For people in Asia and Africa, they may hear about the hotel from the history books where they mentioned the Bandung Conference in 1955. For aviation enthusiasts or those who are drawn to conspiracy theories, Grand Hotel Preanger was where Amelia Earhart stayed in Bandung just a few days before she's gone missing around the Pacific.
After having a staycation at Savoy Homann Hotel a few years ago, I decided to splurge a little and book another staycation at Grand Hotel Preanger. But this time, I decided to spend a little bit extra to book two hotel rooms at the Naripan Suite, which is the historical part of the hotel building.
It was good timing as I booked it when my grandma came to town, and my cousin took a break from school. With the staycation experience at one of the historical buildings in Bandung and the fact that the hotel has a mini museum to learn about the city's history, here's the story from my staycation at Grand Hotel Preanger!
History of Grand Hotel Preanger
The story of Bandung and Grand Hotel Preanger began in the early 1800s when Herman Willem Daendels – the former Governor General of the Dutch East Indies – started the construction of the Groote Postweg from Anyer to Panarukan. During his trip to Bandung, he told RA. Wiranatakusumah II – the then-regent of Bandung – to build a city at what's now become Bandung city square.
In the mid-1800s, Bandung started gaining popularity for its farm and tea plantations, and it started attracting vacationers from other cities in the Dutch East Indies. It was 1884 when a grocery store was opened in the area where the current building of Grand Hotel Preanger stands. The store was there to provide staples for the Dutch people coming to Bandung for holidays, until it went bankrupt in 1897.
A Dutchman called W.H.C Van Deeterkom took over the building and transformed it into a hotel called Preanger Hotel. The current architecture of the Grand Hotel Preanger building was designed in 1929 by a well-known architect at the time, C.P. Wolff Schoemaker, along with his student, who would eventually become Indonesia's founding father, Soekarno.
Ever since, Grand Hotel Preanger has become one of the high-end accommodations in Bandung. One of the most notable guests was Amelia Earhart, who stayed at this hotel as a part of her Around the World Trip in 1937. During that time, the then-Andir Airport – now Husein Sastranegara International Airport – was also the hub for aircraft maintenance in Java.
She first landed in Bandung on the 21st of June and stayed 3 days before heading to Surabaya on the 24th. The next day, she flew back to Bandung for another maintenance before heading to Kupang on the 27th of June. The rest is history, and we all know that her plane disappeared in the Pacific Ocean on the 2nd of July.
Grand Hotel Preanger was under the spotlight one more time during the 1955 Asian-African Conference, where some notable guests stayed for the conference, including the second president of Egypt, Gamal Abdul Nasser.
The good news is that all of these historical facts are also documented at the mini museum, which you can visit for free while staying at Grand Hotel Preanger these days.
Review: Grand Hotel Preanger in Bandung, Indonesia
Not so long after the pandemic, I actually tried to book a staycation at Grand Hotel Preanger only for it to get canceled as the building was under renovation. Eventually, I changed my booking and had a staycation at Blackbird Hotel instead.
When I finally decided to make another reservation for a staycation at Grand Hotel Preanger, I decided to maximize the experience by staying in the historic rooms at Naripan Wing as I felt a bit underwhelmed when I stayed in the Deluxe Room at Savoy Homann a few years ago.
I booked two Naripan Suite rooms for $110 USD through Agoda, which I found quite affordable considering it was a suite room and breakfast was included.
Check-In and First Impression at Grand Hotel Preanger
My first impression of Grand Hotel Preanger is that they have some top-notch hospitality, even from the first step you took in the hotel lobby.
Unfortunately, the check-in process took too long as my family and I arrived around 2 PM to check in. At first, the receptionist said that only one room was ready so they could check us in at the room suite, and they'd call us once the other room was ready.
I waited until 4 PM when the room wasn't ready yet, so then we decided to go out and grand some late lunch assuming that the room would be ready by the time we went back. Well, it was, but the room was somehow different than the picture so once again, I got a bit underwhelmed with the experience.
Naripan Suite Room at Grand Hotel Preanger
So when I decided to book two rooms at Grand Hotel Preanger's Naripan Suite Room, I assumed the rooms would be similar… But they weren't. The first room that my mom and Grandma got was exactly the same as advertised, but not mine. However, there's one thing that I consider a plus point about the rooms at Grand Hotel Preanger: this is by far the first hotel where they provide bolster in the room!
At this point, I'm not even sure whether my room is a different type or it's just the way it is with the suite rooms at Grand Hotel Preanger. But in this section, I'm going to split my review based on two different rooms where we stayed at the hotel. So, here we go!
Naripan Suite Room I
The first room we checked in was exactly the same as how Naripan Suite Room was advertised on their website and Agoda page. It's a large 77 msq room with a dedicated salon and workspace along with a cozy-looking bathroom with a modern bathtub.
I was happy when we checked into the hotel room the first time, and I thought I'd have the exact same room for myself… But I didn't! 🙁
The workspace is really big, and the chair was super comfortable when I sat there waiting for the receptionist's call to tell that my room was ready. On top of that, Grand Hotel Preanger also has a good internet connection so you don't need to worry if you need to catch up with deadlines during your stay!
Honestly, $55 per night for this type of room was such a good deal. Not to mention that the price also includes free breakfast as well as complimentary welcome drinks!
Naripan Suite Room II
While I was satisfied with the first room, when I opened my room and found out that the room wasn't exactly the same as the pictures I saw when I booked it, I felt a bit disappointed.
The room was actually pretty cozy, and it definitely looked more luxurious than some other hotel rooms where I previously stayed in Bandung. However, when you paid the same rate only to get the downgraded version of the next room, it was just normal for me to feel underwhelmed about the room.
Overall, the room wasn't actually that bad. It was quite spacious, but it was a little dark and borderline spooky compared to the first room. What's super disappointing to me though, was the fact that it didn't have a workspace.
The room has three sections; the bedroom, the bathroom, and the coffee table and a couch with a small table and two chairs behind it. One of the lamps there wasn't working too so it just made the room darker than it already was.
While the first room came with a modern bathtub, the second one had a rustic one with a darker toilet too. I didn't have a bad experience staying in this room, I just wish I could pay less for this room than the previous one.
Breakfast and Facilities at Grand Hotel Preanger
Upon check-in, I got two coupons: one for a welcome drink for each guest, and the other for breakfast. We exchanged the coupon for welcome drinks at around 5 PM; the option was some traditional drinks that I unfortunately forgot to take pics of.
I also asked the receptionists at what time they usually serve breakfast, and they said that the breakfast buffet should be open from 6.30 AM. Since I didn't get a chance to use their swimming pool on the first day, I decided to swim first before I had breakfast as the swimming pool at Grand Hotel Preanger can be used from 6 AM.
Grand Hotel Preanger has two swimming pools, a small one for children and the bigger one that is around 1.2 meters in depth. It was actually a great facility to exercise, and I heard they also have a gym too if it's more like your cup of tea.
Not sure if it's common, but with the reputation of it being one of the best historic hotels in Bandung, the hotel seems to be popular for groups and it kinda made my breakfast experience less exciting since there were so many people out at the restaurant during breakfast.
They have a variety of menus for breakfast, from traditional Indonesian to Western. However, I didn't think their breakfast buffet was special. In fact, their food was a bit bland for my taste.
As I had a really good experience with the breakfast buffet at Savoy Homann a few years ago, I couldn't help to compare since both hotels are pretty much direct competitors between one and the other.
Grand Hotel Preanger Museum
What's the point of staying at a historic hotel in Bandung if you can't trace back the time to learn about the memorabilia of the site? Another advantage of staying at Grand Hotel Preanger is that they dedicated a small section of the hotel to transform it into a mini museum where you could learn a piece of history about the hotel, as well as Bandung history in general.
From the receptionist's desk, you'll find a staircase that will direct you to the museum. It's not the same as the main escalator that goes to the hotel entrance, so if you're unsure where to go, you can always ask the hotel staff to point you in the right direction.
The museum isn't big, but it has all the essential information if you want to dig more into the hotel's history. Everything is displayed at this mini museum, from the hotel timeline since the beginning of their business to the notable guests who have stayed at the hotel.
The museum features two bigger sections for Amelia Earhart and Charlie Chaplin, and they also display some retro cameras and gramophones to take you travel back in time. All the information is written in both Indonesian and English, so you'll be able to understand it even if you don't speak Bahasa Indonesia.
At this museum, you can see some photos and a copy of a letter written by Amelia Earhart for her friend back in the States with “Grand Hotel Preanger” label. In addition, you can also find some retro photos of Bandung in the 1930s, along with some artworks related to the city.
While the museum isn't as massive as you may expect it to be, it's still worth visiting if you get a chance to stay at Grand Hotel Preanger in Bandung, Indonesia. It's free entrance for Grand Hotel Preanger guests, so why not stop by the museum when you have the privilege to do so?
FAQ About Grand Hotel Preanger
In this section, I'm going to list a few questions that I found on Google about Grand Hotel Preanger so I can answer them based on my personal experience. So, here we go!
Is Grand Hotel Preanger located near the city center?
Absolutely! Grand Hotel Preanger is located in Jalan Asia Afrika, which is one of the busiest streets in Bandung, Indonesia. It's only walking distance from some must-visit places in Bandung, including the 0 KM of Bandung, the Museum of Asian-African Conference, Alun-Alun Bandung, and the city's Grand Mosque.
How do I get to Grand Hotel Preanger?
The easiest way to go to Grand Hotel Preanger is by taking a taxi if you don't drive your own car. If you have a car, they have a spacious parking lot, including basement, where you can park for free at the hotel area. Valet parking is also available, although extra charges usually apply for the latter.
In Bandung, ride-sharing apps like Grab, Gojek, inDriver, or Maxim are also available so you can use any of them to hail a car to get you there easily.
What time is check in and check out time at Grand Hotel Preanger?
According to the information I got from Agoda when I booked the room at Grand Hotel Preanger, the check in time starts at 2 PM and you should check out anytime before 12 PM.
However, it's also subject to availability as my room wasn't ready despite the fact that I arrived after 2 PM and I had to wait for almost 2 hours until I got to check into my room during my stay.
My Final Verdict of Grand Hotel Preanger
Compared to other hotels with the same level in Bandung, I find Grand Hotel Preanger's rate super affordable as you could get a room for as low as IDR 400,000 (around $28 USD) if you're a Platinum member of Agoda like me.
My overall staycation experience was quite positive, and I'd give 7 out of 10 for it as I was a bit disappointed with the fact that one of the rooms that I booked didn't look like the ads. Not to mention that it took so long for them to even check me in for the second room.
Other than that, I didn't find their breakfast or welcome drink memorable so even if I had another staycation there, I'd probably skip paying extra for free breakfast. Here's my final verdict on staying at Grand Hotel Preanger!
- The night rate is super affordable compared to other 4-star hotels in Bandung.
- The hotel's history is what makes it charming, and they enrich the experience for the guests by providing a small section of the museum to showcase it.
- It's within walking distance to some of the must-visit places in Bandung, and it's quite easy to get around Bandung from the hotel too!
- The room has bolsters!!!
- Naripan Room Suite (the real one) is definitely value for the money with all the facilities.
- It's a family-friendly hotel that offers spacious space for kids to play around, including a small pool for children too.
- I'm disappointed that I booked two rooms of the same type, yet both rooms look totally different.
- It took too long for the staff to check me in for the second room, as I arrived at 2 PM and I could only get a room at around 4.30 PM.
- The breakfast buffet seems quite bland. A lot of options, yes. But delicious, no.
- The hotel is groups' favorite, which kinda lessens the joyful experience as the restaurant and cafe at the hotel seem to always be full with people.
Overall, I had a mixed experience when it comes to staying at Grand Hotel Preanger. My only take for next time if I ever plan to book rooms another time at the hotel, I'd probably make two separate bookings for the suite to ensure that the room I'd get would be exactly the same as what they advertise.
Other than that, I'm quite happy with the experience since I've known Grand Hotel Preanger since I was a child, and I'm just glad that I finally got a chance to stay at this historic hotel.
Have you stayed at some historic hotel in your hometown? What makes it special? Share in the comment, and cheerio! 😉
Marya The BeauTraveler
I am the founder and main editor at The BeauTraveler. I spent 4 years working in the aviation industry but ironically got to travel more right after quitting the industry in 2015. Born and raised in Indonesia, I started working remotely in 2017, and while I stay at home most of the time, I also regularly spend 2-3 months living a semi-digital nomad life elsewhere every year.
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