Author: Chic Eater
Yogyakarta, a city within its own province of special district of Yogyakarta and borders with the province of Mid Java, is known for its strong traditional culture of Kraton Yogyakarta. Having been rooted deep from 1756, when the sultan palace was founded by Prince Mangkubumi (the first Hamengkubuwono), as the known center of kingdom Ngayogyakarta, Yogyakarta still retains its Kraton tradition as part of the residents’ daily life and heritage.
As Indonesian, born and raised in Bandung of West Java, I feel the urge to travel to other parts of this magnificent and beautiful country. This one occasion in May has provided me with the opportunity to travel beyond my comfort zone to Yogyakarta.
Accomodation by choice during my stay there is Hyatt Regency Yogyakarta, a 5 star hotel at the cultural heart of Java. It is located at the north-western part of the city, with a large garden landscape as part of the resorts. One of the perks of staying there is definitely the scenic view of Mount Merapi and close proximity and convenient access to the once world’s 7 wonders, Borobudur Temple (usually called Candi Borobudur).
As I arrived at the hotel and entered the front gate to the lobby, I got an instant recollection of the arrival at its sister hotel in Bali, Grand Hyatt Bali. What brought me there is the pathway to the lobby with ponds on each side and a gong right at the door to welcome guests. Here, there was a tricycle (or we Indonesian usually call ‘becak’), which is used as main public transportation in the old days, located just a bit further into the pathway.
Truthfully, I was quite surprised with the level of guest services I saw here. This kind of service standard is rather hard to find in hotels in other cities including Bandung and Jakarta, with the exception of Bali. A lady in cultural costume served us with welcome drinks and wet cold towel to refreshen us. Another lady was draping us with a flower necklace around our neck.
Further into the lobby, I saw decorations of stupa in the middle of the pond. This kind of stupa is usually found in Buddhist’s shrine, such as Candi Borobudur. With all these as a prelude to my stay here, I felt overwhelmingly optimistic that my Yogyakarta adventure will be as good as it gets.
After leaving my luggage at the reception, as I got there early, I quickly roamed around the lobby to the breakfast area to refuel myself. The breakfast was served at Kemangi Bistro, a high-ceiling restaurant surrounded with tall windows on one side and furnished with wooden furnitures, serving varieties of dishes for the hotel guests.
The menu served here was ranging from traditional Javanese street food such as jajanan pasar, ketoprak, wedangan, and jamu; local food like gudeg yogya; asian cuisine such as mie hongkong; to western dishes including breads and pastries. I enjoyed the unique varieties of food here, expecially jamu. I tried both kunir asam and gula asam and I savor each one as the taste balance was great.
Another thing I learnt about Kemangi Bistro is that the head chef is a highly health conscious individual, hence the menu here does not use any msg or unhealthy substances. For the ingredients, they tried to use as many organics as possible. And as part of the plan, they were setting up their own hydroponic system (as seen on the picture below) to grow the vegetables to be used in the bistro and aiming to go full throttle in the near future. I applaud their effort in creating a healthier food for the visitors.
Kemangi Bistro also has an outdoor dining area with tree branches as its ceiling. I finally had my breakfast as well as my lunch at this restaurant, and left with a happy tummy on both occasions.
Lava Egg Merapi, the signature dish of Hyatt Regency Yogyakarta, was the creation of Executive Chef Catur Binawan. It was inspired by the 2010 eruption of Mount Merapi. The dish is made up of egg cooked and prepared with unique texture, colour and taste. Different parts of the dish was made to make an impression of Mount Merapi. The crispy part of the egg was made to look like the Merapi eruption. Drizzling down soya sauce is the lava. Red and green chilli symbolize the rock and hot cloud.
Wandering the public area of the hotel, I took some shots to capture the serenity of it, as well as the nature and the strong cultural heritage they adopt as part of the hotel legacy.
This fine looking flowers necklace was the one I mentioned earlier. I put it on the desk in my bedroom and it gave me a nice natural aroma-therapeutic scent throughout the room. I love the attention they put on satisfying the guests.
In a hotel review, the place you retire to after a long day of activities always has special significant value that will undermine all other values. Afterall, you spend one third of your day inside the bedroom. I took quite a few photos at several type of bedrooms that I was allowed to view at the hotel. The bedroom was classy, elegant and comfy.
One of the facilities at the hotel, which is more of a resort thing to me, is the 9-hole golf course, designed by a foreign company based in Hawaii. Hotel guests can make a booking to use the golf course during their stay there. I spent some time at the course playing a putting game with my trip companions. We could also grab some snacks at Bogey’s teras by the side of the course if you got famished. It’s one of the amenities and benefits for golf member..
For you who love to take a dip in the pool or if you came here with kids, I”m sure the pool would make a great activities that you can enjoy. As my schedule of my Yogyakarta trip was a bit packed, I didn’t get a chance to enjoy the plunge to this lovely pool circled with rocks and trees of nature.
Since I came on the weekend, I also got the opportunity to experience Ramayana Night Market, which is only available on Saturday evening. The restaurant, Kemangi Bistro, was featuring this Ramayana ballet performance presented by local artists and dancers. For the dinner, I was presented a wide variety of Indonesian favorites buffet, so we can enjoy our dinner while watching the traditional cultural performance of Ramayana. At just IDR 165,000, this night market was truly a steal.
I always love learning to cook, so when I heard about a cooking class here at the hotel, I decided to join. The cooking class was priced at IDR 350,000/person. Here you can learn the culinary secrets of Indonesian cooking by being mentored by the restaurant’s chef. It’s a hands on cooking experience starting from journey to the local market and picking up fresh ingredients, to preparing the restaurant’s, another signature dish, Ikan Kuah Kemangi. I did learn something from this class. The soup dish I prepared was making me proud. Not trying to pat myself on the back, but the Ikan Kuah Kemangi that I prepared by my own hands was tasty and looked awesome. Check out the photo below. Not a bad presentation, eh? 🙂 Turns out I can cook LOL.
The last activity here that I would like to share is the Spa. Having packages with rates from IDR 329,000/person to IDR 1,300,000/couple for Rama & Shinta package that includes majestic treatment to make every couple feel like a king and queen for a day, they offer massage choices for everyone. The spa I had was definitely rejuvenating.
With such great services and activities choices at the hotel, I would say that the rates they offer for a one night stay here is truly a bargain. Hyatt Regency is a great hotel and resorts in the middle of Java island. I would recommend it any day and I hope I had the opportunity to visit it again.
Hyatt Regency Yogyakarta
Jalan Palagan Tentara Pelajar
Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 55581
Ph. +62 274 86 9123