This is a hotel with 'WOW Factor'. Anyone like us who has visited Raffles in Singapore and only been able to dream of staying there can live that drem at Hotel Majapahit. Surabaya is nowhere near being similar to Singapore but once you enter the lobby of this colonial hotel you can easily imagine yourself being back in Raffles. Actually we were told that the hotel builder and first owner was the same man who designed Raffles. The colonial style layout and decor is magnificent in this day of ultra modern and designer chic hotels built by the large hotel chains. Surabaya has a Marriott, Sheraton and Hyatt but comparing them to the Majapahit is like comparing the Eurostar to the Orient Express.
Anyway back to our stay. It was our first visit to Surabaya for 28 years and the previous visit was as a port we stopped at while working on a Merchant Ship. My impression of the city was that nothing had changed in all that time and it is not a very tourist friendly place. The traffic alone is enough to put you off venturing outside the hotel. A fantastic and huge shopping mall is only yards away from the hotel entrance however to get there you had to cross the 4 lane road twice and it was scary. It didn't put us off though although we never ventured any further during our 3 night stay. The hotel was what we had gone there for and it didn't let us down.
Pulling up outside the hotel in our taxi was impressive after seeing all the squallour on the 40 minute journey from the airport. Not such an imposing front entrance as Raffles but once you entered the lobby it was like stepping back in time by 100 years. A welcome drink awaited us and the staff were sincerely friendly and very professional. Within minutes we were checked in and escorted to our 1st floor room (117). It was very spacious and furnished and decorated in the same colonial style as the rest of the hotel. Furnishings included a King bed with massive wooden headboard (soft matress though and not so comfy), couch, armchair and footstool, coffee table, desk and chair, drinks cabinet, tv cabinet, massive free standing wardrobe housing an electronic safe and a balcony with chairs and table looking down onto the immaculate gardens. The bathroom was also in period style with brass plumbing to all the utilities and a door to the toilet and to the separate rain shower cubicle. The whole experience prompted my wife to comment that she felt that she was back in her grannies house as a small girl.
Other info that may be of interest is that the tv channels available seemed to cater for all nationalities with programs from France, UK, USA, Taiwan, China, Australia, Japan, Germany, to name but a few. The mini bar is not particularly well stocked however a call to room service got us what we wanted very quickly. Prices are very reasonable for such a grand hotel with a local beer costing INR35000. Note though that all the prices in the hotel have a tax of 11% plus a 10% service charge added. On our first night we decided to eat in the Indigo Restaurant and were disappointed to find that it was the only part of the hotel not in keeping with the colonial heritage. The modern interior was fine but not what we expected. However there is a second restaurant on the 1st floor which is complete with original decor and is quite amazing. We had planned to eat there on our last night but failed to read that it was closed on a Monday and we never had the chance to experience it.
Other areas of the hotel worth a mention are the gardens and the pool. The gardens are beautiful as you will see from our pictures. The pool is entered through the Spa entrance and was very quiet our whole stay. Perfect for the relaxing time we wanted and to top up the tan.
For those of you like us who are not familiar with Indonesia and its currency there is approx. 18,000 of their Rupia to the UK£. Hence when I went to the ATM and withdrew some cash I was instantly a millionaire. Prices in general are cheap for eating and for some clothing. Taxi to and from the airport was about INR100,000.
Visa on arrival for UK citizens was easy and cost US$10 and a departure tax paid at the airport on the way out was UK£10.
Staying in the Majapahit was an amazing experience and I would recommend it to anyone who would like to go back in time but still have all the modern luxuries. Perhaps we cannot afford to stay in Raffles but we can now imagine its splendour after this fantastic 3 night break in Surabaya where we discovered how friendly the Indonesian people are.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Hotel Majapahit is a historic luxury hotel in Surabaya, Indonesia. The hotel was founded in 1910 as Hotel Oranje by Lucas Martin Sarkies. During the Japanese occupation of Indonesia the hotel name was changed to Yamato Hotel. Mantrust Holdings Co. became the new owner in 1969 and it was named after the most enduring kingdom of ancient Indonesia. In 1993 it was formerly operated by the Mandarin Oriental group. PT. Sekman Wisata took over the hotel and changed the name to HOTEL MAJAPAHIT in 2006. Located on Jalan Tunjungan in Indonesia's largest city and capital to East Java, the hotel is located in the centre of Surabaya, close to businesses, government offices and the largest shopping district in Surabaya. HOTEL MAJAPAHIT is trully and oasis in the heart of Surabaya. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mandarin Oriental Surabaya
- Surabaya Mandarin Oriental
- Hotel Majapahit Surabaya Java