Surabaya Travel Guide
A heritage hotel in the town of Surabaya, Indonesia sounds a little sketchy. After all this isn't exactly a tourist's town. But the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Majapahit Surabaya adds a major dose of flair to this city that once was hot on the trail to becoming the next Amsterdam.
The Dutch colonists have long since departed though their trail is clear throughout the hotel and its city. Now Dutch and Asian styles converge to create sort of new wave fusion dish; old-world style gardens, a manor, and the class that Mandarin hotels are so known for.
The reviews from this place are great and it pulls in several "best hotel I've ever stayed in" to brag upon. This coming from those who got over the initial disappointment of less than impressive façade and ventured on past to the gem inside:
Early photos depict it as a grand country estate, with a twin tower "manor house" flanked by graceful colonnaded wings, all set in sweeping lawns. But this aspect was to change. An art deco frontage was added in 1936, which leaves you feeling somewhat underwhelmed on arrival. That's until you walk out through the back. Then, voila! The gleaming old "manor house" still stands in all its glory. The lawns have metamorphosed into gardens, exuberantly tropical but artfully designed.
Those into all things fusion should adore this place. A Dutch manor, Indonesia, and a mini Amsterdamn in walking distance, what's not to love?
The Hyatt Regency in Surabaya is my favourite hotel. I have stayed here five or six times and have always been very impressed with the level of service. You would expect a high standard from a Hyatt but, for some reason, this particular hotel has always had room rates far below what you would expect to pay (currently US$68.00 per room/night).
I have stayed in many hotels, but this is the only one (so far, anyway) that has taken the trouble to put a process in place that flags the fact that I have stayed there before and has a personalised welcome note on the pillow and a few sheets of hotel stationery with my name on them included in the stationery pack. This has been the case even when 12 months have elapsed between visits.
The staff is extremely helpful and friendly, the business centre is excellent and the whole establishment generally has a great atmosphere. The rooms have a telephone connection for your modem beside the desk. The showers are, unlike most hotels, not those awful water-saving ones, so you can have a great shower after a long flight (and there is a seat in the shower). There is an excellent outdoor restaurant and an English-style pub where I once heard the best cover band ever playing (given that I generally detest cover bands, this is high praise indeed).