The Boulevard is an Indonesian business hotel, that may not be up to the standards of some international visitors. However, it is very clean, quite stylish, inexpensive and extremely friendly (the manager, Bambang is brilliant and speaks good English). Perhaps the best things about the hotel are the other guests: a mixture of Indonesian business people, shoppers and clubbers (especially at weekends). Close by are excellent warungs and cafes and Manado's two nightclubs, of which Score is the best (above the Manado Town Square Shopping Centre, although Manado only gets busy on Wednesdays - Ladies Night and Saturdays), its also next door to a hostess bar, if that's your thing. Seafood is wonderful in Manado and there are excellent seafood restaurants all along the boulevard (Ikan Bakar Rica Rica with Bunga Papaya is a speciality).
Whilst it lacks the amenities of mid range hotels, you can have a beer in the lobby and watch TV with fellow guests (football is a favourite and the hotel is becoming the favourate of Manado's Manchester City supporters, despite the Chinese owner being a red). Its also has free wifi in the lobby, another source of amusement with fellow guests. The owner is currently building a more upmarket hotel opposite which may be more suited to international visitors.
Manado itself may not be where you want to stay in Sulawesi Utara, many go on to a diving resort (Bunaken Island is very popular), but I would recommend the Minahasan Highlands (Lokon Boutique Resort is beautiful). Locals eat dogs, cats, rats, fruit bats and snakes, but you'll only find this if you ask to be taken to a restaurant which serves them. More appealling to international visitors are a Bakpao cafes serving pork or peanut Bakpao, eat with chilli (rica rica). Also seek out the local spirit Cap Tikus, a little like schnapps; you can add cinamon to take the edge off it. When in the Highlands, Danau Tondano and Danau Linow are well worth seeing, also a warm sulpher bath is an experience.
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