MGallery by Sofitel is a collection of high-end hotels all over the world and The Phoenix Hotel in Yogyakarta, Indonesia is a member of this fine collection. It’s my first time staying in an “MGallery” property and my recent visit to Yogyakarta gave me an opportunity to savour this charming boutique hotel.
The Main Lobby
Located in the heart of Yogyakarta, just about 10 minutes’ drive away from the popular main thoroughfare of Malioboro Street, The Phoenix Hotel stands proudly facing Jl Jenderal Sudirman 9. Restored elegantly from its construction way back in 1918, its artful design is a lovely fusion of Asian and European heritage. A bastion of rich history is embedded within its solid walls, exuding charisma and profound local character from every nook and beam. It started off as the home of a wealthy Chinese merchant and after World War II, it was the official residence of the Chinese Consul before reverting to being a hotel in 1951.
Much of its beautiful architecture has been preserved and restored to its traditional glory, with touches of modernity uplifting it where necessary. The set-up and deco are a stunning blend of Javanese and Chinese aesthetics. I couldn’t help gasping in delight at the beautifully laid colourful tiles at the reception and lobby and the detailed fretwork panels present along the interior terraces. Sunlight flitted through the stained glass windows high up, casting little dancing rays onto the well-maintained Chinese rosewood furniture and antiques placed next to Javanese artwork and fabrics.
At the Paprika – the hotel’s all-day dining outlet, a wide selection of Indonesian and western dishes is available to pamper guests. Buffet breakfast is available daily and if you are early when the temperature is still refreshingly cool, do opt to sit in the open courtyard next to swaying palm leaves. Before anything else, I started with a glass of freshly prepared “jamu kunir asem” (a traditional Indonesian herbal tonic) which helped with blood circulation. There were a few other types of jamu available.
The breakfast buffet spread featured local favourites like gudeg (a speciality of Jogjakarta with cooked jackfruit eaten with dishes like chicken, braised egg, fermented tofu cake and sambals), local curries and chutneys eaten with a variety of steamed rice. The locals were also fond of their steamed items – groundnuts, corn, sweet potatoes, tapioca and bananas for breakfast. Other favourite Asian delights like rice congee, dim sum and soup noodles also formed part of the spread.
The local favourite – gudeg!
Not to be left out were the regular western breakfast favourites like cereals, salads, freshly baked breads, pastries, smoked meats and eggs cooked in my favourite style.
To top up my daily dosage of vitamins, I helped myself to the trays of fresh fruits and if that wasn’t enough, I headed to the fresh fruit juice counter and had a glass of my favourite freshly-juiced celery+apples+carrots!
When night fell, the Paprika took on a very different mood. Warm lighting from the exterior wall lamps spilled onto the courtyard, creating a gorgeous and romantic ambience. The night breeze was certainly welcoming too.
As I was there over a long weekend, there was a Teppanyaki Buffet served on Friday and as I have arrived late afternoon that very day, it made sense to eat inhouse. Besides, a teppanyaki buffet featuring local Indonesian and international delicacies sounded really tempting!
There was a wide variety to choose from at the western food counters: salads, pastas, deep-fried meats, roast lamb and chicken, soups and breads. I was more interested in the spread of fresh seafood for teppanyaki and BBQ – different types of fresh fish and squids to be cooked upon order. Lamb and chicken fillets were also available with platters of crunchy vegetables.
For desserts, there were the usual cakes, pastries, fresh fruits, dorayaki made-on-the-spot but I headed to the local cakes section for my favourite kuih ambon!
The Teppanyaki Buffet is currently available every Friday at IDR240,000 nett per person.
The Phoenix Hotel – MGallery by Sofitel certainly was a memorable stay. This grand dame is an iconic Dutch colonial-era heritage hotel, oozing charm and luxury with soul, thanks to its profoundly stylish character embodying the allure of Yogyakarta – a magnifique experience!
THE PHOENIX HOTEL –
MGALLERY BY SOFITEL
Jl Jenderal Sudirman 9
Tel: +62-274 566617
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