Dili Hotel Review: D’City Hotel, East Timor

When I was looking for a Dili hotel, I picked the D’City Hotel because of the clean online presentation and great reviews from the previous hotel guests. If I was traveling by myself, I would pick a more economical Dili accommodation. This time though, I was traveling with my 70-year old Mom and I wanted to make sure she had a comfortable place to stay instead of a noisy or cramped backpackers’ hostel. A handful of accommodations that are more economical are available in this laid back East Timor capital.

Dili hotel - D'City Hotel main entrance
D’City Hotel Main Entrance

The D’City Hotel is close to the heart of the city, across from the Dili Cathedral. You can easily walk to the famous Tais Market. It’s about a 5-10 minute walk from the front door of the hotel, If you don’t mind walking in the heat, the majority of Dili’s tourism spots in the city center, such as the governmental palace and the waterfront, are only 20 minutes away.

Dili hotel - D'City Hotel main entrance
D’City Hotel main Entrance, at night. A well thought lighting design!

Here’s the breakdown of my thoughts and experience with D’City Hotel in Dili.

Booking

Although it is possible to do a walk-in or call to get a room, there is no guarantee on availability or price if you opt to do so. The D’City Hotel, as is the case with many other Dili accommodations, relies heavily on the third-party booking sites. It’s much easier to book your room from a reputable site such as booking.com. You can book D’City hotel here. This will also apply if you are looking for other hotels in East Timor’s larger towns and cities.

The price may fluctuate slightly throughout the year, and booking.com clearly describes the types of room and prices on their website. D’City Hotel only has 20 rooms, and during East Timor holiday or peak travel times, they may all be booked.

Payments and Room Choices

Here’s how the individual rooms are officially priced, per night, as of May, 2017. Keep in mind that they may have updated the price since the time of writing, and your best bet is to check in for your dates before booking through the booking.com site.

  • Deluxe Single Room – $68 USD
  • Single/Standard Room – $58
  • Deluxe Twin Room – $68
  • Studio Deluxe Room – $110

Mom and I stayed in the Deluxe Twin Room, so we had a slightly better rate of $53/night (instead of the $68 posted). Definitely ask for better rates during the low season. As in many developing countries, cash payment is preferred. That said, D’City Hotel also accepts Visa with an additional 3% surcharge.  When we checked in, the payment machine did not accept my US-issued credit card, although I successfully used the same card right before and after in other places.

It’s worth noticing that D’City offers the Studio Deluxe Room. It includes a small kitchen counter and a living/dining room quarter in a small studio setting. Although it is listed at $110/night, better deals can be negotiated especially if you book this room for a longer period.

Dili hotel - D'Hotel front desk
Mom is very excited to check in at the D’Hotel front desk!

Airport pickup/Drop off

D’City Hotel offers a free transfer to and from Presidente Nicolau Lobato (Dili) International Airport. All you have to do is to contact them in advance to arrange the time of your arrival. You can note this under the “Special Requests” box when booking, or contact the hotel directly by email or phone.

If somehow you didn’t arrange your Dili hotel pickup, an official taxi (without a meter) will charge you a $10 fare from the airport to the city center, which is located roughly 3 miles (5 km) away. It’s possible, but not likely, to haggle the price down to $5. Otherwise you may walk to the mikrolet (public minibus) stop and get the number 10 car to the city center. Ask locals for directions and routes, as this information is not posted anywhere in the city or online.

Dili hotel - D'City hotel shuttle
Free hotel shuttle, which includes a pick up and drop off at the Dili International Airport.

The Room and Bathroom

We booked the Deluxe Twin Room, which has two single beds. It was meticulously clean and organized when we walked in. The cool air conditioning was a great welcome as a respite from the midday Dili heat.

All rooms come with a flat screen TV. There are different channels ranging from local station with East Timor information, to many Indonesian channels, and a few western news channels (CNN and others). A safe deposit box is available with a clear instructions on how to use it. And there is a desk and a table that can be used as a work station. Free Wi-Fi is available for your use, and the signal is quite strong in the room.

Dili hotel - our room
We stayed in the Deluxe Twin Room with two comfortable beds

The bathroom is clean and spacious, and it comes with free toiletries. The glass partition could use a little bit of work to get the soap scum off. The hot and cold water, along with the drains, worked great.

As in most of Southeast Asia, the toilet offers both water bidet and toilet paper options.

Dili hotel - D'City bathroom
Bathroom is spacious and clean, and offers both bidet and toilet paper.

The Amenities

Unfortunately, we didn’t have any chance to use it, but it was nice to know that a workable gym was available. From what I understand, that’s quite rare for a typical Dili accommodation. The hotel requests that the air conditioning be turned off whenever the gym is not in use. So if you want to have cold air during your work out, you may need to turn it on for a while before you start. Treadmills, ellipticals, weights, and even a leg massage chair are available.

Dili hotel - D'City hotel Gym
D’City Hotel Gym. Basic and outdated, but definitely more than you need.

The inner court that separates the lobby and rooms is slightly outdated with its artificial green turf, but it’s clean. A group of cleaners always work diligently to keep this common area clean, including the hallways and the lobby. Judging by how often I saw the cleaners working, this might be one of the cleanest hotels in Dili, East Timor!

Dili hotel - D'City hotel inner courtyard
The Inner Courtyard of D’City Hotel

Breakfast

The biggest selling point for this Dili hotel is their amazingly plentiful continental breakfast. It’s included in the room service during your stay. The breakfast is offered daily from 7 – 10am, and it ranges from the western style breakfast (milk and cereal, bread and toast, and jam) to the eastern and Indonesian style (nasi goreng, fried hot dogs with french fries and soto ayam). The Hotel has an espresso machine that can make single or double shots for your morning misto – milk aside. Plentiful fresh fruit, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, and juices are available for those with healthier lifestyle.

The chef did a really good job in preparing the breakfast, which varied from day-to-day.

Although bottled water (and Bir Bintang) are available for sale in the Hotel Lobby, the breakfast parlor offers a water refill station, which you can use to fill your own water bottle and save money.

Dili hotel - breakfast room
The Breakfast Room.
Dili hotel - breakfast food
Typical morning breakfast options at the D’Hotel

Our Experience with this Dili Hotel

I agree with the majority of great reviews from past guests who stayed in this Dili Hotel. Our stay was very comfortable, and the spacious inner court helps to buffer the noise, if any, from other guests coming in and out their rooms.

The staff here was extremely helpful and loved to practice their English as much as they can with the people staying here, although Mom and I communicated with them in Indonesian.

My only complaint actually came from the neighboring Dili Cathedral. They organized a church function that included a loud megaphone with “Ave Maria: the Lourdes theme” on repeat. It played about ten times in one hour, and it was way past 11:30 on a Tuesday night when it finally stopped. This is not the hotel’s fault, of course, but know that it can happen.

But again, you will find many pleasant surprises in your East Timor travel. For more, read our post on East Timor Tourism – 11 Things to Know. Staying in a great Dili hotel like D’City Hotel made out stay even better.

Miscellaneous notes

  • Cleanliness. All the D’Hotel room pictures I found online are amazingly inviting. And no kidding – this hotel is possibly one of the most economical Dili hotels you can find! Throughout the day, you will see a few teenage girls in uniform work full-time to clean pretty much everything in the hotel.
  • Pet Friendly. Although not many hotel guests had pets, D’City Hotel is pet-friendly, so any of your furry (or feathered) friends can also stay with you! They do charge an additional price for them, but at least the option is there! Contact the hotel staff prior to your visit to clarify.
  • Wi-Fi. D’City Hotel offers free Wi-Fi, which is an essential tool to keep you connected if you don’t have an International Data Plan for your phone. Unfortunately it has a very limited range – the signal worked really well in our room, but it didn’t reach the main lobby or the breakfast room.
  • Free Parking. This will only apply to a very limited number of guests who drive a car while doing their East Timor travel, but it is worth knowing that this Dili hotel offers free parking. It’s located in front of the hotel.

Information at a glance

D’City Hotel
Rua dos Martires da Patria
Bebora, Dili, Timor-Leste
Phone. +670 332 2653

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D'City Hotel, Dili, East Timor Dili hotel


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Halef

Halef moved from Indonesia to the US nearly two decades ago to go to college here. He hasn't looked back. He's been to over forty countries and doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon. He's a Landscape Architect in Atlanta, GA.

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