Hotel Majapahit, Surabaya

6 August 2006

Hotel Majapahit
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Majapahit

The Hotel Majapahit was the first of many surprises that Surabaya had for me on this trip. The historic property was built in 1910 by the Sarkies Brothers, the same people who built the Strand in Yangon, the Eastern & Oriental in Penang and Raffles in Singapore. It was here that the battle for Indonesian independence was sparked off after World War II when returning colonial powers raised the Dutch flag over the hotel.

The once run-down hotel was recently restored to its former glory. The restoration appears to have been quite faithful to the original. Rooms are rather large, with wood and marble floors, brass toggle light switches and mosquito nets around the bed. However, that doesn't mean you have to give up any of the modern conveniences, such as televisions, mini-bars or internet access.

Although comprising only 150 guest rooms, the hotel is quite large, since no part of the original structure was more than two floors. The general layout is a little bit like a monastery. The guest rooms are arranged along an open-air sort of "cloister" which surrounds a rather church-like central building housing the ballroom and presidential suite. The lobby at the front of the complex was apparently added later, and is in a more art deco style.

My deluxe room had a sort of "sitting room" with sofa, two chairs, a coffee table and desk taking up about half the space. This was separated from the sleeping area by a wood and glass partition. The bathroom was bigger than some entire hotel rooms I've stayed in over the years, with a large vanity, separate tub and shower, and an enclosed toilet. The room was entered through a small terrace, providing additional outdoor seating.

Hotel facilities include a large swimming pool, fitness center, tennis courts, spa and two restaurants. There's also a bar, business center and full meeting facilities.

Rooms feature air conditioning, hot and cold water, mini-bars, complementary coffee and tea, color televisions (mostly local channels), internet access, hair dryer and IDD telephones.

Pluses: Excellent location, near some large shopping centers and many sights. Friendly and very helpful staff. Reasonable security.

Minuses: None that I could find.

Rooms at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Majapahit may be booked through Agoda or you may use Hotels Combined to search for the best rate from dozens of booking sites.