A bit of old world charm at Yogyakarta
Yogyakarta on the Indonesian island of Java is often called locally as Jogja or Jogjakarta. It is known for its traditional arts and cultural heritage. Hence it was quite apt for us to have stayed in a hotel known for its heritage itself. The Phoenix was such a hotel.
The original building was built in 1918 as a private residence of a trading company owner. At a time of recession in 1930s this building was auctioned. The new owner rented it out to a Dutchman who converted it into a pensioner’s hotel by the name of “Splendid”. From their the journey of almost a century has brought the hotel to its present day avatar.
This hotel has got a very distinct charm. It is certainly not of those big hotel types, but it has got a unique appeal that takes slightly back into history. It is historical in its appearance but modern in its comfort, hence it combines modernity with tradition. Though I stayed two nights at this hotel on our whirlwind tour to Indonesia but in the end, I felt that I got less time to enjoy the hotel. On to our both nights in the hotel, we had long days- first one being a day-long train journey from Bandung to Yogyakarta and next day, tiring trips to Borobudur and Prambanan temples. The Phoenix provided perfect relaxation to our exhausted souls and bodies.
Also read: Magical Sunset at Prambanan Temple
Despite its colonial appearance, hotel didn’t disappoint in its Indonesian hospitality- from traditional welcome to traditional Indonesian drinks with the buffet breakfast. For us, a mix traditional Indonesian with continental was always a preferred choice and we were delighted to get that. Being a heritage property, this hotel also gives some very unique experiences, whether through its signature cocktails or through its vintage car drives around the city to give you some fantastic experience of the city often called as Indonesia’s soul.
Also read: Amazing Ramayana Ballet of Java
Indonesian drinks at the buffet breakfast were simply amazing. This hotel has also been famous for one if its signature drink- “The Gin Sling”. It is a delicious recipe with gin, sweet and sour mix, grenadine syrup and soda on top. It was said to be the only drink available when this hotel was run for pensioners. Originally, the Gin Sling was meant as a woman’s drink, hence the attractive colour. But today, it is definitely enjoyed by all and regulars usually say that without this drink, any visit to The Phoenix Hotel in Yogyakarta is incomplete.
Staff was very warm, courteous and responsive. Not too sure about the locals, but for overseas tourists, it is a hotel worth a stay to get a slice of Indonesian heritage, hospitality and luxury.