The Ijen Resort Hotel in Java was reached by a narrow rutted track which although only 3km, took 30 minutes due to its poor condition. However, our slow pace allowed plenty of time to admire the stunning lime-green rice terraces. On passing through the village, loud music blared out, which our guide, Atik, said was from a circumcision party. We wondered whether the decibel level was designed to mask the screaming.
Our large room, one of 45, had a high roof with dark wood beams, matching, carved dark wood furniture and weavings adorning the walls. A balcony, with bamboo chairs and table, overlooked attractive gardens. The room was well equipped with bed-side tables and lamps, desk, TV, un-stocked mini-bar, tea/coffee making facilities and complementary water.
The stone floor was practical, but cold to bare feet. The hotel information indicated a room safe was available, but we failed to find it. There was no air conditioning but as we were 650m above sea level, it wasn’t really necessary. The altitude also eliminated the need for mosquito repellent in the evening. Torches were need to navigate the rather dark path to the restaurant.
The bathroom had a good sized shower cubicle, with a powerful spray and plenty of hot water. Unfortunately the seal was totally ineffective and we had to use surplus towels to mop the flooded floor. Although a hairdryer was provided, it lacked power.
The hotel has an infinity swimming pool with stunning scenery, plenty of sun loungers and a stack of books and towels. Free wi-fi was available at both the reception and restaurant.
Having pre-booked a massage in the spa, I didn’t seem to be expected. There was no calming tea on arrival and although there appeared to be the soothing sound of running water, when the toilet was flushed, the penny dropped. The only other music was the competing wailing from two nearby mosques. Having disrobed, I was rather embarrassed that, despite washing, the soles of my feet were filthy as a result of two days of trekking in sandals through black sand and dust. I’d booked the ‘smooth and relaxing’ massage, but when the firm pummelling started, I began to wonder if there’d been a mistake. However painful, it was a bargain at $32 for the hour.
Dinner the first night was buffet style with traditional Indonesian dishes. The next night, there were fewer guests and an la carte menu. We shared starters of a home-made tomato soup with garlic bread and spicy chicken fajitas. Mains were chosen to complement each other and share: fish and chips with tartar sauce and fish menuière with mashed potato. They were excellent but huge and we agreed one main would have been sufficient. Lessons learned, we ordered two spoons for a warm apple pie and single scoop of vanilla ice-cream.
This hotel was the only one of the six Java hotels we stayed in, with an extensive range of cocktails and wine. As this was our last night before moving on to Bali and we had no more very early morning starts, we indulged in a bottle of Two Islands chardonnay, made in Bali with Australian grapes in Bali. By the time we’d finished our meal, we were as chilled as the wine: a perfect way to leave Java.