Yogyakarta, Indonesia – Tired from the flight from Bandung, our bus arrived in the lobby of Royal Ambarrukmo Hotel just a few hours after sunset. It was a wonderful delight to be welcomed with hot towels, flower bracelets, cold red drink, and warm greetings. A taste of the royal treatment that this historical hotel provides.
Royal Ambarrukmo Deluxe Room
With the very early call time the next morning for Borobudur, we were in a hurry to reach our room and rest. Dimly lit and dominated by warm tones and wooden accents, it was definitely what I needed to relax.
We were also welcomed with a sweet surprise. A plateful of sweets – vanilla cookies, red velvet crumble and creme brulee – that is said to be the “perfect optimization of the legendary hotel, where modernity keeps up with the Royal tradition”.
The plush and soft bed was in pristine white. And the pillow hoarder in me was ecstatic with the sight of four fluffy pillows on the said bed. Wooden accents were also present in the bathroom, with the shower wall fully made of glass.
The highlight of the room was indeed the balcony facing the lighted pool, Royal garden, and the city. A perfect nook to relax the night away.
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- Flat screen TV
- safety deposit box
- air conditioning
- seating area
- free toiletries
- free WI-Fi
The Royal Restaurant
Finally got to dine in their buffet at our last breakfast in Yogyakarta. The food selection is pretty diverse, but still showcasing the best foods Indonesia has to offer. They even have Jamu, a local specialty drink in Java, which Febrian pointed out.
What I also liked were how the food was placed. There were a different station for each food group and they weren’t cramped with each other. Refills were also quick.
The Royal Ambarrukmo Tour
Our stay included a guided tour around the legendary Ambarrukmo, which started in the floor to ceiling relief in the hotel’s lobby.
Titled “Untung Rugi Di Lereng Merapi” or The Good Life and Bad Times at Merapi Volcano, the sculpture showcases how the lives of Indonesians living near Merapi Volcano looked like. The gigantic relief took 6 months to make and is made from Andecit rock and poured cement.
Adorning the walls of the 8th floor is the colorful masterpiece by the team of J. Soedhiono and Nyoman Gunarsa. The ceramic tiles depict “The Life of Yogyakarta Society“.
After admiring the view of Mt. Merapi and the hotel grounds from the 7th floor, we viewed another ceramic tile mosaic creation by the latter mentioned artists. This time, “The Life of Central Java Society” is put on display. But this work has more textures and colors than the previous artwork.
Moving on towards the Royal Garden, we checked out the bronze sculptures ordered by President Soekarno himself. The original human and animal sized bronze sculptures were all made by Keluarga Artja, founded by Edhi Sunarso.
What got our attention is the octagon shaped building in the middle of a pond. Called as the Floating Hut (Bale Kambang), our guide told us that it was formerly used by the King and the Royal family for meditation and leisure.
We also passed by what used to be the Royal Dining Room, which was also used for shadow puppet show, sacred dance, and other ceremonies.
What is now the Nurkadhatyan Ritual Spa was also once the west part long house used by the princesses, female royal relatives, and honorary guests. Inside the spa, one can find an interesting object. A bathtub made purely of volcanic stone, from the sacred Merapi itself. Soaking in this tub will surely give you a royal experience!
Another thing to note inside is a “seat” for females, made for the rejuvenation of our lady parts.
Patehan – Royal High Tea Ceremony
We ended the tour inside Pendopo Agung, a heritage site, with its ceiling captivating me for a few minutes. The 36 pillars decorated in royal carving and Arabic calligraphy adorn the halls of what used to be a meeting venue of Indonesian royalty.
Soon enough, a procession of “royal servants” clad in traditional clothes, took center stage. Sitting on the carpeted floor with our table laden with Javanese traditional desserts, we were each served their special tea before being left to enjoy the rest of our afternoon.
Royal Ambarrukmo Yogyakarta is not just your ordinary luxury accommodation. It is where you can have a glimpse and experience Jogjakarta’s royal and historical past while having all the modern comforts at your fingertips.
Royal Ambarrukmo Quick Guide
Rating: 5 stars
# of rooms: 247 rooms and suites
Type of rooms: Deluxe, Premiere, Junior Suite, Executive Suite, Ambarrukmo Suite
Location: 7 km from International Airport; beside shopping mall; centrally located in the downtown area
Features: 2 restaurants, fitness center, outdoor pool, children’s pool, bar/lounge, poolside bar, children’s club, business center, concierge, free wifi, playground, spa services
Website: Royal Ambarrukmo Yogyakarta
Places of interest & Activities nearby: Candi Borobudur, batik making, cycling and Andong tour, Ratu Boko
Disclosure: We stayed in Royal Ambarrukmo as guests of the Ministry of Tourism of Indonesia for the Trip of Wonders 2016. However, all opinions, comments, and biases are still my own.
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