Monday, December 29, 2014

Hotel Phoenix, M Gallery, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

I have been longing to visit Yogyakarta for the longest time.  However, the last time I tried to visit the city, the Mount Merapi erupted, hence I have to cancel my trip.   So finally on my long break, I decided to spend 3 nights in Yogyakarta rather than spending all my break in Bali.  Not only I want to go to Yogyakarta, but I am also want to stay in the Hotel Phoenix, which supposedly one of the iconic building in the city.

Just to give some perspective.   Yogyakarta is not really a big city.    In fact it is a very small city with only around 600,000 people lives there.   The city is famous because of few reasons.   It is considered as the center of the Javanese culture.   Also, many good (Catholic) schools are in the city since the Dutch colonial times.  Many universities are also in this city, hence the city is also called "Kota Pelajar" (i.e. Student City).  The other reason why many people visits Yogyakarta is because of the proximity with Borobudur Temple  (the largest Buddhist temple in the world?) and Prambanan Temple. 

There are not many International Chain hotels in the city.   There is 1 Sheraton, Melia, and Hyatt in the cities and few Accors properties (M Galery, Novotel, and Ibis).  The rest of the hotels are local chain and locally owned.

The hotel is located in the center of the Yogyakarta.   It is situated just in front of the Tugu which I was told the 0 km point of the city.    Here is the exterior of the hotel

The hotel has 2 buildings..  The front part which you saw on the above pictures is the "original" structure. 

The lobby is quite basic in my opinion for a M-Gallery hotel.  It looks like a old colonial houses rather than hotel which can be an plus point to some people.  As I arrived quite early 8:30am.  I was told the room is not ready, hence I was waiting in the lobby area which have some interesting decors.

The other side of the lobby, you can see part of the dining area.  In fact the dining area has some open area which again can be quite interesting.

The breakfast served is quite basic in my opinion.  But with only around USD 10 and considering you are in small town, then I can accept it.   Here are some photos on the dining area during breakfast.  On one the night (Saturday night), the restaurant has a BBQ dinner.

Never before I see a selection of sugar in this ranges :)

The rooms are located on the second part of the building where there is open courtyard.   My room was on the main building.   The room in the main building are Superior Heritage and Phoenix Executive.  The extension building which is newer has the Deluxe Legacy and Legendary Suite.    Please note, I was told the Superior and Deluxe room does not have bath tube.

Here is the picture of the Phoenix executive room.

Take a note of the picture above the bed.   It is the picture of the original building in 1900s.


 It is quite interesting decor in the bath room.  I wonder why they put 2 wooden toys in the bath room.  Then I realized that I can open it and more amenities were inside the toys.

The room has  a small balcony area which is facing the open courtyard and not so far away from main road.  So can be a bit noisy.

  The picture of the open courtyard

Here is the balcony from the courtyard

And here are the pictures of the new building with the swimming pools

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Stones Legian Bali - the Authograph Collection

Thanks to some Marriott Rewards promotion in 2013, I got 2 free nights to be used for up to Category 5 hotel.   I had a wait list redeeemption booking on Singapore Airlines which finally confirmed on last minutes.  Hence, on both combination, I headed to the Island of God, Bali, during the Vesak Day holiday in mid-May.  

I spent 3 days in the island, and decided to stay at Pullman Nirwana Bali using my AdvantagePlus voucher at the first night and stay at the Stones on the last 2 nights.   The 2 hotels are next to each other.   I will post the Pullman Nirwana Bali as a seperate post.

Here are how the open lobby looks like.  I like the back light that keep changing.   Upon arrival at the front desk, they will provided you with towel, which came as a cube and they immersed it into the water and also a Popsicle.  The popsicle came in 3 layers if I remember correctly and each came from different fruit flavour.

As a Marriott Rewards Gold member, I was upgraded to the Pool View room.  I think this is the best room.  So, if you will stay here, it may be worth to choose Pool View room compare to the Standard room which face the back.   I was told, most of the time, they will provide upgrade to Gold and Platinum member.

My room was on 5th floor which indeed has a very stunning view.   Here is the pictures of my room and the view from the room.

Once you enter the room, there is the shower are and the basin area.  It is a standing shower cubicle and the toilet cubicle on the right and the basin area on the left.

Here is the bed area with working desk and small sofa at the corner.

The shower are may be a bit open to some people.   However, the good thing, there is curtain if you want a bit more privacy.

 For those who really needs a bath tube, look at the balcony.  There is a bath tube in the balcony.  Again for those who want privacy, there is a curtain for you to cover it off.

A seater for you to seat in the balcony to enjoty the view.

 Here is the standing view of the pool area and to me a very strong reason why you should choose Pool View room

And be careful, your neighbour can zoom into your bath tube

Not long I was in the room, the staff came buy and brought me this.

The right one is a chili chocolcate.  I think this is one of the signature item.   A bit exotic and do not worry, it is not hot at all.   The left one is a bucket.  I need to go down after 6pm to pool view and they gave me fried calamary.  Quite interesting.

And this is the view of the pool and pool bar

The breakfast has a very good varieties selection

This is the sign of the hotel at night

And finally my last lunch at the hotel on the pool.   The most expensive fried rice I have ever eaten.  It cost me around USD25, which is quite expensive for fried rice in Indonesia but if you notice the meat on the left, you probably understand why it cost that much.   It is delicious though.

The Stones Legian Bali is a nice hotel.   It is located toward the end of the Jalan Pantai Kuta toward Legian, which is at the rather quite part of Jalan Pantai Kuta.    I found the location is ok, as I can still walk to the Beachwalk mall area (which is in the middle of Jalan Pantai Kuta) for about 10-15 minutes leisure walk along the beach.

There is a beach in front of you, Kuta beach which is very famous and also very crowded.  So you can swim or surf right in front of the hotel area.   Granted some people will argue the beach of the Seminyak area may be better, but if you want everything (beach, shopping, food) within walking distance, this may be one of the good hotel to be at Bali.