Rumah Senang

Rumah Senang

Come home to comfort

More on Kalibaru

Tucked away beside a picturesque waterway in the cool foothills of Kalibaru, the sounds of the river and neighbouring rural and jungle life only enhance the feeling of contented pleasure to which Rumah Senang’s name alludes: “senang” translated from Indonesian loosely means comfortably satisfied.

Travelfish says:

Three-and-a-half kilometres from Kalibaru Station this small guesthouse is one of several similar along this road, and though all are delightful in their own way, we think Rumah Senang has a slight edge on its neighbours due to the location and general layout.

Plenty of space to run around on. Photo by: Sally Arnold.
Plenty of space to run around on. Photo: Sally Arnold

On offer are four spotless rooms, a substantial double and smaller twin room in the main colonial-style brick bungalow which incorporates a spacious communal dining and living room as well as a wide breezy furnished terrace overlooking the swimming pool and garden and in a separate duplex by the river, another double and twin with a shared terrace.

Spacious tiled interiors are airy and light filled, comfortably kitted out with teak furniture and a mix of modern and traditional Indonesian decorative touches. Beds sport thick quality mattresses and some add mozzie nets. They were in the process of a major spring clean when we dropped by, so none of the beds were made up, but judging by the general style we can assume all will be clean and smart.

Comfortable rooms. Photo by: Sally Arnold.
Comfortable rooms. Photo: Sally Arnold

Expect well-considered trappings including bedside tables with lamps, luggage storage, wardrobes, mini safe, seating and a small desk in some, roomy enough to add an extra bed if needed. Due to the cooler altitude, air-con is unnecessary.

Ensuite hot-water bathrooms are clean and modern, the generously sized one in the largest double room not only provides a bathtub, but a double shower and double sinks, enough for three people to bathe at once! Others are equipped with just a shower, but all offer ample bench space and racks for your towels and clothes.

Room to relax. Photo by: Sally Arnold.
Room to relax. Photo: Sally Arnold

Furnished terraces are the ideal spot to enjoy views of Gunung Raung to the north, or simply sit back and watch the flowers bloom. The small sparkling deep blue kidney-shaped pool is welcome for a refreshing dip after exploring the nearby plantations. A separate shallow section will keep traveling kids happy too. The day we popped by we saw no poolside furniture, but they were just about to water-blast the stonework, so it may have been in storage, however a shady riverside bale offers another pleasant relaxing opportunity.

In the evening grab a possie on the couch in the communal lounge, chill with a book from the library or vege out in front of the telly with a DVD. The very accommodating staff speak excellent English and Dutch and mentioned that most guests here as well as in the surrounding guesthouses are from the Netherlands, highlighted by the fact that menu and all hotel information is in Dutch.

Enjoy the countryside scenery. Photo by: Sally Arnold.
Enjoy the countryside scenery. Photo: Sally Arnold

Breakfast is included and other meals can be provided from a menu that offers Indonesian and Western favourites. We were amused by “KFC” on the menu—Kalibaru Fried Chicken. For a bit of variety, most of the other guesthouses open their restaurants to the public all with comparably pricey options by local standards, alternatively it’s a three kilometre trek to the warungs in the main town.

Rumah Senang can arrange local plantation tours as well as trips further afield including to Sukmade and Kawah Ijen. Bike hire is available for 50,000 rupiah per day, an excellent way to explore locally.

Sit around and take it easy. Photo by: Sally Arnold.
Sit around and take it easy. Photo: Sally Arnold

We think Rumah Senang is a lovely relaxing spot to send a couple of days, and would be ideal for a family or group of friends or just a romantic getaway, albeit due to the intimate nature of the place you wouldn’t want to be sharing with a rowdy group. Also check out Villa Kendi who also nabs a riverside location and offer stylish rooms including some smaller budget rooms at the front of the property near the pool. Alternatively on the opposite side of the road, Rumah Kita is a comparable option for around the same price point while for a bit more dosh, consider Villa Bugis.

Note that walk-in rates we were quoted in rupiah were less than the euro rates of Rumah Senang’s website. If more hotel-style accommodation appeals, Margo Utomo Hill View Resort is just down the road. Rumah Senang sits 350 metres up a rough rocky road off the main Kalibaru-Banyuwangi road, look for the signs to Margo Utomo Hill View Resort.

Contact details for Rumah Senang

Address: 95 Jalan Putri Gunung, Kajarharjo, Kalibaru
T: (0852) 1541 1488; (0333) 898 602;  
Coordinates (for GPS): 114º0'22.62" E, 8º18'6.43" S
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: 400,000 to 1,000,000 Rp

Room rates

What we were quoted as a walk-in.

Standard double room 575,000 rupiah 675,000 rupiah
Superior double room 750,000 rupiah 850,000 rupiah

Reviewed by

Sally spent twelve years leading tourists around Indonesia and Malaysia where she collected a lot of stuff. She once carried a 40kg rug overland across Java. Her house has been described as a cross between a museum and a library. Fuelled by coffee, she can often be found riding her bike or petting stray cats. Sally believes travel is the key to world peace.

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