Amazing views, spotless rooms
While the options in Maluk town are pretty dire, set on the southern headland, with stunning views over the bay, Merdeka House delivers the goods. Australian hosts Joey and Georgia run a friendly and welcoming homestay with a surfing focus, offering simple but very clean rooms set in a solid three-storey (plus loft) building overlooking Maluk.
The top floor is given over to a sprawling social area, with a fully kitted out Western-style kitchen that is open for guests to use as they wish, complimentary coffee and tea and a freezer box stuffed with ice-cold beer. There’s a pool table, a projector for screening surfing flicks and a great layaround area where you can just kick back and watch the waves roll in.
This was one of the most spectacularly appointed places to stay we saw across all of Sumbawa. The view to the north, with enormous waves rolling in like clockwork, and the imposing northern headland reaching into the sky, is simply Jurassic.
Joey is a plumber by trade and it shows in the bathrooms – though, as in most surfer spots, the shower doesn’t have a shower head. Our lower floor bedroom had windows opening out onto a garden terrace, but the rooms otherwise have little view to speak of — all the views are upstairs. Our bed was tightly wrapped in a good mosquito net — be sure to tuck it in as there are a few mozzies about in the evening. The surrounding gardens ramble down the hills and add to the setting.
The overall scene is very social and while surfer heavy, all are welcome. Merdeka House provides all guests with a handy booklet about the area, which details a couple of waterfalls, places to eat (no meals are provided at Merdeka, though you are welcome to prepare your own) and a few general guidelines for travellers to tread lightly. Many guesthouses could learn from this as it is a great intro for guests to both the guesthouse and the area.
Rates are reasonable for the location, especially compared to the two primary hotels in Maluk town (the Maluk Resort and the B Hotel, neither of which are any good). Merdeka is at the end of a muddy (wet season) or dusty (dry season) pot-holed road, with the last very steep part on a concrete trail. Novice scooter riders take care! If you don’t have your own transport call to arrange a pick-up or grab an ojek in town. Highly recommended. In high season (June, July and August), reservations are strongly recommended.
Nearby Maluk House (just a little further up the hill) starts at US$60 a night, but we were unable to see inside as it was full when we visited. See their website for details.
Address: Southern headland, Maluk
T: (0822) 4741 7866; (0822) 4741 7877;
Coordinates (for GPS): 116º44'59.86" E, 8º55'42.15" 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.
|Standard double room||300,000 rupiah||300,000 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.
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