Beyond Bali


    The Soul of Solo

      1-1-2017
     

    The Soul of Solo

    The lobby of Alila solo is adorned with batik and wayang ornament.

    The Soul of Solo

    The Soul of Solo

    The Soul of Solo

    The Soul of Solo

    The Soul of Solo

    Pool with a view, anyone?

    The Soul of Solo

    A visit to Cetho Temple on 'Alila Experience Day'

    The Soul of Solo

    A carriage at Keraton Surakarta Hadiningrat.
    The Soul of Solo
    The lobby of Alila solo is adorned with batik and wayang ornament.

    The Soul of Solo

    The Soul of Solo

    The Soul of Solo

    The Soul of Solo

    The Soul of Solo
    Pool with a view, anyone?

    The Soul of Solo
    A visit to Cetho Temple on 'Alila Experience Day'

    The Soul of Solo
    A carriage at Keraton Surakarta Hadiningrat.

    The tallest hotel with the highest rooftop bar and largest ballroom in town – Alila Solo is bringing Central Java up to a whole new level...

    It was 11:20 a.m. on a Friday morning when my flight from Bali landed at the Adi Sumarmo International Airport at Solo in Central Java. With my suitcase and a handbag in hand, I reached the exit gate and spotted a man holding a sign on which was written “Alila Solo”. The hotel’s transportation service was there to pick me up.

    It took about 20 minutes to get from the airport to the hotel, as there was almost no traffic. From the car window I could see how simple and slow life in Solo is, the small town where President Jokowi was born and raised. However, when the car got closer to the Alila Solo, I could also see how this new city hotel will bring Solo to another level by being the tallest skyscraper in town.

    To The Sky
    Walking into the lobby I was instantly captivated by the thick Javanese touches in the interior design. There is a monumental floating batik decoration on one of the walls depicting Javanese wayang characters. This artwork is really unique as it is 50 meters long, starting from the back of the reception desk and stretching all the way to other end of the lobby.

    “Miss, this way please,” one of the staff said, to take me back to reality. He escorted me to the elevator and took me to the 30th floor, the highest in the hotel where the Sky Lounge is located – this is where guests who stay in the executive rooms or above check in. I was lucky to get the chance to check in at the Sky Lounge, and when I reached the lounge I was greeted not just by the receptionist but also by the view of the city’s skyline. Being the highest building in town, the hotel’s top floor boasts an unobstructed view of the city. The Sky Lounge is a very comfortable place to check in, as guests can also unwind with some refreshments.

    Covering 30 levels, Alila Solo has 225 rooms and suites divided into five different categories – Deluxe, Executive, Executive Suite, Alila Suite and Presidential Suite, all embracing a beautiful combination of traditional Javanese and modern design. In my Deluxe Room for instance, there is artwork with two Wayang characters displayed on the wall behind my bed. The room is also set with wooden furniture that gives a warm ambiance and is filled with top-notch facilities including a king-size bed, a 48-inch LCD TV and complimentary Wi-fi .

    There is a separate workspace in one of the corners, and the bathroom is stunning on its own. Designed with marble cladding, the bathroom has a rain shower with a sitting bench and a bathtub where I took a relaxing bath using Alila living amenities before going to bed that night. But for me personally, the highlight of the room lies in the scenery through the glass windows – when I opened the curtains I could see an undisturbed view of Solo.

    Solo’s Many Firsts
    I spent my first day exploring the hotel, and my first destination was the swimming pool. Located on the sixth level, the swimming pool is the perfect spot to chill while enjoying the breezy winds of Solo. I could have swum my day away, but I was also curious to see the hotel’s spa, Spa Alila.

    Also on the sixth floor, Spa Alila offers treatments that blend ancient Asian techniques with age-old beauty recipes. From facial masks to reflexology they have them all, but it was the one-hour Javanese massage that took me to total relaxation. After my treatment was done I enjoyed the other spa facilities that should not be taken for granted; the Jacuzzi and the cold pool that refreshed my energy before I went to Agra, the hotel’s bar for a sunset session and dinner.

    Located on the 29th floor, Agra is the highest rooftop bar in town and is open daily from 5 p.m. until late for both staying and non-staying guests. Agra consists of indoor and outdoor areas – the indoor area has an exclusive design and has a private dining room. But to enjoy a sunset in Solo, especially with a cocktail in hand, the outdoor area is the perfect spot as it boasts a 270-degree city view. Agra surely brings Solo more to life with live DJ performances on Thursdays and Fridays and has many upcoming events.

    In addition, Alila Solo has two ballrooms that can be turned into one Grand Ballroom that encompasses 2,100 square meters and accommodates up to 3,500 people, making it the largest ballroom in Solo.

    Stroll Around Solo
    To bring guests closer to the local culture, Alila Solo has tailored a tour named ‘Alila Experience Day’ which I joined with a number of other guests on my second day. Using the hotel car, my group left the hotel at 6 a.m. for the Cetho Temple, our first site. Luckily the hotel had prepared some delicious breakfast-to-go packed in boxes for us to munch on along the journey, since we didn’t have time for breakfast at Épice, the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant.

    Located on the western hillside of Lawu Mountain, the Cetho Temple is a Hindi temple that is believed to have been built around the end of the Majapahit Kingdom era in the 15th century. It went through a restoration in 1976, and now the Hindu community in the area still visit Cetho Temple to pray. It took us about one-hour drive to the Cetho Temple, but the journey was well worth it with the view of the green landscape that pleased our eyes.

    We went back to town to see the Keraton Surakarta Hadiningrat, also known as Keraton Solo, the city’s palace that has been standing for hundreds of years. The sound of Javanese gamelan greeted our group and a local guide escorted us as we explored the palace, while she explained in detail about the royal family’s historical artifacts and the treasures displayed. Then it was time for shopping, so our group moved on to Pasar Triwindu, a flea market that is only a five-minute walk from Keraton Solo, to hunt for some antiques and quirky knick-knacks at affordable prices. A visit to Kampung Batik is also a must to find some high-quality batik products as souvenirs to bring home.

    Alila Solo may be only one year old, yet the hotel has brought new soul to Solo by creating a lot of breakthroughs and setting a new standard in Solo’s hospitality. I couldn’t wait to hear about more surprises from the Alila Solo, but I had to go back to Bali the following morning – but I couldn’t leave the hotel without indulging in a big breakfast at Épice for sure!

    Alila Solo
    Jalan Slamet Riyadi No. 562, Solo, Central Java
    (0271) 677-0888

    By Risty Nurraisa


       Author:  Team
      Magazine issue > Beyond Bali
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