annoyed.
My experience: I was quite put-off the whole place on my first day there when I asked to make a phone call (a local one). The answer was “No,” which I found extraordinary. I was happy to pay, but the answer was still “No.” I was told I had to use my “handphone”. When I explained I do not have one, I was then told to get one of the drivers hanging around out the front to make the call for me!
Aside from that, I will try to be objective. Hotel Sylvia is a traditional large (70 plus rooms) western-style commercial hotel, three floors high with a courtyard in the middle and a pool. Rooms are conventional hotel layout with, TV (good cable, including movie channels). The pool area is reasonably nice, but quite cold as it doesn’t see a lot of sun. There’s a restaurant (more on that later) and free WiFi in the lobby area. WiFi worked mostly but was a bit slow.
People staying here are a mixed lot. Indonesian business people. Aid and development workers at a conference on child exploitation. Travellers, like us, entering and leaving Flores.
The rooms are cheap and good value: 300,000rp (about $32) including a buffet breakfast (more on that in a second).
Things are a bit shabby and old, especially the bathroom, but it’s pretty clean. Western muzak – mostly ‘sad songs’ play quietly in the foyer. The staff are nice, but sometimes seemed absurdly confused by my requests, even when I spoke in Indonesian. Over our three day stay we increasingly found the staff to be a bit lazy. I began to feel anxious about asking for food and drinks as staff behind the counter always seemed to be put-out to be asked to cook something or unlock the fridge so I could have a drink. There was a lot of aimless standing around of permanent staff, whereas the high school student on work experience seemed to be run off her feet, especially at breakfast, clearing tables, re-stocking food and so forth. Things at breakfast took a long time to be restocked while adult staff stood around apparently doing little, behind a counter.
The walls in the whole place could do with a wash. The rooms were cleaned each day, though.
Other points? Location.... It’s right next door to a bemo stop for those who travel that way. Otherwise there are drivers everywhere hanging about looking for work.
The location is a on a really boring street about 2km from the centre of town (not sure there is much in the centre of town either, my driver kept taking me elsewhere and no one is in a hurry to show me. ) There seemed nothing really to walk and look at close by.
Food.... The hotel food was not very good. Menu choices were often ‘not available’ – no spaghetti (the only western option). No squid... What did come out was bland.
Breakfast on the first morning (meant to be a buffet), was a bit odd and lacked variety. It was quite unappealing to westerners, even those of us who happily eat fried rice for breakfast. Kentucky-style deep fried chicken. Deep fried sandwiches. I am not joking! A soup with chicken vegetable and sausage that (weird, I know) both my children actually liked. And a huge plate of tiny omlettes that were quite tasty. On the second morning there were a few better choices – deep fried fish in sweet sauce and a tempe tofu dish that was ok. On the final morning there was a chicken soup and the bones from the chicken appeared to have been thrown into the stir fried vegetable dish. It really was strange. It was impossible to get powdered milk for coffee, but carnation milk was available on request. Pity about the ten minute wait each morning for someone to go and get it. Free water was available in a dispenser.
The chips at dinner were nice. But the next day we ordered 4 plates of them for lunch. Fifty minutes later we asked whether they’d be coming soon. We were the only guests eating and there were at least three staff there, so should not have been a problem. Two plates of stone cold chips arrived a minute later. Then a third plate of slightly cold chips. Then finally a plate of deliciously hot chips, straight from the oil. Obviously they’d been cooked a plate at a time. But why hold up the order for 50 minutes and let it go cold? And leave us sitting at a table with hungry kids (aged 7 and 4) for so long?
All in all the place seemed to lack management. It has a fitness room, but the floor seemed have been mopped perhaps never – and there were no mats to do stretching or floor exercises. One morning an iron cover (perhaps 1.5 metres square) had been taken off the pool filter room, which is in a cavity perhaps ten feet below the tiles around the pool. Someone (one of my kids possibly) not expecting it, could easily have walked into it and been killed or badly hurt - not expecting a 10 foot deep pit to suddenly appear beside a pool! There were no staff around and it was off for the half hour we were there. Dishes from guests who had been sitting around the pool in the evening were still there in the early afternoon the next day.
One last point, the warung just 20 metres up the road – Warung Wares 77 – cooks fantastic and varied food. Skip the hotel food and go there instead. The kitchen is amazing to see, a bit scary, but great food comes out of it. The lonsong sayur and the tempe was delicious– it can be a bit slow and they will take orders in advance (just a suggestion) and have them ready for you at a certain time. The road itself is noisy and sitting about for long isn’t much fun. They also have beer although it isn’t on the menu.
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- Also Known As:
- Sylvia Hotel Maumere, Flores, Indonesia