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Review: Sheraton Yogyakarta

As you arrive in the often hectic city of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, a slightly less touristy area in beautiful Indonesia, it’s easy to get lost in the chaos and lost in translation.  However, using the Sheraton as a home base alleviates any worry of traveling abroad.

The beautifully appointed, yet slightly worn, Sheraton sits atop a rolling hill surrounded by a large, secure compound.  As you enter from the street, your car will be searched as an officer checks the trunk and another watches video relayed from cameras beneath the car.  Once you’ve cleared security, a roadway leads you beneath a beautiful, raised ballroom and up toward the main hotel.  There is additional security at the hotel entrance including a metal detector, but don’t let that worry you – this is by far the nicest and most secure hotel in Yogyakarta.

The open air lobby is inviting with stylish Indonesia furniture perfect for lounging, but nothing will make you feel more comfortable than the wonderful staff.  They truly go out of their way to ensure your stay is an enjoyable one.

As the hotel is built upon a hill, the entrance is actually located on the top floor with all guest rooms down below.  The standard rooms are the size of a typical hotel room, and while slightly older, are very clean and comfortable.  Even in Indonesia, the beds are the classic Sheraton Sweet Sleepers found in the chain’s hotels in the US and across the globe.

Because we are Starwood Platinum members, we were upgraded to a stunning executive suite with a full living room, dining room, butler’s pantry, guest bathroom and master suite all overlooking the gorgeous water castle pool.  Again, the hotel is slightly older, but it’s well kept.  There was some mold around the caulking in the shower floor, but that’s to be expected in a hotel of its age.

Thanks to our SPG status, we had access to the Sheraton Lounge, which I would say is one of the best we’ve experienced – mostly due to the fabulous service not the lounge itself.  Breakfast in the lounge is comprehensive including a decently sized buffet and the option to order additional items off the menu.  At one point, our lounge representative went out of his way to order us a traditional Indonesian breakfast dish after which the chef himself brought it down from the main restaurant. During the day, the lounge representatives are available to make fabulous coffee drinks or serve tea and waters.  Internet in the lounge and throughout the hotel is easily accessible and decently fast.

Evening cocktails in the lounge are limited, but each guest is allowed one to two free cocktails and access to an array of snacks including two hot dishes and several other finger foods like sushi and cakes.  We were easily able to make a meal out the selection each night of our stay.

While other reviews have degraded the pool as one not designed for families, I would beg to differ.  In fact, there are two pools – the large water castle pool with its maze of waterways, wonderful, built-in lounge chairs and a great swim-up pool bar, and a lagoon pool, which runs along the front of dozens of rooms on the bottom floor.  If you’re lucky enough to get one of these, you can literally dive off your porch into the water.  In addition,  there is a separate baby pool and an indoor playground for the kids.  I wouldn’t hesitate to stay here with a family, in fact – I most likely wouldn’t stay anywhere else in Yogyakarta with kids.

Other amenities throughout the Sheraton include a great, relaxing wine bar, a tea bar, a pastry stop, a souvenir/gift shop as well as some other clothing and jewelry retailers.  If you’re looking to explore the ancient temples of Prambanan and Borobordur, there is guide desk located in the main lobby that can arrange car rental or a driver for the day.  It’s quite simple.

The Sheraton also offers a free shuttle to the Malioboro Street Markets and to-and-from the airport, which is nearby – just make sure to arrange your pick up with the hotel before you arrive or you’ll be stuck taking an over-priced cab only a few kilometers.

Overall, while this isn’t the newest or most modern Starwood hotel we’ve stayed in recently, it is one of our favorites simply because the service can not be beat!  We highly recommend this as the top choice in Yogyakarta.