Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
I opened my eyes and glanced at the wide window. The rain was pouring. Shucks. Not that I’m not thankful for the substance that helps plants grow, but I had planned to go out and play in the city that afternoon. I was thinking whether I should just continue my nap or find another way out. I wanted to go by angkot but it would be a hassle in that kind of rain, because I’d have to walk some distance to wait for one. So I had Emma, the friendly receptionist, call a cab for me. Gardenia Resort and Spa is located in the outskirts of Pontianak, the capital city of West Kalimantan. It’s in Kubu Raya regency, to be exact. Very close from the airport but very far from downtown.
When traveling, I usually choose an accommodation close to where the actions are, or at least somewhere with an easy access of public transportation. But contest winners can’t be choosers. My stay at Gardenia happened because Mumun won a free 1-night stay in a quiz held at the launch party of Raja Kamar, but ironically Mumun couldn’t come along because she was on a trip to Derawan that she also won from the Indonesia Travellers contest. Oh wow, was she on a roll! And that meant I had to travel to Pontianak alone.
Honestly I’ve never really enjoyed traveling alone. Well, not so much. I like having someone familiar to explore new places and make silly jokes and silly pictures together, discuss about the new things that we see. So this time, I was thankful to meet a very nice and helpful hotel staff like Emma. She recommended me some food stalls downtown, made sure the cab was ready, and hung out with me after she got off work. Other staff at Gardenia Hotel & Spa was also nice and helpful.
The morning after, I walked around the resort while waiting for the swimming area to open. Most of the exterior of the bungalows and lined rooms was of wood. Green gardens are everywhere, living up to the resort’s name. I like it when hotels are telling the truth through their names!
My room was the Premier Room (also called Premier Villa) with a king size bed. Yeah, I was a king for having that big bed all to myself! (err..why does that sound kinda sad?) With that kind of bed, there was still a lot of space left, I could even cartwheel if I wanted to. The furniture was all standard and modern, something that reminds me of the early 2000s, but I like how they at least try to stick to the concept by having wooden furniture in the middle of a “garden resort”. And they’ve got what I’ve always wanted: a wooden stairs towel rack!
Lined up in long houses, almost like a barrack, a Premier Room has the lowest room rate, now about IDR 575,000 per night including breakfast.
There seemed to be only a few rooms that were occupied, judging from the number of people walking around the resort. It might not be so good for business, but it was good for me ‘cos I could take any picture I wanted. The fancier and single bungalows were more at the back. Those little stilt houses were so cute and I bet children would love to play house in them. There were also some gazebos for people to just hang and a small pond with a picnic table beside it. I think this could be a good accommodation for family trips.
The restaurant is located in the middle of the garden. It’s walled with glass doors and windows with, of course, wooden frames. It’s nice to eat while looking out to the garden. It gives a bit of alfresco feeling, but you’re still dry when it’s raining. As for the food, they provided mostly Asian food along with a bunch of fruits, porridge and cakes.
I’ve seen the resort, but I didn’t try the spa. I probably should have or at least check out what the spa room is like. Darn. Ideas come too late sometimes.
My room’s window looked to a mini amusement park. The staff that delivered me my nasi goreng pointed at it when I asked him the location of the swimming pool. Umm, what?
So apparently, the Gardenia Resort and the Borneo Rain Forest that I passed by before entering the resort are under the same ownership. The Borneo Rain Forest has a water park with slides and everything, as well as carousel and other kiddy rides.
The pool was clean and swam with a 2-dimentional circus seal underwater. But I had to look for a staff to open the gate even though it was past the official operation time to open. The park looked dead that morning with only me and a few cleaning staff around. But who knows, children and families might fill up the air with their laughter and fights over a duck floatie. But that’s something I never found out because I checked out early to catch my shuttle to Singkawang.
Overall, I find Gardenia Resort and Spa an alright accommodation. It would be a good one if it’s located closer to the city or has easier public transportation access. But if you don’t mind taking cabs with no meter or if you rent a car, then the location shouldn’t be a problem. It’s absolutely great if you’re catching early flights because it only takes 10 minutes from the hotel to Pontianak’s Supadio Airport.
I traveled to Pontianak in November 2012. A stay at Gardenia Resort and Spa included a free pick up to the airport, and a cab ride to downtown cost IDR 80,000 one way. Contact them directly to check if the facility remains the same.Gardenia Resort & Spa Jl. Ahmad Yani II, Pontianak 78391, West Kalimantan, Indonesia Phone: + 62 561 672 6446, +62 561 706 6446 Fax: +62 561 672 6436 Email Reservation: email@example.com FB Gardenia Pontianak