Budget but with pool and garden
Cakra Homestay is nothing if not memorable, and it will appeal to the traveller well familiar with the standards (and quirks) of travelling in Indonesia.
The sprawling compound, some 200 years old we were told, and set in Kampung Batik Kauman was originally a batik factory which transformed into a budget hotel after factories were banned from Solo’s downtown area. What you see today is a hodgepodge of fan cooled and air-con rooms spread across two floors in buildings which wrap around the walls of the compound. At the centre there is a large open dining area (where a very simple breakfast is served), a meditation tower which delivers terrific sunset views, and, behind that, a swimming pool.
Like the nearby (and cheaper) Paradise Homestay, facilities here are simple bordering on rundown, and don’t really line up with the prices being asked, but we ended up staying here three nights and liked it quite a lot. Sitting on the shared verandas, looking over the jumbled tile rooftops, listening to the call to prayer, makes for quite the village feel. Better still, climb up the in-house tower for a sunset view or just some quiet time with a book.
Rooms are very simple. Soft mattresses with thin linen, with a standing fan and, if you’re lucky, a desk. There is plenty of space though. Unfortunately bathrooms are the weak point here, cold water only, with bucket flush loos and showers so wonky we gave up and just bucketed the water over us from the mandi. Free advice, have a swim in the pool first so the water doesn’t seem so cold. Also, ask to be shown more than one room if the first one is not the best—there is quite a bit of variety between the rooms.
The pool is a bit of a saving grace—of a decent depth and refreshing, if a bit rough around the edges, it backs onto a stage popular for wedding photos (at least two wedding shoots took place during our stay—themselves an attraction!) and we had more than one late evening float in the pool—floating while listening to the call to prayer was pretty special here.
The included breakfast is minimal, but there is also complimentary coffee and water available throughout the day, so fill your water bottle and eat elsewhere. The homestay doesn’t sell beer but will happily stick a few cold ones in the fridge for you if you’ve brought your own from elsewhere.
Cakra often hosts foreign students of the arts as Solo, like neighbouring Yogyakarta, is a popular spot for training in the Javanese arts from gamelan to puppeteering and traditional dance. The homestay is actually on the edge of one of Solo’s batik villages—exit the imposing front gate, turn right, and start wandering—lots of interesting stuff to find.
The very obliging owner speaks very good English and has quite a familiar manner to him. He can organise trips to Candi Cetho and Candi Sukuh, which he will drive himself, but don’t expect any guiding on the ground once you get there.
Cakra Homestay will appeal to travellers looking for a traditional Javanese homestay style place, but who are not worried about mediocre bathrooms. This is a friendly and popular (for Solo) place, and the location is central. If you want to spend less, consider the nearby Paradise Homestay, though there is no pool there, or The Westerners.
Address: Jl Cakra II No. 15, Solo
T: (0271) 634 743; (0899)149 8616;
Coordinates (for GPS): 110º49'25.98" E, 7º34'23.35" S
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: 150,000 to 400,000 Rp
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Dbl fan share bathroom||148,000 rupiah||148,000 rupiah|
|Dbl fan private bathroom||206,000 rupiah||206,000 rupiah|
|Dbl air-con private bathroom||236,000 rupiah||236,000 rupiah|
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
Provided by Travelfish partner Agoda.
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