Top 7 historic hotels in Indonesia

The latest data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) counted 1,996 starred hotels currently operating in Indonesia. The rise of Indonesia as a travel destination in the past decades has certainly fueled hotel development in the country, as the number is twice the amount of starred hotels available in Indonesia in 2004. Among many of these luxurious new lodging facilities, few stand out as hotels with historical significance. Those hotels were built decades ago and are now part of the country’s cultural heritage. Aside from impeccable comfort, historic hotels offer added value as they played a role in the nation’s past, whether during Dutch colonial time, Indonesia’s war of independence, or the early post-independence time. Here are The Jakarta Post Travel’s pick of seven Indonesian hotels that could add to your knowledge of the country’s history. Royal Ambarrukmo, Yogyakarta Built during the late 1850s, the place was initially a residential complex for the royal family. It also functioned as the royal meeting hall during the Dutch colonial era. The building was reconstructed as a hotel in the 1960s by order of then president Soekarno and King Hamengkubuwono IX. It developed into one of Yogyakarta’s finest lodging establishments since then, while still preserving many of its important historical aspects. You can find a museum and an old pavilion in the complex that holds many of the place’s ancient artifacts. Interesting parts of the hotel are the Bale Kambang bathing pool area and the Gadri dining room, which were considered sacred and only accessible by the royal family. Hotel Majapahit, Surabaya Hotel Majapahit was first called Hotel Oranje when it was built in 1910 by a Dutch family. It was later seized by the Japanese during their occupation and renamed the Yamato Hoteru. After the Dutch returned to the country in 1945, they took control of the hotel again and raised a Dutch flag over the roof of the building. This triggered the historical "flag-ripping incident", when Surabaya youth stormed the place and ripped the blue stripe off the flag, leaving only the red and white parts, which are the colors of the Indonesian nation. The name was changed again to Hotel Majapahit in 1969 when a local business bought the hotel. It continues operating today. Despite having undergone many renovations, the hotel has maintained its classic design. Savoy-Homann Bidakara, Bandung This hotel started operating even before the 20th century, but it has gone down in history as the hotel that hosted VIP guests of the first Asia-Africa Conference in 1955. Figures like Soekarno, Ho Chi Minh, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, U Nu and Gamal Abdul Nasser, stayed in the hotel during the event in their own ‘Asia-Africa Wing’. Charlie Chaplin also spent a night in the place during his visit to Indonesia. The Savoy-Homann kept the majority of the structures that were built in 1939. You can see pictures of the old Savoy-Homann and find the current building to be almost identical. Hotel Indonesia Kempinski, Jakarta It is almost obligatory to list Hotel Indonesia when talking about historic hotels, as it is one of the first five-star hotels to be built in the country (inaugurated in 1962) – again by order of then president Soekarno. Its location in Indonesia’s iconic traffic circle has allowed it to become the background of monumental events that took place there – although many of them were big protests. The hotel went into a hiatus from 2004 to 2009 to undergo major interior changes when the Kempinski Group bought the establishment. Hotel Salak The Heritage, Bogor A Dutch family first built the hotel in 1856 and named it the Bellevue-Dibbets Hotel. The war of independence saw Hotel Salak being used as headquarters of the Japanese’s military police in Indonesia. Only after 1948 did the establishment gain its current name, referring to its location under the foot of Mount Salak. Like Hotel Indonesia, this hotel was also closed down for several years, from 1991 to 1998, to undergo renovations. Inna Grand Bali Beach, Bali Speaking of the country's first luxury hotels, this place, built in 1966, was Bali’s first lodging of international standard. Initially named the Bali Beach Hotel, it is also the fruit of the ambition of Indonesia's first president, Soekarno. The hotel was the only local high-rise building back then, defying the local Hindu rule saying that a building should not be any taller than a sacred temple. It prompted a rule that banned buildings from being any taller than a coconut tree – although the rule is no longer in effect today. Hotel Tjampuhan & Spa, Bali When we emphasized Bali Beach Hotel as having been the first in Bali to meet international standards, that did not take into account the Hotel Tjampuhan, which is the oldest luxury lodging still operating today. To explain, it was only after the 1970s that the Tjampuhan became publicly available for paying guests. Before that, it was an exclusive guesthouse owned by the royal family of Ubud village. Walter Spies, a famous German painter and an important figure in the development of Balinese art, once resided in this place as the guest of the royal family. His room is now immortalized as one of the luxury suites available for rent. - See more at:

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