Unearthing Central Java

Writer Samantha Coomber | January 9, 2018

Royal  Ambarrukmo Yogyakarta

Behind the grand facade, one of Indonesia’s first Independence-era world-class hotels and national heritage building, is an evocative portal to regal life. Graceful interiors merge with 21st-century technologies and deluxe comforts throughout the main building and 247 contemporary, elegant guest rooms and suites. The vast Royal Gardens are home to Kedaton Ambarrukmo, a former royal retreat and royal residence, where guest activities include Javanese dance and archery classes. A detached former princesses’ quarters has transformed into a spa, overseen by the Sultan’s daughters and spa master; the signature self-meditation ritual is in a bathtub crafted from Mount Merapi’s volcanic rock – said to absorb negative energy.


Plataran Borobudur Resort

Nestled in the teak-forested Menoreh Hills, this luxurious boutique resort is proud of its unparalleled Borobudur views of majestic stupas, best savoured on the romantic dining terrace, especially at sunrise. Sprawled across manicured gardens, all 21 palatial-sized, elegantly furnished villas are designed modern Javanese or traditional Joglo-style, some with private pools and exclusive spa suite for in-villa treatments, while two-bedroom duplex villas are ideal for families. Facilities include an opulent, royal European-style dining room, hillside yoga pavilion, stables and mini zoo.



Borobudur’s first international brand – celebrating two decades – is also Central Java’s most luxurious, with stellar service. Secluded in hills, Amanjiwo is positioned in direct line to Borobudur, framed in a central section of the colonnaded, Rotunda-like main building, jaw-dropping views while driving down the plunging driveway and at the refined restaurant. Amanjiwo mimics Borobudur in its architectural style; its crescent shape layout radiating down to farmlands – including 30 sumptuous freestanding garden villas, some with pools plus a Greek Pantheon-style pool club – features imposing stone tall walls and walkways and stupa-shaped roofs.  Cultural immersions include Gamelan-led Javanese opera performed at dinner.


MesaStila Resort

Equidistant from Semarang, Yogyakarta and Solo, this luxurious boutique resort nestles in a gorgeous highland estate encompassing a Dutch Colonial-era coffee plantation, where Java beans are processed and served as fine homegrown coffees. Other colonial-era remnants cover a restored railway station doubling as the reception and a 1920s plantation mansion now The Club House, with broad verandahs facing a ring of volcanoes. All 23 heritage Joglo-style villas, relocated from across Java, reveal individual character, the palatial Bella Vista once part of Solo’s royal court. MesaStila’s acclaimed spa boasts one of Indonesia’s few authentic Turkish hammams.   


Central Java ranks as one of Indonesia’s richest artistic and cultural regions and the nation’s most important historical epicentre