Indonesia is incredibly diverse. Made up of nearly 18000 islands, different areas have their own cultures, religions, languages and traditions. In fact, this is celebrated in the national motto: “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” (Unity in Diversity).
Bali is one of the many colours that make up Indonesia. And sometimes, it is lovely to leave my island home, and visit another part of this gorgeous country. Opportunity can appear in the most surprising circumstances. In this case, it was my 7 year old daughter’s school trip to Jogjakarta. Her fantastic little home school (3 teachers/15 kids) organised a trip to Jogjakarta, so I decided to tag along and turn it into a little mother-daughter adventure! Bali Interiors on the road!
We started by visiting 2 amazing UNESCO listed temple compounds. Although the Buddhist temples at Borobador are probably more well-known, I found myself drawn towards the Hindu temples at Prambanan.
Borobodor’s massive Buddhist temple was built in the 8th and 9th centuries. From the top of the temple, there are 360 degree views of the surrounding forests and mountains. The details, such as the stone floors with their individually carved stone tiles are reminiscent of the multi-angled Incan stone walls in Cusco. There are Buddha statues everywhere. While some have been pillaged and are missing heads, the site is simply awe-inspiring.
Prambanan was built in the 10th century and contains 240 temples. Every wall and ceiling has been carved intricately. The workmanship is simply overwhelming. Similar to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, the temples feature detailed tiering. Hidden balconies, archways and tunnels create an Indian Jones vibe as you duck and weave your way through the temples.
After my daughter’s school trip finished, we stayed on so we could explore the city for another couple of days. Here we found another highlight – the Artotel Jojakarta. It is a fun, interactive hotel that showcases contemporary Indonesian art and impeccable design. The name says it all: Artotel = Art + hotel. They have collaborated with 6 well-known Indonesian artists to showcase a modern take on Indonesian folklore.
Each of the rooms combines the use of rattan (bedheads and nightstands) with a variety of geometric shapes (hexagonal mirrors, round bedside tables, and rectangular tiles) and unique art (gorgeous cartoon style characters on the walls are just the beginning).
Yet, it’s the common areas that really exemplify their love of art. The lobby and restaurant include colourful, almost surrealist art, while the staircase has spilt paint oozing downwards. This combines with black and white tiles of different sizes drawing patterns on the floor, while gorgeous batik material is carefully hung.
However, one feature dominates the space: an incredible indoor brass spiral slide that connects the mezzanine restaurant to the lobby. Next to enormous glass windows, it shimmers invitingly in the light. My daughter couldn’t resist sliding down again and again, and neither could I. Not simply a gorgeous artistic feature, it’s completely functional and is without a doubt the best way to get to the lobby!
Artotel combines hospitality with art to create a vibrant space that breathes joie de vivre. Combined with exploring some temples and experiencing the vibrant culture of the city, it’s a worthy addition to your Jogja must-do list.