Balikpapan Accommodation & Nightlife
There are a number of good star-rated hotels in the city. More seem to get built every year; a testament to the city's growth. Most visitors to Balikpapan come on business and they are well catered for in this regard. Additionally, the hotels have no lack of leisure facilities. Gyms, spas, swimming pools, cafes, restaurants and massage services are standard for the bigger hotels.
Blue Sky Hotel - (also known as Bahana Surya. It's away
from the city center, but near the Total and Pertamina offices)
Jalan Soeprapto No. 1, Balikpapan
(0542) 735-844/5; www.blueskybalikpapan.com
Le Grandeur (ex Dusit) - Jalan Sudirman
(0542) 420-155; www.legrandeurhotels.com/bpp/home.php
Hotel Benakutai - Jalan Jenderal Achmad Yani, Balikpapan
Adhika Hotel Bahtera - (Right in the city center); Jalan Sudirman No. 2
(0542) 738-000; www.bahterahotel.com
Gran Senyiur Hotel - Jalan Ars Mohammad No. 7
(0542) 820-211; www.senyiurhotels.com
Novotel Balikpapan - Jalan Ery Suparjan No. 2
(0542) 820-820; www.novotelbalikpapan.com
Hotel Sagita - Jalan Mayjend Sutoyo 69;
(0542) 820-300; www.hotelsagita.com
Hotel Grand Tiga Mustika - Jalan Ars Mohammad No. 51
(0542) 733-788; www.hotelgrandtigamustika.com
If you're staying long term and accommodation hasn't been sorted out by your company, then one of the housing complexes around the city is a good place to start looking. These include Balikpapan Baru, Bukit Damai Indah and Balikpapan Permai. These complexes include leisure facilities like pools, restaurants and shops.
As Balikpapan gets busier, especially with foreign workers, so does its nightlife. There are popular bars in most of the big hotels. These range from the fairly wholesome Colors (Blue Sky), Lamaru (Gran Senyiur) and SQ (Adhika Bahtera) to the more raunchy Red Square (Sagita) and Borneo Bar (Le Grandeur).
All have live music most nights and get very crowded on weekends. There are a couple of expatriate pubs adjoining each other (and apparently owned by rival, squabbling sisters) called Joy's and Martha's. They're cheap and cheerful and sometimes host pool competitions. For the night owls, there is a disco called Nakhoda at the Adikha Bahtera Hotel. It's a lively place and worth a visit just to see who you might bump into (literally) in the dark.
Contributor: Nick Aarons