Visiting Solo / Surakarta for a vacation felt slightly strange. I was born in Boyolali, more or less 30 minutes away from Solo, and grew up in Jakarta. So although I have never lived in Solo I spent a lot of my childhood time in the city. In a sense, Solo is also home for me.
A few weeks ago I was invited by the Royal Surakarta Heritage Hotel to visit the city. I was strangely excited. For the first time in my life I would be taking a holiday in my home city and I wasn’t really too sure what to expect (after all, you often think you’ve seen and done everything in your hometown).
We arrived in Solo on a very busy day. Entering from a small alley to the main road Slamet Riyadi instantly brought back a lot of memories. There was a parade on the main road and the sidewalks were packed with people. They were waiting for a parade / carnaval. As we drove slowly along the road I caught my first glimpse of the hotel.
The Royal Surakarta Heritage is a boutique hotel. It’s situated in the heart of the city and surrounded by government buildings and the old train line. The building is large and imposing, which is probably not so surprising given that it used to be a bank.
From the point of view of location, the Hotel couldn’t be better placed. It is close to several of the cities landmarks. For example, Vastenburg fort, Royal Palaces of Mangkunegaran and Kasunanan, Klewer market, Ngarsopuro market and some beautiful minimalist buildings that are famous for photo-shoots, are all just around the corner.
Btw, the night market Ngarsopuro that is held every Saturday night is also worth checking out. The food is just something that you have to try. Oh, and buying souvenirs… Too bad my visit was not on the weekend.
My first impression of the hotel was really special. The lobby looks really amazing. They have themed the hotel around batik and local arts. There are wayang puppets in the lobby and intricate batiks. The color scheme is brown and copper, it looks refined and elegant.
The Royal Surakarta Heritage is a part of MGallery – Accor hotels. It’s a kind of guarantee you are going to have a memorable stay, and I did. I can’t get the beautiful decoration on the ground floor out of my mind. It felt like I was staying in a gallery. I would often take a quick peek to a corner or other corridor to see what art piece or installation is hanging there.
I stayed for three nights in the hotel. For the first night I stayed in the executive room (the second and third nights were in the deluxe room). Both rooms were very spacious room and since this hotel is 5 star it also had great amenities (there is a nice outside pool, a gym and a spa).
The executive rooms had a living area and a bedroom. While the living / working area is a bit manly and minimalist, which is kind of typical for Accor. The bed area was very pretty and homey.
One of my personal highlights was how the hotel embraces the Batik pattern almost everywhere. You can find it on the pillows, lamp covers, bed rest and tissue boxes. That might sound like a lot of batik, but I can promise you it wasn’t. It felt warm and inviting.
The Royal Surakarta Heritage is a type of hotel that provided a lot of choices for breakfast. It offers a really large buffet. I tried some of the dishes and I thought it was all tasty. Though there was no chance that I could try all of the food on offer.
As an aside, I love the way the crew at the restaurant dress-up and the traditional food station. The traditional food station provides various kinds of porridge, not only the common rice porridge, but also black rice porridge, green bean porridge and some more.
In addition to the traditional food, you can also get traditional herbal drinks. It reminded me of staying at my grandmothers. The food is all nicely presented. Besides the Indonesian dishes, you can also get international food like salad, a set of English breakfast, pastry, pancake and waffles. There are also the sweet and dessert things (another my favourite stations).
With so many decorations that carry the Javanese art and culture, plus the service of the hotel crew, this hotel feels authentically Solo and felt very much like home to me. Given the convenient location, it’s also ideal for people who are looking to explore Solo for a few days (yes, there are a lot of fun things you can do around Solo and I will be sharing a few ideas about things to do around the city in future posts).
I was invited (August 18-20, 2015) to the Royal Surakarta Heritage as a guest, however the views expressed in this article is, as always, my own opinion.
If you are interested in booking accommodation at the Royal Surakarta Heritage Hotel with a discount you can book through Agoda.