Words: Aulia R. Sungkar
Photos: Bagus Tri Laksono
Originally published in Indonesia Design Magazine, Sept-Oct. 2016 issue
Solo is known for its rich tradition and heritage, and right in the heart of the city is the Royal Surakarta Heritage Solo- MGallery by Sofitel, a MURI award-winning five-star hotel that features exquisite batik motif in the design and delivers a world-class hospitality in the charm of the Javanese culture.
With the attendance of friendly staff dressed in traditional outfit, the palatial entrance of the Royal Surakarta Heritage Solo-MGallery by Sofitel is a grand welcome that takes guests to experience a memorable luxurious stay within a Javanese culture-inspired setting.
As you step into the lobby area, you will notice a number of wayang golek (wooden puppets) on the table facing the entrance. Standing among the wayang characters are Rama and Shinta, a couple of prince and princess from the Hindu epic Ramayana. Whilst, four other characters sit with their head gently bowed as their palms pressed together and held near the heart – an expression of formal greetings in Javanese tradition.
In the middle of these wooden puppets is a frame displaying an award from the Indonesian Museum of Records (MURI), conferred to the hotel in recognition of being a Javanese culture style hotel with the nuance of exquisite batik motif. The hotel received the award in October 2009 and it has ever since maintained such prestigious recognition.
The spacious lobby boasts a magnificent array of priceless antique furniture and objects wrapped in Javanese batik motif atmosphere. The interior sphere is dominated by the earthy colour of wood; with high ceiling, crystal hanging lights and red carpet representing a sense of elegance.
Next to the lobby is Srikandi Restaurant, which is imbued in classical Javanese style with batik decoration. A series of antique hanging lights in the restaurant indeed creates a one-ofa- kind dining experience. Let’s not forget the menu that suggests various local and western fares. Try the Soto Widodo, this signature is basically a beef soup cooked in traditional recipes and served with rice, tempeh, tofu and crackers. Interestingly, the tempeh and tofu are created in the form of the hotel’s logo, which somewhat resembles a Javanese icon often found in batik motif.
All the 150 rooms, from superior to executive suites, also display various antique objects and batik elements. No less interesting are the five meetings rooms, where you can find unique batik objects decorating the ceiling.
Imelda Sundoro Hosea, the hotel’s owner, is very passionate about the Javanese culture and heritage. All the precious antique objects belong to her private collections, and she also applies her own concept into designing the hotel.
Once functioned as a bank, the hotel has opened its doors since 2009. After undergoing a revamp in 2013, the hotel was re-launched under the brand MGallery and managed by AccorHotels. At the end of 2015, the restructuring of Luxury- Upscale Brand AccorHotels worldwide led to the classification of MGallery as luxury, elegant boutique hotel brand under the name MGallery by Sofitel.