Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
On my last trip to Solo city, I had a packed itinerary organized by the host, Solo’s tourism board. Most of the activities were within the city, so it was a blessing that we were staying at The Royal Surakarta Heritage hotel that has a strategic location. So when my friend Cumi and I decided to extend our vacation while the other bloggers went back home, I was happy that they complemented us with extra 2-night stay. It is a really nice hotel!
We were finished with our first day excursions and arrived at The Royal Surakarta Heritage hotel at 5 pm and I was surprised with what I saw. A man in a peculiar uniform opened the door for us. It was a striking blue top with details that reminded me of an old military troops or a marching band uniform. He was holding a spear in one hand. Okay, definitely a soldier, not a band player, but I had to ask for sure.
“Yes, I am a soldier,” said the man with a friendly smile. “I’m assigned by the Keraton (palace) to guard here, so here I am.”
Later I found out that he is an abdi dalem, which is a keraton servant who gets really small wage but their family’s basic needs are all covered including school tuition for the kids. And they’re allowed to take other jobs for extra income, and that’s what this man is doing.
“I really like your uniform,” I said.
“I am guarding the door every other day, and you’ll see me in three different uniforms within a week,” he added. Awesome! And the day after the next, I was eager to see what uniform he was wearing!
The doorman’s uniform wasn’t the only thing traditional at The Royal Surakarta Heritage hotel. As soon as I walked into the lobby, I noticed some traditional Javanese touch on the walls, at the receptionist counter, even on the ceiling and the furniture. And it wasn’t just traditional, it all felt very royal, which lived up to the hotel’s name. I wowed at the wooden carving behind the receptionists, and sat comfortably on one of the giant chairs when waiting to check in.
The fancy and traditional touch were almost everywhere. In the lobby, the dining room, the the bedrooms, even the hallways. You may or may not expect it from outside, because it has a detailed façade that resembles batik motif in a glance, but the building is just like a typical modern bricks and mortar.
Though I am more of a simplicity kinda gal when it comes to a daily living arrangement, I totally appreciate traditional touch for hotels where I stay. It’s nice to be reminded of where I am at the moment, by looking at the details in the corners.
I stayed at a Superior room with 2 single beds. With 25-29 m2 area, the room was spacious enough for double occupancy. The furniture and decoration was mostly wood and batik-esque elements, so it gave a warm and natural feel although combined with mirrors and modern facilities like the flat TV and the western bathroom.
The bed was cozy, I dreaded our itineraries that started as early as 7 am. Toiletries was complete, though somehow my room was missing a hairdryer in the socket. However, the staff quickly delivered one to me after I asked for it, so a bad hair day I did not have. Thumbs up!
A swimming pool with a bar is available next to the gym and spa. Swimming pool and gym are complementary facilities, while the spa offers services for extra fee. I didn’t try the spa nor the gym, but I had a chance to swim a little bit. It was a rainy and quite windy day, the water felt really cold because it’s semi open-aired.
Don’t miss the breakfast. They give quite an array of food, from continental to Javanese and in general Indonesian food. Again, the dining area is presented with some Javanese elements, as is some of the food. I find it charming and I’d totally give it an A for A-ffort.
As I’ve hinted before, The Royal Surakarta Heritage hotel is located near a lot of tourist attractions within the city. Pasar Gede (Gede traditional market), Benteng Vastenburg (the gate of Vastenburg Fort), Pasar Triwindu (antique market Triwindu) and Keraton Surakarta (one of the two palaces) are less than 1 km away from the hotel, while Keraton Mangkunegaran (the other palace) is only 1,3 km away.
Solo has a lot of one-way streets, which may make distances further than it actually is if you’re taking a car or motorbike. But the streets and sidewalks are convenient enough for you to walk to places. This is a luxury that many other cities in Indonesia would envy, seriously.
If you’re up for some biking around, just request for a bike tour.
Going to/from the Adi Sumarmo airport, I recommend you take a taxi, only about half an hour ride away.
All in all, I liked staying at The Royal Surakarta Heritage hotel. It incorporates Javanese traditional elements nicely in the modern establishment, has a good location, services and comfy beds. I mean, what else do you need from a hotel, right?
Jl. Slamet Riyadi 6, Solo 57111, Indonesia
Website: click here
And click here for map
Prices start from about IDR500,000 / night.
Note: My stay at The Royal Surakarta Heritage was all paid-for, but the opinions are my own.