As far as luxury hotels go, the JW Marriott and the Shangri-la are perhaps the most luxurious in the city. While the Shangri-la is located in the western suburb of the city closer to the residential area, the JW Marriott is located in the city centre and has a scheduled complimentary shuttle bus to the prime shopping mall of Tunjungan Plaza. Security check is pretty tight in the hotel with all cars being checked on entry to the lobby. Then there is another security check in the airport style when entering through the glass doors into the huge hotel lobby. A large fountain with a sculpture of a traditional Indonesian trading boat grace the lobby.
Check-in was extremely fast and pleasant even when this was my first time staying in the hotel. Within minutes I got my key card to a standard King room. Since I had no premium membership status with Marriott, there was no upgrades, though I did book a rate inclusive of breakfast. Considering it was a standard King room, the room was large and spacious. There was a comfortable seating area at the corner with a coffee table where a welcome amenity of a fruit plate was laid out. On the left is a TV cabinet and an ornate work desk with 2 chairs. The decor in the room reminds me of the Westin Tokyo, and is in a European traditional style.
On the King bed itself, there is a ridiculously large amount of pillows, and perhaps the most I have ever seen in a hotel bed. The bed was really comfortable and affords a very nice sleep.
Other great features of the room includes the bright marble decorated bathroom. There was a separate bathtub and shower and it was a good size. Bathroom amenities are of a generic brand and nothing interesting. Generally then the hotel was comfortable and really one of the best in the city. However one incident during my stay marred the whole experience altogether. That was during my shower at night when the hotel experienced a blackout that lasted for about 15 minutes. Not only was there any emergency back-up generator that was activated immediately, there was also no communication from the hotel through an announcement for guests. Consider an emergency situation where there is a fire or earthquake, I do believe guests should be notified as soon as possible.
Other amenities in the room includes a water heater to brew coffee or tea, along with ‘AQUA’ mineral water. The small bottles are provided complimentary for guests and there was no problem with me requesting for more bottles even though they had a large bottle of water that is chargeable to the minibar.
With yesterday’s night bad experience still in my mind, I headed to the Pavilion restaurant for breakfast. Due to a large number of guests occupying the main restaurant, I was provided a seat in the lobby area and it was pretty good how the staff handled the crowds and brought out some of the food trays into the lobby lounge. The buffet spread was perhaps the best in terms of food variety and quality amongst all the 3 hotels I tried in Surabaya. In addition to freshly cooked eggs, there was a variety of Asian dishes likes Martabak and Nasi Lemak/Nasi Uduk. To end the breakfast, they also had made-to-order pancakes, waffles and French toasts as well as traditional Indonesian kuehs and desserts! Amongst the three hotels I had a chance to stay in Surabaya, the one in JW Marriott is probably the best!
During my stay, I was also able to try out the fitness centre which is very nicely equipped with modern and new machines. The whole place is also very clean and well maintained. To conclude, my stay was very good since I did have a good nights sleep. Though the way the hotel handled the blackout was not up to what would be expected for a luxury hotel. For Marriott loyalists, the JW Marriott provides a top-notch property in Surabaya, and I wouldn’t hesitate to stay here again even with the blackout incident. Do request for a room facing south towards the Arjuno mountain (Gunung Arjuno) since the volcano can be visible looming over the city during clear weather.