In order to break the journey from Bajawa to Labuan Bajo I stopped over for one night in Ruteng. This was my first time staying at a convent and the best bathroom I used throughout my entire stay on the island of Flores. A friend recommended Hotel Susteran as it is sometimes called, meaning Convent Hotel, officially Wisma Santa Maria located at SR Santa Maria Berdukacita convent.
On the outskirts of Ruteng, a small town at a pleasantly cool altitude, the convent is perched on a hill right on the main road into Ruteng if coming from the east. I lugged my suitcase up the steep driveway and found the entrance to the guest wing. I asked a nun if there were any rooms left and was immediately shown to a twin bed room with en-suite shower room. For one person I paid Rp. 130,000 which included breakfast.
The room was spotlessly clean, by far the cleanest accommodation I saw in Flores, with twin single beds and a window looking out on to the beautifully well-kept convent gardens. With its tasteful decoration and off-white walls, only a small crucifix on the wall and a bible in the drawer reminded you that this was a convent, not a normal hotel. The bathroom had hot water, a sit-down toilet, sink and possibly the best shower in Flores, definitely for this price.
The convent has been running for eleven years and has ten nuns and forty novices living there. The nuns and novices were friendly and pleasant, and also efficient, working hard to keep the convent in such good condition, while also creating a peaceful contemplative atmosphere.
Breakfast was a satisfying selection of fried rice, toast and spreads served in the next door block. Checking out was a smooth process with one of the nuns, and they also booked my travel to my next destination.
Although it is a convent, Hotel Susteran or SR Santa Maria Berdukacita provides accommodation for both men and women. A 10–15 minute walk into the centre of Ruteng, the convent offers good views across the countryside from its hilltop site.
Susteran St. Maria Berdukacita is on Jalan Ahmad Yani No. 45, Ruteng, Flores, Indonesia. Telephone 0385 22834.