Most of the tourists visiting Banyuwangi come here either for Kawah Ijen or for the ferry connection to Bali. Whatever your travel options are, Banyuwangi is a great East Java town in its own right and while I was here I stayed at the Hotel Baru, an old and well known hotel located in the center of town. Below review is based on my recent stay there.
1) Hotel Baru started operations in 1918 and hence is a pretty well known landmark in the town of Banyuwangi.
2) It’s rooms are large and clean, but can do with some renovation. But, keeping in mind, its location and price, it is fairly ok. For 70,000 rupiah, one can get a economy room and for 90,000 rupiah, a standard room. The room includes a fan, 2 beds, a television and an attached bathroom with squat style toilets.
3) Free breakfast consisting of rice and/or bread is included in all rooms.
4) High speed free wi-fi is available in some rooms and in the hotel lobby.
5) The best part about the hotel is its well mannered and very knowledgeable reception staff. They are always eager to help you plan your trip to Kawah Ijen, Bali or other destinations and they don’t charge anything extra. In fact, some of the cheapest options in town are available in this hotel.
6) The hotel is close to many super marts and local restaurants (Warungs) that ensures you don’t have to walk too much for food and supplies.
7) The Karang Asem train station is only 3-4 kms away and the Ketapang ferry terminal is about 8 kms away, making it an ideal place for tourists in Banyuwangi.
8) The main highlight of Banyuwangi, Kawah Ijen is about 35 kms or 1 hour away. The hotel arranges ojeks (motorcycle taxis) and 4 wheel drive vehicles to take its customers to Kawah Ijen.
Even though this place is a bit old and needs some renovation, I think the reception and its location make it ideal for budget travelers and backpackers. The hotel staff speak English too, which is an added bonus.