When long-term travelers talk about how affordable Asia is, they’re often referring to the well-trodden Banana Pancake trail: Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam. Bali sometimes edges its way onto that list, too, with tourists and expats running amok in Kuta, Ubud, and Denpasar. But Bali is just one of 17,508 islands comprising the Indonesian archipelago, and what a shame it is if travelers don’t explore beyond its beaches.
Surabaya is one of our favorite cities in East Java, rife with abundant street art, droolworthy street food, and new-wave upstarts like ORE, Newton Store, and the Artotel Surabaya, featured here. One of three Artotel locations—the others are in Jakarta and Bali—it’s like staying at the Ace Hotel without paying out the nose for the privilege. Works by Indonesian artists Hendra HeHe Harsono, darbotz, and Arkiv Vilmansa decorate the lobby and rooms. Staff is so, so nice and thrilled to make local recommendations. Rooms start at $30 USD per night and include a generous Indonesian-style buffet breakfast, cushy bedding, and the most elusive of all travel amenities: stable WiFi.
Jl. Dr. Soetomo No. 79-81, Kota, Surabaya, Jawa Timur, Indonesia; +62-31-5689000.