Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by viravira on 4 September 2013 • Destination
One more item from my hotels-to-sleep-in list is crossed off successfully. On our brief honeymoon, Diyan and I decided to splurge and book a room at Hotel Tugu Malang. We don’t usually go for an accommodation more than $100 / a night, but there are experiences worth splashing out. A unique, artistic and strategically located accommodation is one of them. Hence, 2 nights at Hotel Tugu Malang 🙂
As much as we splurged, the most that we could afford was the Executive Suite, the second cheapest room in the hotel.. LOL. I didn’t even dare to ask the rate for Apsara Residence and Raden Saleh Suite, the only types of room whose rates were only revealed upon request.
Executive Suite was about IDR 1,250,000 / night. The design of all Executive rooms might not be 100% identical, as ours looks different from the one displayed in their website.
Our room door opened to a foier that lead straight to a sitting area. A blue sofa paired with little round tables and a few chairs, all wooden, equipped the area along with a flat TV set. The light was dimmed, giving warmth and coziness to the ambience. We were ooh-ah-ing already, and then delighted with the welcome card and flower they put on our bed. It translated to ‘welcome Mr. Diyan Surya and Mrs. Saphira Tanka’. How sweet ^.^
The bedroom area was equipped with a king/queen size bed with Javanese styled headboard, bedside tables and a dressing table. Bright red walls surrounded us, as if going against the usual cool and neutral color rules for bedroom. It’s not a color I would use for my bedroom, but I wasn’t really surprised knowing Hotel Tugu Malang is designed in Chinese Babah Peranakan (mixed culture of Chinese migrants in Java and the native Javanese) style. Vibrant colors are often applied in “peranakan” style, as I’ve observed from several buildings and things.
The bathroom was partly tiled with blue ceramics, which I found really cute. As Malang’s weather is cooler than Jakarta, the hot water shower came really useful to us. The toiletries come in cute little earthenware bottles and in corrugated packages. A hairdryer was provided, as if they knew I was having bad hair days. And the laundry hamper was made of rattans. I felt like replacing my plastic one at home, but this one would be too big to hide in my bag. LOL. Oh, I love it when hotels put effort in design and the little things like that ^.^
We didn’t think Hotel Tugu Malang occupied an area as big as it actually does. It has a swimming pool, several restaurants, a wine shop, a bakery, meeting rooms, spa, etc. We wanted to check out all of them, but apparently spending 2 nights didn’t give us enough time to do so as we also had other activities around town (including taking a siesta on the comfy bed and sofa).
Almost all of our Indonesian friends commented about how spooky Hotel Tugu Malang is, and told us to check out the famous painting of a woman in white with really long black hair. I’ve seen the photo of the painting, and as an Asian kid who grew up being spooked with fake ghosts by my sister, I don’t want to look at the painting alone. No, thank you. So I dragged Diyan to find that painting ‘cos it’s just too epic to pass. Unfortunately, the painting was hanged in a restaurant that closed at 10 pm and we were looking for it an hour too late, on our last night there. Aww, shucks.
Some of the statues with fierce faces in the corridors kind of scared me with the dramatic Rembrandt light shining on them. And some statues were like playing peek-a-boo with you among the plants in the garden. I wonder how they would appear in daylight.
The most amazing spot for me was the “Endless Love Avenue To The Sahara” at the back part of the hotel. I’m not sure what it means, but there was this narrow purplish-walled hallway with reddish lights, with the replica of the famous “The Kiss” painting by Gustav Klimt. It looked very poetic. You know how the heavenly voice would sound on a movie when someone is coming closer to the light at the end of the tunnel? That’s how mystical walking toward the painting felt. “haaaaaaaaaaaa……” (in a falsetto mystical tone)
The overall service was good and the staff was friendly. They were helpful from helping us find a rental car (about IDR 500,000 / car / day, including a driver and gas) to packing us a breakfast when we had to leave early for our flight home.
Unfortunately, we had a little trouble checking in at the appointed time. We had to wait for more than an hour until our booked room was ready. Something I didn’t expect from a luxurious boutique hotel. I had to raise my voice a little until we could finally get a key!
On the contrary, the afternoon snack time was a real nice treat. They provided Indonesian traditional finger food, like risoles (fried dumpling) and putu ayu (mainly made of wheat flour and pandanus flavor with coconut shreds on top), as well as ginger tea and some Javanese herbal drink. The snack time goes on daily between 4 to 6 pm (if I’m not mistaken) on the mezzanine of the 2nd floor. You can enjoy the delicacies on the balcony, overlooking the Tugu monument across the hotel.
When we decided to book a room at Hotel Tugu Malang, we didn’t realize it was actually located across the Tugu (tugu means monument, and the Tugu Monument is an important historical landmark of Malang city). Well, d’oh! Hahaha.. So it was like a super bonus, a bag of gold that added 3 more lives to us. Why? Because the Tugu area is the center of the city and there are some interesting attractions located near the Tugu. For example, the Inggil Resto that serves yummy Javanese dishes, and a new museum called Museum Tempo Doeloe that tells the history of Malang and Indonesia in general. Both of these places were just a walking distance from Tugu Hotel.
In the morning, especially in the weekend, you’ll see people hanging around the Tugu Monument. Diyan went jogging with his brand new running shoes around the monument, and I just sat at the park bench, doing some sketches.
Overall, I would totally recommend Hotel Tugu Malang to anyone who appreciates arts and some traditional touch. It was quite draining our wallets, but we believe it’s okay to break the bank for an exceptional experience once in a while. Now that honeymoon’s over (or will it ever?), we’re back to saving up pennies in our piggybank for next travels! Toadily!
Upon my criticism of the not so smooth check-in at the hotel, we received an apology e-mail from Tugu Hotel’s management. Apparently they read this post and wanted to make sure that the incident will not happen again. Now, THAT’S the kind of service of a luxury hotel! We really appreciate their gesture on that 🙂Hotel Tugu Malang