It was love at first sight when I first set eyes on the Hotel Majapahit, Surabaya in East Java. This glorious colonial hotel has been catering to luxury-end guests since it opened its doors in 1910. Stories about the hotel abound. World acclaimed novelists, playwrights and actors, as well as royalty, were all intrigued by Java around the turn of the century as, for them, it represented the exotic East. If you take one of the daily hotel tours, you can hear some of the famous anecdotes and secrets of this hotel and learn more about its interesting architecture and history.
History and Fame
When it opened, the Hotel Majapahit was one of the most luxurious hotels in the region. Some of the notable people who have stayed at the hotel include Charlie Chaplin, Joseph Conrad and Crown Prince Leopold II, to name a few.
Ask the staff to explain the story behind the famous oil painting in the lobby. Briefly, it depicts the Indonesian flag flying proudly from the top of the hotel at the time of the defeat of the Dutch – a significant turning point in Indonesia’s history. Many heads of state come to this hotel just to have their photo taken next to the painting!
I stayed in the Heritage Suite – it was utterly divine and well worth the upgrade. Just do it!! It has, I swear, the most comfortable bed in the world. I am still dreaming about those pillows. And the taps, well they have gold-plated taps in every room, so the Heritage Suite was no exception.
Gardens and Massage
The expansive grounds and gardens are beautifully manicured, and there are numerous elegant park benches which tempt you to take time out and relax. In the evening, the lighting is magical, and sauntering down the long halls and foyers conveys a sense of grandness and nostalgia.
A visit to the spa can have you melting away with a one-hour luxurious traditional massage for the very reasonable price of USD28, or try a 3-hour package. Into fitness? In keeping with the 5-star standard of the hotel, the gym has state-of-the-art equipment, and there is a huge pool suited to lap swimming.
Dining in Sarkies Restaurant is a truly memorable experience. It features fine Chinese dining plus a full international menu and a variety of local dishes. The bar, appropriately, has a 1920’s feel, so try one of their many fancy cocktails and soak in the vibe.
Breakfast for Kings
The next thing to look forward to is the best-kept secret of this hotel. It’s one of the best breakfasts around! It includes an excellent selection of cheeses, a wide variety of bread and home-made jams, an enormous array of pastries, both western and Asian hot breakfast choices plus salad, fruits, cereal, sushi, dim sum and more. It’s served in the executive room located on the rooftop. How fabulous!
At the end of the day, the experience you have travelling is all about the people. You will find the service provided by the staff, from the front desk staff to the concierge, is outstanding. Their expertise and knowledge will help you plan your tour excursions both in and out of town.
Get a sense of a bygone grand era, soak in Javanese history and experience the beauty of Indonesia. You can do all this and more in this special, romantic hotel.
Story by Stephanie Brookes
Location: Surabaya is located in East Java, Indonesia – a vibrant city that combines modern skyscrapers with historical buildings from its Dutch colonial past.
Rates: Starts from USD68
Stephanie Brookes is a travel writer and blogger with tales from Indonesia and beyond.
Author – “Indonesia’s Hidden Heritage – Cultural Journeys of Discovery”