We were so lucky we found this hidden gem! Sendowan Baru in North Sulawesi, Indonesia is a great place to spend some time with or without kids. A real home away from home. This guesthouse has a large pool, basic but comfortable and clean rooms, a beach right outside the gates and lots of space to run around and play. We were here in August and the weather was perfect, even though in most other parts of South-East Asia it was wet and humid. Let us tell you a bit more about our stay at Guesthouse Sendowan Baru.
We’re loving Indonesia, but Makassar was a huge disappointment, so we were ready for a good experience again. And Sendowan Baru and its Dutch owners Lut and Frank came through for us. From the first warm welcome to the moment they helped us carry our luggage to the street to find a taxi when we left, we felt really at home there.
Sendowan Baru, North-Sulawewesi, Indonesia
Sendowan Baru is a property near Amurang that was built in 1995 by a Dutch guy. He intended for two families to live there, which shows in the design. At some point, he sold the property and now Frank and his brother Paul from The Netherlands own the place, together with their wives Lut and Lisette. They started renting out rooms in 2012, at very reasonable prices. Overall we found it really good value for money and the included breakfast, while basic, was a big plus. It’s a great alternative for an impersonal hotel. Frank and Paul are both part Indonesian, with ancestors from this area of Sulawesi.
Luxury rooms at Sendowan Baru
At first we inquired about the cottage that is set apart from the main house, at the front of the garden. But since that was already booked for the dates we wanted, Lut suggested the luxury rooms to us. These consisted of a huge living room, private bathroom, and a bedroom. Perfect for us. The property is huge, with lots of space for Jace to run around, a nice garden and a big swimming pool. Coming from a nondescript hotel in busy Makassar, this lovely guesthouse in Amurang, North-Sulawesi was the perfect place for us to unwind after the hassles of the big city. We even celebrated Jace’s second birthday there.
Relaxed time at Sendowan Baru
We actually didn’t leave the property very often. The property is huge and you can easily fill your days swimming, sun bathing, reading a book, playing football, feeding the fish or just relaxing. There’s a beach right outside the gate and with the swimming pool, two hammocks and an open air living room with three comfortable rocking chairs there is more than enough space to chill. The pool has a shallow kiddie area, so our little one could play in the water by himself.
Amurang is the closest city to this lovely pension. We went there two times, once for dinner on the second night and once during the day. To get to Amurang you take one of the little blue buses, called mikrolets. There’s no official bus stop, they just stop to pick you up when you wait at the side of the road. Very convenient. A one way trip to Amurang is IDR 4.000. At night the village is pretty much deserted and it wasn’t easy to find a place to eat. On our visit during the day we stopped at a local market but left when people started touching Jace again, so it was a very brief visit. The owners of Sendowan Baru provide a great selection of guide books and information about excursions in the area. We just found the place to relaxing, we didn’t go out much.
You don’t have to go out for food
The Indonesian couple Lydia and Alfrett take care of the property. They are incredibly nice people and very competent. Lydia even speaks Dutch, so that was easy for Jace too. It took him a day or so to warm up to her (I think it was weird for him to have someone so obviously Indonesian speak Dutch to him instead of English), but after a while he constantly looked for her in the kitchen. Haha, food really was the way to his little heart 😉 Lydia is a great cook and lunch and dinner are offered for 35k and 50k respectively. Since we didn’t have to pay for Jace, it was a pretty good deal for us. We also got take away lunch a few times from the warung next door for 45k for two people, which was both cheap and tasty.
We even stayed longer…
We booked for three nights, but ended up adding another three. All three of us had a cold from the aircon in Makassar and we needed to be fit before going to Bunaken for diving, but also because we felt at home and liked the peace and quiet at Sendowan Baru so much. After a suggestion from Lut and some online research we decided that before going to Bunaken we would make a trip to Tangkoko National Park to stay there for a few days. So that was our next destination after Sendowan Baru.
How to get to Amurang
Sendowan Baru is located in North Sulawesi, about 2 hours from Sam Ratulangi Manado International Airport. Since it was the day before Jace’s birthday and we just wanted some peace and quiet, we chose to take a private car to get from the airport to the guesthouse. The owners arranged the car for us. At 500k it was quite expensive, but also the easiest way to get there. There is also a bus from Manado to Amurang. At 35k per person, it’s a much cheaper option. Then from Amurang you take one of the blue mikrolets to get to Sendowan Baru. The downside is that the bus on the route Manado Airport – Amurang only goes 2 times a day, so the timing has to be right. According to this bus schedule (in Indonesian) the bus from Manado Airport to Amurang leaves at 07:00 and 15:00.
Sendowan Baru: our verdict
I don’t think I need to repeat that we had a really good time at Sendowan Baru. The owners are lovely, and so are the caretakers. The Indonesian couple Lydia and Alfrett take very good care of the guests. Sendowan Baru is a great place to relax and recharge. You can visit places in the area, but you don’t have to. You can easily spend your days relaxing at the pool. We would go to Sendowan Baru again in a heart beat. If you’re going to North-Sulawesi, we can definitely recommend a stay at Sendowan Baru. You won’t regret it!