After reading all the scary stories about hailing Batam's notorious taxis, my wife and I decided not to risk it andbooked the hotel's taxi to pick us up at the Batam Ferry Center instead. Didn't want to flag down and haggle fares with dishonest cab drivers and then later to be taken for a ride anyhow.
It took us about twenty minutes to reach the hotel and cost us Rupiah 80,000 (US$8.20) of which a receipt was issued for.
The Front Desk allowed us to check in early which was great because it was not even 9.00AM when we arrived. While at the counter, we were very pleasantly surprised when a waitress served us a welcome juice drink. Some hotels have welcome drink vouchers but many hotels don't even bother with this simple hospitality gesture anymore so that welcome drink upon arrival was a really positive first impression.
The corridor leading to our room emitted a faint musty smell of damp carpet. It was not overpowering but enough to be noticed. Our room was a non-smoking room but upon opening the door, we could immediately detect stale cigarette smoke. Clearly, the previous guest must have totally ignored the No Smoking sign or else just couldn't be bothered.
Good thing the windows can be opened to allow fresh air to help clear up the smell a tad. We still needed to buy a little air freshener sachet to further rid the room of that weird sweet and spicy smoky stench of clove cigarettes.
We later learnt that Indonesians love clove cigarettes and that smoking in public air conditioned areas is generally frowned upon but still tolerated. So it's no fault of the hotel that smokers puff away freely. Many guests light up in the lobby and also the breakfast coffeehouse where the smoking section occupies 3/4 of the restaurant. Non smokers must learn to somehow adapt to the smoking culture in this country, that's for certain.
Breakfast was the usual mix of international fare but it was actually pretty tasty. Loved their hot soya milk and tofu soybean pudding. The buffet items were slow to be replenished though.
A 5 minute walk will take you to a fairly large mall called the Nagoya Hill Mall where one can find the usual Western fast food joints, small local eateries, grocers, souvenir shops etc. As expected, smoking is also "permitted" there, especially in the basement where the computer and electrical products are located. Nobody gives a damn about the numerous No Smoking signages.
Anyway, we stayed for 4 nights and concluded that the I Hotel is a decent and clean hotel run by friendly, helpful and polite staff. Now, if only the No Smoking Room can remain a No Smoking Room...
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- Also Known As:
- i Hotel Batam