A very special place

Reviewed April 29, 2012

Sunrise at Ijen Resort is one of those vivid memories that will stay with me for a long time – a vast view over lush padi fields with volcanoes in the background and the Bali Sea over to the east. The resort is about 30-45 minutes from the ferry terminal in Banyuwangi (from where you can get the ferry to Bali, a 30-minute trip) but it feels a world away from the hectic pace of Java, and even Bali these days. Ok, the road up there is pretty horrible for the last 10 minutes or so – but on the plus side, I think this is part of the reason that the resort is still so secluded. It feels very special when you do make it up there, the rhythm of life in the little village outside the property is far gentler than on the main road below and I think easier access would take away from that feeling. That said, if you have a bad back, be conscious…and perhaps book a massage upon arrival. For the quality of the food (which was wonderful) and the setting, it really didn't seem pricey at all – I know we could have been paying twice as much for food in a similar setting in Bali, and probably three or four times as much on accommodation. So it felt like a real treat to have 'discovered' this place – thank you, Tripadvisor! As with the previous reviewer, when we were there we were advised that Ijen was 'officially' closed, but that trips could be arranged. I think this is understandable as many people probably travel a long way just to see Ijen and would be willing to take the risk – they are warned about the situation but ultimately it's their decision. Volcanic activity at Ijen had been calming down over the previous couple of weeks, and we got the impression that it was just a question of waiting for official restrictions to be lifted, which could take a while. On that morning, several other guests had chosen to go – the only reason we didn't was that we didn't have much time and wanted to spend as much of it as possible enjoying the pool, the view, and the food…and had already decided that we would be back again, hopefully soon.