Hotels in Bali can leave you spoiled for choice, but may also confuse the hell out of potential travelers. Apart from the customary one- to five-star hotels and resorts, Bali offers two unfamiliar types of budget accommodation: losmen and hotel melati.
Losmen and hotel melati are two classes of hotels recognized by the Indonesian government alongside the usual five-star system.
Losmen are homestay-type accommodations. In Bali, these usually refer to family-run establishments built in the Balinese fashion – a series of houses built around an inner garden and walled off into a compound. The rooms usually have an electric fan, a cold-water shower and a Western-style (no squat) toilet.
Some losmen, particularly higher-priced ones, are cozy and offer excellent value for money. The cheaper rooms tend to be more cramped and dismal. Prices range from 50,000Rp ($5.50) to 150,000Rp ($16.50) per night. This may include breakfast.
Very few (if any) losmen offer online reservations.
Hotel melati are budget hotels that don’t fit within the accepted one-to-five star parameters of hotels worldwide.
Hotel melati are ranked from 1 to 3, but the distinction between each is difficult to define. Melati 1 hotels generally have no air-conditioning and few guest services (if at all). Melati 2 hotels have some facilities, but lack others (you might get air-conditioning, but no room service). Melati 3 hotels have most of the services you’d expect from one- to two-star hotels.
In general, hotel melati are cheaper and less furnished than starred hotels, but not always. Some melati 3 hotels are more comfortable than 3-star hotels, but hotels from melati 2 on down generally don’t have the right facilities to earn stars by the usual way.