I am going to write this review from two perspectives. One, as a traveler. The other, as a Starwood Member. The reason is because this hotel presents two very different faces and has two stark audiences. The latter, Starwood members, have very set expectations (or anyone who has stayed at a Sheraton before), so I need to be honest and open.
As a hotel in Asia, it is wonderful. In this respect, I am going to list everything it has going for it.
The location is near the airport, and also close to one of the main temples, Prembanan, and the ballet. It costs around 35.000rp to get to the main local area in town, Malioboro Mall, and they have a free shuttle that goes five times a day. They will pick you up from the airport and drop you there. It is also close to the newer, modern shopping centre, Ambarukmo Plaza, which is huge.
The hotel is set on top of a hill with views out to the mountains, over an expansive and unusual swimming pool. There is also what they call a lagoon on the ground floor, and you can get rooms that open directly onto it.
The rooms are pleasantly decorated and quite large. We stayed in a Junior suite, which had a separate dining/lounge area and spacious bathroom
The staff were all wonderful, including Agus, the front office manager who sorted out some problems that we had, and Mie in the Club Lounge.
We tried the food in the restaurant and while I would not say it was brilliant, it was ok. I felt it was overpriced for what we had, but the view is lovely over the pool area and service was excellent.
Now, from a Sheraton point of view. We spoke to a number of Starwood members, and they were all in agreement...this should not currently be badged Sheraton, certainly not as part of an International Group. I need to explain why in detail, to be fair to all the wonderful staff at the hotel, as many things are out of their control (certainly the ones that we dealt with. The General Manager however, whom we did not meet, needs to read this!)
1. Rooms - looking tired and smelling musty. I know it is Asia, but other hotels cope with this, it is keeping on top of maintenance. Paint is peeling, grout around the shower is filthy and there is a smell in the bathrooms on the first floor.
2. The layout - overall, it is odd. The lobby is lovely, but they could do so much more! Put in a piano, a small bar, expand it to the views on the other side. A poor choir was singing on Christmas night and we would have loved to stay and listen to them, but they were perched on the stairs near the lift!
3. The rooms on the ground floor attract children...they present as being romantic but are far from it!
4. The club lounge is very poor by Sheraton standards. Food is limited, and customers are only allowed 2 drinks each at night. There is no view. It should be moved to the 7th floor where the restaurant and bar is.
5. The bar area is nice but smells strongly of cigarette smoke.
6. Housekeeping was poor. I won't go into the details, but some serious training needs to occur there. (Agus, I will send you a private message regarding these issues. I know we shared a couple with you already, but there really were some issues there that need to urgently be addressed).
I hope that hasn't put you off, because there are positives as mentioned. We had issues that we raised politely and nicely with Agus, who listened, and immediately upgraded us. I have a feeling that he genuinely cares about his customers, and if you don't stomp around, he will work with you within the capabilities he has. Staff went out of their way to make us feel comfortable and welcome. Mie in the club lounge was exceptional. She had a decent hat of commonsense, and I feel if she was a team captain, teaching staff what she does, and why, it would be good for them all. Her English was fluent and she was responsive to everything we asked. We thought breakfast finished at 11am, and got there at 10 to 11. The male staff member told us we could not have anything, but Mie immediately organised scrambled eggs and tea. We were delighted.
As a hotel in this part of Asia, it is certainly one of the better ones. We checked out Phoenix in town, and would stay here, over there. The price on Agoda was very reasonable for this time of year ($65 for an entry level room).
If you are traveling around, I would suggest staying at this hotel on your first and last nights, given the location to the airport.
The other slight negative is that quite a few do not speak English well. It was explained by someone outside the hotel that this is because staff head off to Bali once trained, which I can understand, as wages are better. This is something senior management need to look at. Get involved in local highschools and the community, and help lead the way with English in local villages. (My suggestion as a Rotarian.)
At the front concierge, it made life a bit difficult. Last night, we booked a cab for the ballet and were 8 minutes late getting downstairs because the lifts were slow as it was busy. Our taxi was given away. The staff decided to jump in a car and drive us there, but amazingly, he did not know where it was! I was telling him to turn left but he kept going, making us some 20 minutes late. I am not sure how he didn't know where it was!
A suggestion is that the hotel run a shuttle service to the temple and ballet. This would make it very appealing for visitors.
There are Muslim calls throughout the day/night, but our room was barely effected. My husband heard it, but not me, in fact, it was quite nice! At least they could sing, and it mostly only went for a few minutes. This is an issue throughout Indonesia, so if this is a concern to you, I think this hotel is very very good in terms of sleep quality and proximity. Other people we met told us of some horrendous din near their hotels!!
HINT: if you are only doing the nearby temple, book a taxi. It cost us 175.000 for 4 hours, versus the 400.000+ quoted by a driver. We gave him 200.000rp. He was delighted and picked up another fare at the mall where he dropped us.
HINT 2: Learn a few words of Bahasa! I am lucky, I speak it at about 4th year level, so got by. But with no bahasa, you may need to consider a guide. They are not expensive, but English is not a language commonly known, as it is in Bali.
So, I certainly do recommend it. Internationally, it needs some work if it is to carry the Sheraton badge. I compare it to the one in Melbourne (now the Langham) and it falls way short. But, so does the price tag. So there is a tradeoff to be had as well.
Thank you to ALL of the staff who made us so very welcome. I certainly DO recommend your hotel, and hope you appreciate that I needed to speak to the Sheraton audience as well, as to mislead them would not be fair. I hope that International Sheraton take some note of my review, as most of the things needing addressing cost money. If it was just a name in Yogya, I would give it a five, but can only give it a four as I must review it against the Sheraton badge.
Thank you for looking after us, we will see you again soon, as three nights was not enough. And, I need to start planning my next book...Things you need to know about Yogyakarta. Things you need to know about Bali is launching this month, so I need another project and did not see nearly enough of Yogya!
To anyone with questions, as always, I am happy to respond personally if you email me.