Yogyakarta is a special destination.
As the cultural capital of Java and the seat of Javanese royalty, the city functions as a custodian to ancient cultural knowledge – from dances that tell ancient epic battles to the slow craft of batik-making. It’s also home to Borobudur and Prambanan, two of the most important UNESCO heritage sites in Southeast Asia.
No other hotel perhaps showcases this better than Amanjiwo, a suite-only hotel with a breathtaking view of Borobudur nestled in the forested distance.
Here, Javanese culture takes centre stage. The property does not only take its cues from Javanese architectural elements but imbues the entire experience with a distinct Javanese flavour.
Getting to Amanjiwo
Flights to Yogyakarta aren’t as plentiful as we’d like, and we’d highly recommend taking the only direct flight in and out of Changi Airport as much as possible – even if that means it’s Air Asia.
The alternative – taking connecting flights from Singapore to Jakarta and on to Yogyakarta – is far too much of a headache. The domestic leg has a high propensity of being cancelled (we know this firsthand) and being stranded in Jakarta Airport isn’t exactly Disneyland.
Once you’re in Yogyakarta International Airport though, the journey will be smooth. The airport is new, and was initially built to promote tourism in the region, before the pandemic hit. There’s an airport train that will take travellers to the city centre in 40 minutes but those staying at Amanjiwo will be picked up by a perfectly comfortable car for a ride that lasts about 1.5 hours.
The ride will take you through the heart of Java and the car will meander through rice fields and charming small communes. Its iconic stupa, modelled after the architecture of Borobudur, will come into view on the left.
The property itself is quietly majestic and it feels almost as though it’s been there for an eternity. To check in, walk up its stone steps and a cavernous pavilion will envelope you with a respectful silence.
Once there, admire the view of Borobudur in the distance as Amanjiwo sits atop a hill that overlooks cascading forestlands.
The silence here is contemplative and music comes only from the gentle lull of a small gamelan ensemble of no more than two or three players.
The rooms at Amanjiwo
The suites at Amanjiwo are generously sized and each comes with a courtyard and a cushioned gazebo from which you can enjoy breakfast. The 243 square metre garden suite offers plenty of space to lounge in privacy and a plush four-pillar king-sized bed for the most restful sleep anyone could ask for.
Decor comes by way of marble and wood accents and art within the rooms include depictions of wayang kulit – or shadow puppets. Outdoors and just beyond the bathroom, a sunken stone tub awaits. Staff are more than happy to draw the bath for you, and will arrive with candles on hand to set it up.
The suite is so comfortable, so massive in all its totality that it’s entirely possible to not leave it during your stay. Go ahead and order breakfast to be sent to you. We thoroughly enjoyed the chicken congee as well as the nasi goreng – two classic Indonesian breakfast one must have when anywhere in the archipelago. Here, it arrives with a side of sambal (not too spicy, we assure you) and pickles which the staff assemble impeccably under the gazebo.
In fact, it is the interaction with the staff that makes a stay at Amanjiwo so special. The hotel’s crew of invisible hands are incredibly attentive and go above and beyond to ensure that guests have a comfortable and enjoyable stay.
Amanjiwo is the sort of hotel you head to if you’re in need of peace and quiet. It may be a long drive from the airport but that also means you will be nestled deep in the Javanese heartland where the gentle sounds of the gamelan and birdsong await. We think a three night stay here would be more than enough to find your centre of gravity.
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore.