Javanese hospitality at Sheraton Mustika Yogyakarta Resort

Upon arriving at Yogyakarta Adisutjipto Airport, I made a call to the hotel to request for a pick-up. This was something I should have pre-arranged with the hotel as there is a complimentary airport shuttle provided by the hotel for guests staying there. The Sheraton Mustika Yogyakarta is located just 5 minutes drive from the Adisutjipto airport and that makes it as good as an airport hotel. Though I have to make a note that if the airport moves to the larger location outside the city in the future, do not expect the same shuttle service to be provided.

Hotel courtyard entrance
Hotel courtyard entrance

There is a long driveway that greets guests and a majestic front porch where we were dropped off. Like all large international Indonesian hotels and resorts, there is a security checkpoint which we have to pass through. Thankfully there were bellboys around to help with the luggage since we have to take the escalators up to the main reception and lobby.

Entrance lobby
Entrance to the Grand lobby

A large resort, the Sheraton was built quite sometime ago and features another lobby on the east side of resort, though all the check-in formalities are conducted on the west side. With no other guests in line, I was checked in quickly and was told I had been upgraded to a Junior Suite. However since the suite has only one King bed, I requested for a double bed Lagoon Access pool room. While conducting the check-in, another staff member came by to welcome us and provide chilled towels and drinks. They also provided some tourist information and offered the night dance and dinner show at Prambanan which we could book from the concierge desk.

Reception desk
Reception desk

While the check-in took a bit longer due to the need to switch rooms and the enquiries we made, it was a pleasant encounter. The receptionist gave a good overview of SPG Platinum benefits that includes breakfast and club lounge access but we were told to wait by the club lounge as the room was not ready to be occupied as yet.

Lobby lounge
Lobby lounge across from the reception

Room No: 117 Category: Lagoon Access Twin Room

With the lobby actually starting at the 6th storey, the lagoon access rooms are on the ground floor and that meant some time to get to the room with the slow elevators. Since the hotel was not heavily occupied when we visited it did not matter that much. Though I can foresee some long waits if it is peak season. There are only limited lagoon access rooms in this property and I will explain further as to why it was the case.

Floor plan
Floor plan

Inside the room, the layout is that of a basic Sheraton hotel with the bathroom entrance right on the right. This was a standard bathroom with a shower/bathtub combination though it was of a good size and decently clean. The bathroom also features a shelving space beside the toilet which comes in handy to place your personal toiletries. Unlike the usual Mandarin and Mint scent, the amenities was a generic type and it was slightly lower in quality that I did not use them.

Bathroom with tub
Bathroom with tub
Large bathroom
Large bathroom with shelved by the toilet

Past the bathroom door, there was a small minibar area where 2 additional bottles of water was provided on top of the 2 bottles in the bathroom. Across the hallway there is a large closet space with a safe deposit box. Slippers were also provided for guests to use, as the standard for many premium resorts in Asia.

Mineral water in the room
Mineral water in the room

Inside the room, we had to wait a bit before receiving our luggage as they took some time to arrive. There is solid luggage bench beside a large TV console by the wall. At the end nearer the sliding door that leads to the terrace, there is a work desk with a wall mirror.

Pool access room
Pool access room

The room is furnished with 2 single beds and maybe due to the age of the hotel, these beds are not the most comfortable. Both mattress and pillow was too soft, while the bedsheets seems a little rough. This room definitely featured the worst beds during this trip, though they were somewhat acceptable for the one night stay. At the end of the beds, there is a single armchair beside the sliding glass door.

Double bedroom
Double bedroom

Through the sliding glass door, guests could access the relatively large terrace that is enclosed by a wooden fence. The space also features 2 deck chairs to lounge in the day and there is direct access to a swimming lagoon from the terrace. However the lagoon is essentially just a stretch of water along both ends of the building covering about 9 room widths, and it is a pretty narrow lagoon too. Furthermore the 2 lagoons are not even connected and they do not lead to the swimming pool either so it was no surprise I had the full use of it in the afternoon.

Pool access terrace
Pool access terrace
Deck chairs by the terrace
Deck chairs by the terrace

Since I had some free time in the afternoon we arrived, I took a walk around to explore the resort. The main building of the hotel revolves around a central courtyard with a fountain in the middle.

Hotel interior courtyard
Courtyard atrium in the centre

From the ground floor of the hotel, there are steps leading up to the lush landscaped gardens and the outdoor swimming pool. The tennis court is also located beside the swimming pool. While it does make the resort look grand, the swimming pool was a distance from the main building and that probably explains the low utilization of these facilities. I was able to explore the gardens and pool alone undisturbed for the rest of the evening.

Lotus garden
Lotus garden
Large garden at the resort
View of the swimming pool and garden of the hotel

Other facilities in the hotel includes several boutiques including one Batik store. Aside from the lobby level restaurant where breakfast is served, there is also an Indian restaurant on the top floor overlooking the garden.

Ganesha Indian restaurant
Ganesha Indian restaurant

For recreation and health, there is a fitness centre and a spa as well. The fitness centre gets quite busy in the evening after work hours as I believe the hotel sells gym packages to the public as well to help in maintaining the equipments in the fitness centre. The spa is managed by Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa and it allows for appointments as late until 10pm. Prices are even considered reasonable for a hotel spa and we actually had a foot reflexology massage at night before going to sleep.

Fitness Centre
Fitness centre
Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa
Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa

A bit of the background here as the hotel is owned by the Surakarta (Solo) regency, there are photos of the family members around the hotel compounds. Conversations with the staff members also show the pride in the staff regarding to being able to work in a hotel owned by an Indonesian royal family. That might also help to explain the hospitality and warm smiles from the staff we encountered.

Foot reflexology area
Foot reflexology area in the spa

For SPG Platinum guests and those who have reserved a Club Room or suites, the hotel has a Club lounge located on the 3rd floor. This was where we waited for our room to be ready when we checked in. There is a staff operating the lounge and she welcomed us in while offering drinks. Iced teas and espresso based specialty coffee beverages can be prepared for guests while they get comfortable in the relatively large lounge.

Magazines in the Lounge
Magazines in the Club Lounge

Just beside the reception desk, there is an island buffet table where breakfast and evening snacks are served from. On other times, there are nuts and crackers in jars for guests to consume. And in the middle there is a circular table with plenty of magazines for guests to read while lounging.

Club Lounge setup
Club Lounge dining setup

Seating in the lounge comprises of several square tables with high-backed chairs for dining and a lot more lounge chairs and sofas for relaxing. The mix was a nice touch to ensure comfort for guests and it was acceptable.

Seats in the Club Lounge
Seats in the Club Lounge

During the evening snacks, I was able to bring some of the food to my friend who was working in the room. The food was actually pretty good for a Club lounge and it could pass for a light dinner if one is not that picky or hungry. There was several tapas delicately placed on spoons and small saucers along with a selection of cheeses for appetizers.

Tapas and cheese
Tapas and cheese

For hot food, there was a fried rice vermicelli (also known as bee-hoon in South-east Asia) and a sweet snack called Timus, which is basically a fried sweet potato/yam snack filled with palm sugar. There was also plenty of desserts like square cakes, mousse on a cocktail glass and mix fruits in syrup. And if guests are just there for some wine, there are nuts, crackers and cookies to accompany them.

Fried beehoon
Fried bee hoon with tapas and ketimus
Nuts and crackers in a jar
Nuts and crackers in a jar

On the next morning, after returning from Prambanan, I had my breakfast in the lobby restaurant. Breakfast is served from 6:30am till 10am and there was plenty of selection in this large restaurant. Visiting on a clear morning, diners could see the silhouette of Mount Merapi, one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes. And to top it off, the breakfast spread was amazing. Aside from the usual breakfast buffet fare like toast, pastries, cold cuts, yogurt and cut fruits, there was plenty of stand-alone booths.

Vegetables for salad
Vegetables for salad
Cold cuts
Cold cuts with Indonesian fruits in syrup on the left
Selection of fresh cut fruits
Selection of fresh cut fruits

Naturally the egg station booth was a norm in breakfast buffets, but this one featured a booth serving the local specialty which is Gudeg Yogya, or basically a rice set with several cooked dishes. The most common is Ayam Opor, or a chicken dish stewed in savoury coconut milk.

Gudeg Yogya
Gudeg Yogya with assorted side dishes
Gado-gado
Gado-gado booth

There was the more common porridge and Soto Ayam booth, and several hot dishes like stir-fry vegetables along with fried rice, coconut rice or fried rice vermicelli. There is also a Martabak booth cooking up savoury pancakes with vegetables for guests, and this is quite rare since most Indonesians know the sweet variety of this dish which is popular in western Java.

Soto Ayam
Soto Ayam
Curry and potatoes
Curry and potatoes
Pan-fried savoury pancakes
Pan-fried savoury pancakes or martabak
Fried rice and coconut rice
Fried rice and coconut rice
Fried noodles
Fried noodles and dishes

For desserts, there was even their own stand-alone booth with fresh sweet corn along with a coconut milk pudding (locally known as bubur sumsum, served with palm sugar) and black glutinous rice porridge.

Dessert stand
Dessert stand

Standard room rates for this stay was IDR 764,000 nett per night (~$55) and for that cost, it was a great value especially when the evening snacks and breakfast was inclusive. In addition to that, I get the SPG points, though guests could also pay 2,000 Starpoints for one night at this property. The hospitality from the staff along with the flexibility of getting food from the Club Lounge and having it in the room or a choice between the lounge and the lobby restaurant for breakfast does make it an easy option to recommend SPG members to stay here when visiting Yogyakarta and Borobudur.

Second lobby
Second lobby of the Sheraton Mustika in Yogyakarta
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