Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
A long historical background of places is always interesting to Mumun and me. Hotels or restaurants that occupy well-reserved old buildings, talk shows on the becoming of Indonesia, and walking tours to historical places often attract us more than those of modern and shiny ones. I guess we’re kind of old souls that way. That is also why we were excited when an offer to stay at The Sidji Hotel Pekalongan came our way. It’s another interesting hotel with a touch of traditional culture and history.
Early in 1900s, Hoo Tong Koey, a Pekalongan-born Chinese and a successful businessman and art aficionado, was chosen as Liutenant der Chinezen or Chinese Liutenant by the Dutch. In 1918, he and his wife had a house built, which was later occupied with their six children a few generations after that.
Now the house has become the iconic part of The Sidji Hotel. It’s got a beautiful oldies façade, with some vintage items on the porch and inside, like the chairs, lamps, windows, and indecisive bookshelf-sofa. A few meeting rooms behind the reception area used to be the family’s bedrooms. That’s where we had our indigo batik discussion with Pak Zahir .
I totally dig this house. It’s so well preserved, it might have been through some renovations, but I can still feel the oldies ambiance.
The Sidji Hotel has a total of 79 rooms, if I’m not mistaken. Deluxe Balcony, Deluxe Double or Twin, Classic Double or Twin, and The Sidji Suites. The interior style is pretty evergreen and warm with the brownish furniture. Different in sizes and some facilities, all are given some batik touch, on the bed runner, cushion wrap, and wall decoration. Each room has a view to the center courtyard, but only the Deluxe Balcony has balcony, and a very spacious one.
With such heat and humidity of Pekalongan, I cursed myself for not packing in my swimsuit. The swimming pool looked tempting and there was some time we could spare for a dip or two. So instead, I just joined the crowd munching the good food at the Nostalgia Restaurant and Pontjol Café, both are beside the pool.
All of the food at the restaurant that we had were yummy, and it was a consensus that the mi goreng tektek (a kind of fried noodles) was the best one. We also tried the fried taro, poffertjes, and many more. I was too busy munching, I forgot to take pictures of any of the food. But you can see some of them at Chika’s Instagram here. And the coffee drinkers seemed to be happy with the menu at Pontjol Café. The one menu I saw they ordered again and again was the affogato.
The Sidji Hotel is located less than 2 km from Pekalongan’s train station, 300 meters from Pekalongan’s city square (alun-alun), and about 900 meters from one of the city’s batik centers, Kauman. These short distances easily make The Sidji Hotel a strategic place to stay.
The city’s laid-back atmosphere is walkable (especially on the main streets where there are decent sidewalks), though the heat and humidity might stop you from walking and ride a becak (trishaw) instead. A few becaks are usually parked in front of The Sidji Hotel, ready at your service. Mind you, the becaks in Pekalongan, at least from my experience, fear no law. Sometimes they go contraflow on a one-way street!
If your time is limited and you need to do some more shopping, you can always shop at the batik shop by the hotel’s parking lot. It’s a good place for a quick souvenirs shopping.
Weekend and weekday rates are the same, starting from IDR525,000 (Classic) to IDR1,500,000 (Suite) including breakfast for two. A good sign for a weekend getaway to an off the beaten path destination.
A fairly great price for a comfortable hotel in Pekalongan, I say!
To find out more of what we think of the hotel, check out the The Sidji Hotel review video, Indohoy style, on our YouTube channel.