Royal Ambarrukmo Hotel | A Luxury Heritage Hotel
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- February 14th, 2017
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Imposing, bright & ornate. This is the Royal Ambarrukmo Hotel, the 21st century re-imagination of Yogyakarta’s timeless sultanate opulence & grace.
Arriving on the eve of Hari Raya, the incantations of Islamic prayers enveloped the royal residence silhouetted in faint darkness. My heart was racing in excitement knowing that some of the finest representations of Javanese history were before me.
However, I had to reserve that feeling the next day when all of it comes basking bright under the Indonesian sky. And what indulgent ways to wait for it than to dig in on its traditional desserts served only for the royalties of Java.
The Royal Ambarrukmo Hotel —- the real royal hotel.
It’s not uncommon to find hotels in Asia that carries the word “royal” in their names. But nothing comes to being a real royal claim than that of Royal Ambarrukmo Hotel.
After all, it stands within the royal residence complex of King Hamengkabuwono VII & continues to host nobles, presidents & foreign dignitaries.
Today, it is a restored space filled with age-old Javanese art & memories but affords its guests the conveniences & aesthetics of modern hotel living.
Living up to its royal traditions, guests are welcomed by a palace guard fondly called the “lombok abang” in his red chili-like costume. He leads everyone into what 5-star accommodation means in the Yogyakartan customs.
Foremost, the lobby sets the mood for luxury. It’s grandiose & filled with ostentatious trappings of heritage art pieces, designer furniture & bright blooms.
The suites at the Royal Ambarrukmo Hotel are nothing short of the word grand. It is lavishly spaced as well as laden with the finest furnishing fit for royalties. Finished in tones of earth & mood lights, its rooms definitely come in sweeping style & comfort.
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While Yogyakarta is home to many exquisite restaurants & bars, Royal Ambarrukmo Hotel is the playground of Indonesia’s rich patrons & international guests. It is a favourite venue for high-profile events like dinner concerts, exhibits & conventions.
Although we had an early call time for sunrise at Borobudur, I checked out its lobby lounge for a quick nightcap. I surely had a fantastic evening over a few rounds of chilled lowballs & faint bossa nova in the background.
With its wonderful array of Indonesian & intercontinental food choices, its restaurant & the newly opened café Punika Deli have become dining destinations in the city too.
The Wonders of Royal Ambarrukmo Hotel
They may be operating as a hotel, but they too are the stewards of some the best-kept heritage pieces of Javanese art, culture & history. All of these housed within the Ambarrukmo complex.
Recognized as a National Heritage Site, the Kedaton Ambarrukmo was the residence of King Hamengkabuwono VII. The 6th king built it in 1857.
Constructed in the traditional Javanese architecture, the residence speaks of its aristocratic touches. It is expansive, ornate & plays with clean symmetrical perspectives.
Also, it is replete with a bathing pool called the Bale Kembang & the Pendopo Agung, a special courtyard for receiving guests as well as where meetings were held.
Today, some parts of the royal residence have been meticulously transformed into a museum & a luxury spa.
The Museum Ambarrukmo is a repository of many ancient Javanese art like the batik, wayang & keris. UNESCO inscribes all of it as Masterpieces of Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Moreover, the Nurkadhatyan or the spa was once the bathhouse reserved for its noble residents & honorary guests. Interestingly, it still keeps a bathtub carved out of volcanic rock.
Artfully imagined & skillfully executed, the hotel keeps precious mosaic walls made by J. Soedhiono & his team of local artists.
On the 1st floor is Kehidupan Masyarakat Jawa Tengah, a representation of their lives in Central Java. Then on the 8th floor is Kehidupan Masyarakat Yogyakarta, a narrative in tiles telling Yogyakarta’s story at the turn of the 20th century.
But if there is one thing the late President Sukarno left in the art scene of Indonesia, it would be creating monumental artworks by its local artists. In fact, the huge bas-relief wall at the lobby of the Royal Ambarrukmo Hotel evidences such.
Sculptured by Harijadi in 1964, this 700×1500 artpiece entitled Untung Rugi Merapi tells about the life of its people on the slopes of Mt. Merapi.
However, one thing that struck me most while in the royal residence was the experience of partaking in the traditional high-tea ceremony. Called “patehan” in Javanese, it demonstrates the grace of serving tea & showcases its royal snacks as it was in the days of its revered kings.
This unique spectacle begins with a procession of the “abdi dalem” or the royal servants in their traditional costume. In addition, only the Royal Ambarrukmo Hotel can perform this ceremony other than the royal palace.
Coined from the word “ambar” meaning the fragrance of jasmine & “rukmo” or regal, the Royal Ambarrukmo Hotel is the embodiment of the finest Javanese hospitality.
And if this royal hotel was the residence of many nobles, it would be good enough for you too.
The Royal Ambarrukmo Hotel
Jalan Laksda Adisucipto No 81
Yogyakarta 55281 Indonesia
Tel No. : +62 274 488 488
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